filosifiekafee @ café Riche

June 2, 2008

Café Riche is situated on the western side of Church squere in Pretoria. It is 14 years old, which mean it was started in 1994, I still wonder who had the mind to start this place in 1994 in the Pretoria inner-city! On the last Friday evening of every month they have the filosofiekafee, a philosiphy café that has been running for about 10 years now.

After reading something written by one of my heroes, Jurie le Roux, who said that he delivered this at this filosifiekafee, and then again finding it when searching for something on Johan Rossouw, I decided to go check it out. So on Friday evening I visited it with some friends.

Rian Malan was speaking on Conservative Black USA and the lessons, even hope, we can find in their writings. In short the conservatives he talked about was against affirmative action, saying that this devalue the black, fought for strong family ties and hard work. The problem in Africa he identified as victimhood, the idea that I am a victim still found in black South Africa.

Sadly this remain an all-white, and almost all-Afrikaner, conversation. When we got out at about 10 PM or so, after sitting in the all-white basement of Café Riche, the restaurant was all-black. This intelectual conversation still miss the context I think. I also got the idea that they kind of sit their talking about the problems of South Africa, but work with the idea that the time of the Afrikaner has passed, so we can’t so anything in any case. I even think Rossouw said this at one point (update: Maryke reminded me that this was actually Malan). Furthermore it’s another conversation with an average age of about 50. And myself and my two friends probably was the only under-25’s in the room (except for one other guy who was their for a little while).

All this being said, I still think it was a good conversation. Some of the people I thought naïve, like the lady who said that Afrikaners are not at all that much Western, because many of us were brought up by black workers (a fact that is very true). Luckily someone else helped out by pointing out that actually, we are just Americans thanx to Hollywood. Rossouw himself also call certain parts of Afrikaner culture a colony of America. This is sad but true.

I have a dream of a conversation of young South Africans. People who are strong intelectuals, who can work through the issues of the day, who can do this in a multi-racial way, in a critical way, and who can provide moral and intelectual leadership to a broken country… Is that too far-fetched?


7 Responses to “filosifiekafee @ café Riche”

  1. Tom Smith Says:


    I don’t think it is far-fetched. But it will start with the basics of humanity; one of them being friendship. We (as whites) simply have to discover friendships with black Africans where they can help us (a reversal of most outreach principles we’re accustomed too). And then, why don’t we just start a conversation like this? We can initiate a conversation in one of the squatter camps with our fellow brothers … and sisters.

  2. cobus Says:

    Well, why don’t we start one? Anyone else with thoughts?

  3. Tom Smith Says:

    BTW, your post sparked something in me and I posted it at

  4. […] 3, 2008 After my own post yesterday, and Tom’s response on it, maybe today would be a good day to post on something […]

  5. arthur Says:


    Is it too late to say something on this one?

    I appreciate your heart to gather groups together for conversation. Wondering, however, if it might just be best for you to start the conversation with one other, then maybe begin to invite others to join in. Easier, and better I think, than trying to organise something formal.

  6. Cobus Says:

    The conversation already started. It started way back in Huis Taaibos, when groups of us discussed the economy and politics, and seriously considered communism as an option. It continues wherever we go, as friends we cannot do otherwise. It continues week after week in our flat. But is it time to open the conversation up?

  7. Lamé Says:

    Kom gesels weer ‘n keer saam… die bistro op 30 Oktober 2009 of sommer nou al op

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