by David Capel


The (pale) native who caused all the trouble

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Read our exclusive, far-reaching interview with Max du Preez in the March issue of Leadership magazine.

This controversial, hard-hitting journalist, columnist and commentator is respected far and wide for his courage, honesty, insight and integrity, and he speaks to Leadership about his fascinating career at the cutting edge of some of the biggest events in South Africa’s recent history.

Max Du Preez is a master of language and student of history who has run the gamut of sticks, stones and parcel bombs to become one of South Africa's foremost political analysts, his name a byword for trenchant comment.

Passionately devoted to the welfare of South Africa and its people, the man who coined the term “pale native” has had many opprobrious labels applied to him during the course of the long tempestuous and truly ground-breaking adventure that has been his career to date.

Who else has had the dubious distinction of being accused as a “volksverraier” (race traitor) by the apartheid set, with whom he was then at odds, as well as a “racist” by the ANC, with whom he is at odds now?

Who else can claim to have founded a newspaper, Vrye Weekblad, that was the first independent Afrikaans publication not only to mount a savagely satirical, full-frontal assault on apartheid but also inspired a generation of Afrikaners to shrug off the shackles of verkramptheid and develop a sense of themselves as fully fledged citizens of Africa?

Who else headed up what remains the SABC's most viewed programme to date, the Special Report on the Truth Commission, which by revealing the shattering revelations emerging daily from that traumatic tribunal unmasked once and for all the inhumanity of the apartheid regime for every South African to see?

These distinctions have been very hard won. The young Afrikaans reporter who dreamed of emulating the exploits of his hero Hunter S. Thompson had his eyes opened harshly to the truth one day in Soweto in 1976; the path he chose to take subsequently earned him total ostracisation from his tribe, cost him his marriage and estranged him from his children, ruined his career in the Afrikaans media establishment, subjected him to assassination attempts, and obliged him to spend more days in court battling absurd trumped-up charges than anyone should have to endure outside a Kafka fiction.

Don’t miss the March issue of Leadership magazine for our wide-ranging interview with this outspoken journalist and commentator, who broke ranks with his tribe to become a journalist and writer of high repute.

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This edition

Issue 375


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