Daantjie

© C.O. Evans, 1999


"Daniel Charl Stephanus (Daantjie) Oosthuizen was Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy of Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa from January 1958 until his untimely death at the age of 43 in April 1969. Professor Oosthuizen received his first philosophical training at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He entered Stellenbosch in 1943, and in 1949 took his Master of Arts degree (cum laude). During this time, he also spent three years at the Dutch Reformed Church seminary in Stellenbosch, training for that ministry. He was a Junior Lecturer in the Philosophy Department of Stellenbosch in 1954, when he left for a period of overseas study. He read theology for a year at the Free University, in Holland, before going to the City (Stedelijke) University of Amsterdam to work under Professor H.J. Pos. He passed his doctoral examinations (cum laude) in 1955; his major research being on the phenomenology of Husserl. In the same year, he returned to South Africa to take a post of Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Blomfontein in the Orange Free State. He was appointed to the Chair of Philosophy at Rhodes University in August 1957." - I.A. Bunting

Daantjie Oosthuizen was Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa when I met him. At the time (1960) I was assistant to the financial editor of the Rand Daily Mail, the morning newspaper in Johannesburg - South Africa's premier city. I had just returned from obtaining a degree at Oxford University, and the position with The Rand Daily Mail was the first one I had found. I had not been in the job for more than two months when I heard that a Junior Lectureship in Philosophy was being advertised at Rhodes University in the Cape Province. My job at the The Mail consisted in publishing the daily prices of precious metals, putting into ready form economic news coming through the Associated Press, and going to annual general meetings of mining houses to hear the yearly reports, and bring news of shareholder reactions. I asked himself, "Is this what I spent seven years studying Philosophy to land up doing?" and the answer was that if it was, all the philosophical knowledge I had gained was a waste of time. So when I learned of the position at Rhodes University, I thought that I owed it to myself to apply, even though this would mean a cut in pay from ninety-pounds a month to seventy five-pounds a month.

I was giving up a lot by forsaking the job at The Rand Daily Mail. The Editor was John Fridjohn, who was the brother of Rhoda Fridjohn, who was an old friend of my stepfather, Sydney. So I figured out that it was not entirely by accident that I was offered the job, although I am sure no

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other applicant could produce a degree in economics from Oxford as a qualification. And Mr. Fridjohn said to me on more than one occasion that he would not be doing the job of editor forever. I understood that the opportunity inherent in the position was that I stood a good chance of rising to the position of Financial Editor of the Rand Daily Mail in the foreseeable future.

Still, I did not seem cut out to do this. So I went ahead and applied for the position at Rhodes University, in Grahamstown. I soon found out that the head of Department there was an Afrikaner. This presented an immediate problem. Afrikaners and English-speaking South Africans (as we were called) did not get along. Not since the Boer War, at any rate, and before that, not since the British had colonized South Africa and put down a Boer Rebellion at the infamous Slaughter's Nek where 15 rebels were hanged, and hanged repeatedly until they died because the gallows kept collapsing under their weight. As an English-speaking South African I had grown up to expect the resentment, if not enmity of Afrikaners, and here I was going to an interview for a job, in which I would be working for an Afrikaner, assuming I was successful.

I flew down to Grahamstown, and I met Daaanjie, who took me to his home for the interview, and served strong coffee. He did not fit any of the steroetypes. He was soft spoken, low key, relaxed and polite. He immediately put me at ease, and won me over. I knew instinctively that I would have no difficulty working for such a person.

Daantjie was short and stocky, but powerful. He had played rugby for Stellencbosch University in the position of scrumhalf. Stellencbosch University was the premier Afrikaans University in South Africa, and the center of Afrikaans intellectual life. Afrikaners take their rugby as seriously as American's take college football, so it was no mean feat for a small man to represent his university in inter-college rugby. It meant he was tough, and physically as hard as nails. He used to assist the Rhodes rugby team, and occasionally I went out to the field to watch him.

Daantjie was short, he had dark brown hair, and his complexion was a little on the swarthy side. His face looked a bit squat. He had uniform lower teeth, and when he laughed one saw his lower teeth, but not so much his upper teeth. He didn't have a prominent nose, but it was the feature that stood out. Daantjie liked the story of the snub-nosed ugly Socrates, because it meant that one could be a great philosopher and one's appearance had nothing to do with it. In many ways Daantjie identified with Socrates.

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Daantjie was wonderful with children, and when we moved down to Grahamstown he would sweep one of my girls off the ground and up into his arms, and would meet with no resistance. We used to go over almost every Sunday afternoon for a visit, and coffee. Daantjie was always the perfect host. His wife, Ann, was a more matter-of-fact, take me as I am sort of person who sometimes made us feel a little uncomfortable, but she was sweet too. On some of these afternoons we would all pile into Daantjie's Holden stationwagon and take the mountain drive. This was a dirt road that wound around the highest promontory in the hills around the city. The drive was exciting. The terrain was covered with indigenous forest and in the late afternoon, evening shadows cast their spell. Reaching the top, we would get out and stand at the cliff's edge and look down at the plain below stretching far away towards the sea (which was not visible, being some thirty miles away). The Oosthuizens' lived the simple life, with no luxury or affectation, at 22 African Street, just about a mile away from the University. Daantjie smoked a pipe, which was never far from his mouth. He had the typical habits of a pipe smoker, with all that scraping and knocking, lighting and sucking.

Because of his opposition to Apartheid, Daantjie had a real fear that one day he would be imprisoned as a dissident. What particularly bothered him about incarceration was the fear of nicotine deprivation. He thought that if anything would make him "crack" under pressure, being denied tobacco would do it.

When a bigger home was needed the Oosthuizens' moved to 11 Henry Street. This was an old two story building, a classical Dutch home of 19th Century design. It had yellowwood floors, and Daantjie always loved yellowwood. He had the floors covered in polyurethane, which was a novelty at the time, and was very proud of the fact that they kept their shine with no polish, waxing, or upkeep, and with maximum protection to the wood from scratching and spilled liquids. He also admired Cape Dutch furniture, those old ponderous 19the century armoires and cupboards. He was very pleased with some of these family heirlooms, but I could not share his enthusiasm for them.

He loved gardening. When I would drop in after work, of an afternoon, he would be out in the yard in a pair of shorts, spade in hand, turning the soil around a plant, or making a bed, or planning a retaining wall. It was his form of relaxation and a way of getting exercise. He once suggested to me that I get rid of the Kikuyu grass lawn on the rented premises I lived in on Somerset Street. I took him at his word, and started a project that once begun could not be backed out of. The grass was like a six-inch high mat of enormous weight and buried tenacity. I

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struggled mightily to roll the mat over, and then dispose of it. This was followed by his suggestion that I could find suitable replacement lawn grass in the countryside, by the side of roads. So I went digging up thin wisps of grass with negligible roots to take the place of the dense Kikuyu grass. What a fiasco. It might have been justified if I had planned to spend the rest of my life at Somerset Street, but that was not the case.

On first appointment, I was a Junior Lecturer. Daantjie tried hard to get my promotion to the status of Lecturer, but without success. He said the only way he could succeed in this would be if he were faced with losing me to another university. So he encouraged me to apply for positions at other universities for a job offer with which he could leverage my promotion at Rhodes. One such opening occurred at the University of South Africa, located in Pretoria. This was a large university, which had pioneered correspondence courses in South Africa. Daantjie was a member of the University Board at the time. So when I was called for an interview we both went up for the event. During my interview a Professor Meyer asked me why I had chosen to study at Oxford. This was a loaded question, because the linguistic philosophy being practiced at Oxford was a controversial approach to philosophy as far as South African philosophers were concerned. I replied that my mother had wanted me to study at Oxford, and that I had gone there to please her. Daantjie found this reply very disarming and amusing. I was offered the position, and, because of this, Daantjie was successful in getting my promotion at Rhodes University. Daantjie "went to bat" for his people. When I left South Africa and was unable to return because of the Government's vendetta against me, Daantjie tried to get the University to pay me for the sabbatical salary I had earned while in my five years service. He was unsuccessful in this, but once again he had tried to do something difficult for my benefit.

During the flight to Pretoria Daantjie identified the ring of hills surrounding Paardeberg, and showed how the British army was led into an encirclement and ambush there. I was surprised at his familiarity with Boer War history, and his knowledge of the terrain, which enabled him to identify the battle scene from the air. I did not know at the time that my grandfather had received a medal for action at Paardeberg.

It must have been in 1968 or 1969 that Daantjie took his family to the United States for his sabbatical. By this time I was teaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy New York. Daantjie spent his sabbatical at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island and we were not that far apart that we could not visit one another. He came and visited

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us in Troy, and we visited him in Providence. Because of his association with Brown I got to hear a few distinguished philosophers lecture at Brown. One was Peter Strawson the Oxford philosopher, the other was Roderick Chisholm the pioneer expositor of phenomenology for American audiences. Shortly before Daantjie arrived at Brown, I had my dissertation accepted for publication. Daantjie immediately accepted my request to go through the text and suggest improvements. He spent a number of months of intense work on this project, and by far the most detailed commentary on my work was completed by him during that period. One of the amusing incidents in this regard was that he was tickled by my nave remark that in addition to the standard five senses of the word "consciousness" I wanted to add a sixth. Daantjie thought this was very funny, playing on the idea of a sixth sense, which is another description of telepathy. I suppose one of the things that tickled him about this, is that telepathy was not a phenomenon I would have entertained for a minute at that period of my life. I was a bit disconcerted by his joke, since I had not even twigged the humor of discerning a "sixth sense".

Allen and Unwin, the publishers, were pressing me for a title for the book, and they wanted something that contained the word "consciousness". I was toying with different combinations of consciousness, self, identity, and what have you, and mentioned the problem to Daantjie. He said why not call it "The Subject of Consciousness"? I thought that was perfect, and that became the title. I liked the double entendre of the word "subject" which means on the one hand "the topic of consciousness" and on the other hand, "the possessor of consciousness." In retrospect, I think the title was oversubtle, and gave the book a smaller audience than it merited, and I think that was partly because people took the first and obvious meaning "The topic of Consciousness" as the whole title, and that sounds boring. Of course some hostile reviews didn't help, either.

But I will always be not only grateful but awed by the generosity and dedication Daantjie gave me in those thirty-two single spaced typed pages of notes on my manuscript. It was nothing less than a labor of love. It helped me produce a tighter and better book.

I also got to know the American exponent of Phenomenology, Professor Roderick Chisholm, as a result of Daantjie's residence at Brown, and this led to some interesting philosophical correspondence between Chisholm and myself.

I remember a visit Daantjie and Ann made to Troy. We were in the garden one glorious summer afternoon sitting on the lawn under a tree when he

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started talking to me about his fears of heart attack. He was about forty-one at the time. He explained that his mother had died at the age of sixty-eight of a heart attack, and that his sister, who was younger than he, had had a weak heart all her life. I felt that these facts provided slender evidence for his worry that heart disease ran in the family, and that he was in danger. I could not begin to think that a strong, healthy person like Daantjie had anything to fear.

To the great loss of all who knew him, Daantjie died of a heart attack about a year later. He was in his beloved garden, and had just finishing mowing the lawn, when he felt fatigued, and went up to his bedroom to lie down. He was found dead on his bed a short while later. Rhodes University mourned his loss, and his funeral, I heard, was very moving and demonstrated how revered he was. I recently exchanged letters with the South African author Andre Brink, and was gratified to read him say: "Daantjie Oosthuizen, Rob Antonnison I think we were lucky to have such lucid thinkers around us."

Besides Daantjie there was another new faculty member added to the department. He was Terence Beard, who had recently been dismissed from the University of Fort Hare, and who Rhodes University had offered a job as Senior Lecturer in Politics. Terence had studied Philosophy at Oxford, as had I, and he had a passion for the subject. So the three of us found ourselves of like minds, and could not keep away from strenuous debates over philosophical issues.

It soon became apparent that Terence and I were skeptical about religious claims, and Daantjie had been a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church (a Predicant), before taking up a position teaching philosophy. He had studied Philosophy in Amsterdam, and worked under some of the leading Dutch scholars of the day. His grounding in Continental Philosophy was outstanding. He was very familiar with Husserl, as well as with the Biblical scholars, and the exponents of Psychology who were world famous in the fifties. In Amsterdam his wife Ann gave birth to their first child, Susan.. In order to make the parents feel at ease about the resilience of a newborn baby, the doctor had allowed the infant to grip him by the thumb, and had swung her around without any support except for her own tiny grip on his thumb. Of course, immediately after birth a baby still has a gripping reflex, which he was exploiting for effect. This exercise reassured the Oosthuizens that babies were not so fragile that one had to constantly worry about dropping them, hurting them, or other nameless misadventures. Daantjie also told us that when a baby became a nuisance because of unstoppable crying, the Dutch would solve the problem by wrapping a sugar cube in a handkerchief, dipping it in

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brandy, and then giving it to the baby to suck. This worked like magic, he assured my wife and I. We never tried it ourselves, for some reason.

Daantjie was exceptionally modest. His modesty showed in many different ways, one of which was bolstering the confidence of his staff members with praise. He seemed to be so nice, that you would think that he was a pushover, but that impression was nowhere near the truth. I have seen Daantjie be as tough as nails when challenged about a matter of principle. This showed up on one occasion when the philosopher at Fort Hare tried to ride over him on the question of what exam questions should be included in the exams of which Daantjie was the ultimate authority. He did not give an inch.

Terence and I hammered Daantjie on the subject of religion, both of us being non-believers versus Daantjie the believer. To our surprise we got him to concede one day that one has to be brought up in a faith to find value in the discourse. Daantjie was also very critical of Britain, and in this his Afrikaner upbringing showed. He felt that British people were very hypocritical about their role in the world, especially as representing morality. He pointed out that the wealth of 19th Century Britain was accumulated at the expense of Colonialist exploitation. He also alleged that they ended the slave trade only after they had put themselves in a world-dominant position economically and then wanted to deprive other countries of the same leg up.

Daantjie had a wonderful way of making a point which he knew was going to hurt his adversary. He would pull his lips back in a little smile showing his lower teeth before he made his point. The smile was friendly, and softened the blow of criticism or debate.

Daantjie rejected the position of his church, the Dutch reformed Church, that black people were inherently inferior and were created by God to serve whites. The passage from which the church elders drew this conclusion concerned the children of Ham. Daantjie, along with a handful of other church leaders rejected, religious racism. He spent a lot of time analyzing the "false consciousness" of apologists of Apartheid, especially a Dr. Meyer, who was head of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and who was spewing out hateful propaganda about the superiority of Afrikanerdom. He analyzed their myths, and their metaphors, he de-constructed their texts, in order to expose both the power and the fallacies of their thinking. When asked why he did not resign from the church, his reply was that he could only reach the church members from within the body, and strive to transform the church. He was a great admirer of Beyers Naude, a highly respected theologian, who was

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the first big name churchman to break with the orthodox defense of Apartheid. Dr. Beyers Naude was the Christian focus of opposition to Apartheid within the Afrikaner community for forty years or more.

Although Daantjie sympathized with the position of the Liberal Party of South Africa, he never joined a political party, feeling once again that this would only isolate him from the community he hoped to reach and influence.

Daantjie was on sabbatical during the crisis year at Rhodes University concerned the award of an honorary doctorate to the State President, Dr. Swart. (See Rhodes). So I have no idea what he would have done, if confronted by that event, which forced faculty members to stand up and be counted no matter which way they faced. But much, much, later he told me that his father-in-law, Sir Basil Schonland, then Director of Harwell in Great Britain, the center of research for Britain's atomic bomb, had sent in his resignation to the Rhodes University vice-chancellor in protest at the award. He felt that he could not allow his name to be associated with such an act. Unfortunately, he did not make his resignation public, and gave the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Alty, permission to give any reason he wished for the resignation. Dr. Alty, of course, kept the real cause of the resignation a secret. How this information would have helped the twenty-six of us who stood publicly against the award! We had been excoriated by the majority of faculty, by the University Council, and by the public at large, for our dissent. We had also been accused of being young hotheads acting immaturely and hoping to further our careers abroad by our action. If only we could have replied that the titular head of the University, and one of South Africa's greatest scientists had reacted just as we had done. The Chairman of the University Council, Judge Cloete, was reported to have said of us, "They should all be put up against the wall and shot." Feelings ran that high over the episode.

Daantjie was friends with a number of anti-apartheid figures of some fame. This included Alan Boesak (an anti-apartheid clergyman and activist who later fell from grace); Dr. Z.K. Matthews, the President of Fort Hare, and one of South Africa's great black academics; Dennis Brutus, poet, school teacher, political activist and one-man-organizer of the South African sports boycott; and Dr Beyers Naude the major intellectual giant of the Dutch Reformed Church who arrived at the conclusion that apartheid was contrary to the teachings of Christ. To people outside the Afrikaners' religion this may not seem to be a difficult conclusion to reach, but coming from within their own ranks it was sensational.

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After Terence Beard was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act, and after Chink Ewan had resigned from Rhodes University because of the efforts of Professor Brian Bradshaw to make life intolerable for him, Daantjie and Ann decided to have a farewell party for the Ewans. Daantjie knew that Terence was taking badly the isolation placed on his life by the banning order, and tried to figure a way of including him in the party without his breaking his ban. We had learned that members of the Liberal Party in Johannesburg had successfully carried out a strategy in which a banned person could be in a home in which a party was going on, provided the person was in a separate part of the house and was not visited by more than one person at a time. This was to avoid the charge that the banned person was at a social gathering, which was defined as the presence of more than two people in a gathering. So, under these parameters the party was held, and Terence was invited. He was seated in full dignity in the kitchen, and in the course of the evening friends would go one by one to the kitchen to chat with him, and make him feel he was part of things.

Agents of the Special Branch were in the street taking license plate numbers. This was routine practice for the Branch at the time when it concerned the activities of anyone who had an anti-government reputation, so we joked about it, and thought very little of it. We had experienced the same harassment when Alan Paton visited my home for a Liberal Party meeting.

However, things did not stop there. The next day just before lunch Daantjie told me that he had been asked to go to the offices of the Special Branch, but was not told what for. I said to him, "Be tough with them. Don't make them feel like human beings doing a decent job. Give no quarter." I had in my mind the picture the of the wife of John Harris, the liberal who committed an act of sabotage by exploding a bomb in the Johannesburg train station. A seventy nine-year-old woman was killed, and a young girl injured in the blast. After Harris's arrest, the Branch went to his home to search for evidence, and banned literature. [Pamphlets written against the regime, pamphlets written by communists, works by Marx and Engels, Lenin and others, were all proscribed, and if found in a household could lead to prosecution and imprisonment. Books were banned on the basis of their titles alone, without so much as a glance through their pages. It was in this way, no doubt that the book about a horse, "Black Beauty" came to find its way on to the list of banned books.] Harris's wife offered the Branch men coffee while they rifled her home. Harris was found guilty and he was the only white person to be executed in the pro-black struggle against Apartheid.

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So, my attitude was "Give them hell."

After lunch I stopped at Daantjie's house, which was on the way to the University, to find out what the visit to the Branch headquarters was all about. Daantjie met me at the door, but wouldn't open it or let me in, and told me to leave without saying a word, and not to ask questions, but just to leave. I was dumbfounded He had never treated me like this before. We were always so close, and now he wouldn't even take me into his confidence. What had happened? I could not begin to imagine. And then when I got to Rhodes I ran into a member of the history department, Graham Neame, and he told me that the Branch were interviewing everyone who had been at Chink's party at Daantjie's house over Terence's presence at the party. So now I knew, and I knew that the Branch were telling every subject of the investigation to remain "incommunicado".

No sooner had I reached my office than I was called to the phone, and it was the Special Branch on the line. "Would you come to our office we would like to have a chat with you?" I replied, "If you want to talk to me you can come to my office." "Well," said the voice, "It might give you some embarrassment if the Branch are seen entering your office." "That does not bother me," I replied. "Very well then, we will be up there immediately." And they did. Two of them. Colonel Stoltz and Sergeant Sweetman. Stoltz was an Afrikaner, and Sweetman an Englishman (but from my point of view a renegade because he had gone over the Apartheid side and was persecuting the political opposition). Stoltz looked like a young James Bond. Black hair slicked back, rugged ugly-handsome face, tanned complexion, good teeth. Sweetman was freckled and redheaded - something of a pink-rat look. Sweetman began the questioning. "Your name is etc., etc. You are a lecturer in the department of Philosophy and Politics." "No," I answered, "I am a lecturer in Philosophy not Politics." "But you taught a course in Politics," he rejoined. "Yes, but I was substituting for a lecturer on leave, my appointment is exclusively in Philosophy." And so this contentious occasion started. Everything he said he took down in longhand. He would then read it back to me, and I would tell him that that was what he said and not what I had said. He ignored this, and the questioning continued. "You were at a party at the home of Professor Oosthuizen given for Terence Beard." "No," I answered, "The party was a farewell party for Chink Ewan." And so we continued, verbally fencing with each other over every detail. He wanted to know who was there. He wanted to know about Terence Beard's whereabouts and movements. I explained that Terence kept himself in the kitchen - separate from the party, so that he would not be breaking his ban by joining a social

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gathering. I said that, during the course of the evening, friends of his would visit him in the kitchen one at a time. All this time Sweetman is laboriously writing this down in longhand.

Colonel Stoltz was sitting there saying nothing. Suddenly, when it came to the bit about us visiting Terence one by one in the kitchen, he spoke out. "That is like a woman, caught in bed with a man, claiming that she was not committing adultery because the two of them had a sheet between them."

When Stoltz said this, a red light went on in my brain. This strategy of ours is not working, I thought to myself. The Branch men are getting all the evidence they need out of us in voluntary statements which will place Terence at the site of a party on a particular Saturday night, and our finesse on the circumstances means nothing to them. In other words, I thought, we are playing into their hands by all giving voluntary statements.

I decided immediately to alter course one hundred and eighty degrees. I was going to back out of giving the voluntary statement. I was not going to give a statement. But what about that page of longhand that Sweetman had in his hand? I didn't want to leave them with that. I thought to myself, I must get hold of that paper. But how?

By this point the questioning had reached its conclusion, and Sweetman proceeded to read the statement back to me for verification that he had accurately expressed my answers to his questions. I found that his transcript was full of inaccuracies, or that he had reported my remarks in a prejudicial manner. So I took issue with one line after another, thinking all the while, "How can I get hold of that paper?" At length Sweetman grew exasperated, and thrusting the paper at me said, "Here, you make the corrections yourself that you want to see." I was thrilled.

As soon as I had the paper, I twiddled it back and forth between my fingers and asked: "Suppose I refuse to make this statement, what then?" Quick as a flash Stoltz broke in, "In that case, we will immediately take you before a magistrate and force you to make a statement under oath." "Then this is not a voluntary statement," I replied. "Yes, it is," he responded. "But," said I, "If you will compel me to make a statement if I do not give it voluntarily, then you are using a threat to get a statement, and this precludes the statement from being voluntary." "No," said Stoltz, "I am not making a threat, I am just telling you what will happen if you don't give us the statement now." The implication he was trying to get across was that his remark was predictive in nature, rather

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than threatening. Of course, I didn't buy the distinction, but I didn't think the point was worth pursuing. So I changed my tack. "Well, if I make a statement in front of a magistrate, I assume I will be permitted to have a lawyer present?" They averred.

"Very well then," I said, "I am not giving this voluntary statement." They both got up. I got up. Sweetman put his hand out for the statement he had taken down. "This is my statement." I said, "You can't have it." "But the paper is mine," said Sweetman. So I took the sheet of paper and tore it up into little pieces. Their eyes opened wide in disbelief. The extended hand was frozen. I placed the little pieces in the hand. Stoltz took over. "Right," he said, "Come down to the station with us." "No," I said, "I have a class to teach." They turned to leave, and between his teeth Stoltz said. "We'll be back." And the Branch men were gone.

I held my class, and immediately afterwards went to see a lawyer, a Mr. Truter, to find out if indeed they could haul me in front of a magistrate and force me to make a statement. "They would have to go before a magistrate and explain why they needed to do this, and get his permission first," said Mr. Truter.

Well, they never came back. Either the magistrate refused to give them permission or something else changed their minds. The magistrate could have said to them, "With all the voluntary statements you already have from individuals, why is one more necessary, especially if it is not offered voluntarily." I don't know what led to the events that followed. But instead of coming back for me, they immediately went ahead and arrested Terence Beard and charged him with breaking his banning order, by participating in a social gathering at Professor Oosthuizen's home on the given Saturday night. They also told Terence that if it had not been for the lack of cooperation from his friend Cedric Evans, he probably would not have found himself in his present plight.

One of the partygoers at Professor Oosthuizen's home that night was a Dr. van der Merwe of the Sociology department. He did not wait for the Branch to call him for a statement, but instead went and volunteered one himself. I could not understand that. But this happened after my run-in with the Branch, because they confided to him that after questioning me they felt that they had finally identified the dangerous leader of the group.

This had a major repercussion for me personally when, as a result of this incident, the South African Government refused to give me a visa to visit

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America, and withheld my passport. Not to be outdone by the Special Branch, I obtained a British passport and left for a visit to the United States without them knowing. But a few days later they visited my home, and interrogated our maid about my whereabouts. This alerted my family, who took legal advise and discovered that it was illegal for me to have left the country with a British passport while still remaining a South Africa citizen. The opinion stated that only the Attorney General could prosecute me for that, but that it was quite possible that the Attorney General would do the bidding of the Special Branch, if they pressed for prosecution. The penalty for the crime was two years in a South African prison.

When I received this word while in New York, my life changed forever. I did not return to South Africa for another seventeen years. I got my family out, I went to Edinburgh University to get a Ph.D. and I started a new life as a college professor in the United States.

Needless to say they had got it wrong about me being the dangerous leader of the group. But when do intelligence-people ever get it right?

When the trial was heard some months later all the witnesses were issued subpoenas. I was also served a subpoena. But very few of us were called.

On my way into the courtroom I passed close to Sergeant Sweetman and gave him my "looks could kill" stare.

Despite the defense, the magistrate found Terence guilty of breaking his ban and gave him six months probation for two years. The magistrate had made a ruling that even two people could constitute a social gathering for the purposes of the banning law.

One of the objections to a law such as a banning (apart from its essence as dictatorship) is that the individual banned has no idea what behavior transgresses the law, and therefore, what he has to do to abide within the terms of the law. The banning law under the Suppression of Communism Act was just such a law. The example of Terence Beard is a perfect illustration of the injustice of a law that is so vague that you never know when you are breaking it. It also gives a perfect opportunity for the Special Branch to prosecute or not to prosecute as they see fit and depending on what they are trying to achieve on a given occasion. Such a law violates due process, and the principles of justice. Just to give one other example. Could Terence go to a movie by himself? Would he be attending a social gathering if he did? No one could answer that question. The local magistrate was approached for a ruling. He refused to give a ruling. When Terence did go to a movie, the Branch came to

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question him about it. So the banned person was left in limbo, never knowing when what he did would amount to a violation of the law, and never knowing when the Branch would pick him up and charge him with breaking his banning order. Apartheid South Africa was full of laws that were not within the law. In democracies there is a name for this: we call such specious laws unconstitutional, on the grounds that they violate the civil liberties of the citizenry.

Daantjie made a plea for mercy on behalf of his student Hugh Lewin in the sentencing phase of his conviction for sabotage. The trial was in Pretoria, and Daantjie made a statement before the court offering mitigating circumstances which would drive an idealistic young man, whose father was an Episcopalian minister, to take militant action against the Apartheid Government and its policy of discrimination against blacks. We do not know if his plea had any effect on the judge, but Hugh was sentenced to seven years hard labor for the crime, and he served five years in a South Africa prison. Hugh wrote movingly about his prison experience in a book published by Penguin.

Daantjie was also called as a witness against Terence Beard in the matter of his breaking the banning order by visiting Daantjie's home while the party for Chink Ewan was going on. All of us were subpoenaed by the government, but most of us were not called. I believe Daantjie was, but I have no recollection of this. I just remember passing Lieutenant Sweetman in the courtroom and giving him my most steely look of hate and contempt.

Daantjie spent a sabbatical at Oxford, and he chose to associate himself with Gilbert Ryle. Daantjie had a thesis that the work of the phenomenologists and that of the linguistic philosophers tended to converge. Ryle was interested in this thesis and encouraged him to pursue it. Subsequent events have proved Daantjie right in this assessment. This is particularly apparent in a recent book by Anthony Dummett. Daantjie also got to know Rom Harre the philosopher of science, and it was in virtue of this contact that he was able to help me get my student, John Schumacher, accepted into Oxford.

I used to gave Daantjie no peace about Husserl's philosophy and his concept of epoche or "bracketing the world" or causal connection with the world. Thus, when Macbeth says. "Is this a dagger I see before me?" Macbeth is questioning the connection between his vision and the world. Husserl's bracketing would permit us to concentrate on the visual hallucination independently of the question of whether it presented

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something real. Having got this point, I kept pushing Daantjie about why phenomenologists made so much of such a simple point.

Daantjie liked using William James' distinction between tender-minded thinkers and tough-minded thinkers. Tender-minded thinkers were soft on metaphysical notions such as the notion of God, and tough-minded thinkers tended to be skeptical about such notions. Now the British have their own name for the tough-minded. They use the description "bloody-minded" for the tough-minded. Daantjie loved to apply the label "bloody-minded" to philosophers with whom he was in disagreement. Of course he was not above being bloody-minded himself about some issues, and would not have shrunk back from the label.

In a paper published in March 1968 entitled "Is Apartheid Morally Justifiable" Daantjie reveals his mischievous sense of humor in the following passage, which at the same time is a brilliant application of philosophical principles to an issue of etiquette.

"Now if you accept this first point - that facts themselves do not imply moral obligations - the question arises: how do facts enter, as undoubtedly they do, into moral dispute? Consider the following example. Someone irritably informs us at table that his finger is itching. We courteously and sympathetically reply: "Really?" (This is called "showing interest in your victim") Now let my victim say, not that his finger is itching, but "Your filthy tie is dangling in my soup". "Really?" would hardly be a courteous or a sympathetic reply in this case. Why not? The answer is obvious. Although both filthy ties and itchy fingers are facts, the one fact, "That my filthy tie is dangly in your soup", is covered by a social injunction in the way that the other fact, ": that your fingers are itching", is not. We are, of course, hardly ever explicitly aware of this injunction. We seldom bother to formulate it. The point however is that we can, and will explicitly formulate this injunction if it comes to an argument. We can point to a rule which reads: "Thou shalt not, whilst at table, for any reason whatever, immerse any object in the soup of they neighbour, except as an act of charity and provided that the object so immersed be conducive to thy neighbor's drinking of his soup." To be informed that my dangling tie is improperly interfering with another man's drinking of his soup is therefore not merely an interesting piece of information. It is to be taken as a reminder of a social rule, which in the context of the discussion is understood by both the agent and his victim. Our example shows, in other words, that facts enter into questions of moral justification only under two conditions: firstly, there must be a moral rule which applies in the particular situation with which we are

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concerned; secondly the facts quoted must be relevant to that particular moral rule."

Daantjie's in-depth attack on Afrikaner Nationalism came in a paper entitled: On Ideology and Metaphor: An Analysis of Nationalism. His "victim" in this piece was Dr P.J. Meyer who was at the time a Director of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the leading propaganda organ of the Nationalist Government. Meyer had written a book defending Afrikaner Nationalism called Trek Verder, and it was this work that Daantjie proceeded to dismantle by an exercise in deconstruction well before such a notion had entered the heads of academics. Daantjie's love of Kierkegaardian irony shows up in the manner in which he sets up the scene of discourse:

'I shall, for the sake of brevity, indicate the uses of words which we, pagan novices, may be assumed to be familiar ("L" = ordinarily language); our learned instructor shall take no offence if I do not refer to him as "Dr.", but simply as "M" [Meyer]. His Nationalism I shall call "N". We pagans shall be called "P". A commentator "C" [Charl - Daantjie's middle name] will from time to time remark on the passing show, and in the end, say rather more than Dr. Meyer."

While this is not quite an example of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous authors it carries the irony of Daantjie taking the role of "pagan" and Meyer being placed in the role of "learned instructor." From this point the writing goes on to deconstruct Meyer's book as a sham hiding outright political power and dictatorship, in the manner of Derrida at his best.

"The Afrikaner-organism does not have this structural deficiency [democracy]: its internal organization of cells is far superior to the loosely knit organization we have mentioned. Once in five years the organic functions are overhauled in order to facilitate good reception of the Director's calls". This cell, or group of cells, conveys the instructions efficiently throughout the organism; they reorganize subsidiary functions within the organism in order to facilitate speedy execution of Director's-calls, and so on. The master-cell in the organism represents the Director - he is father of the family of cells, general managing director of all public business, master educator and moral supervisor. In short he is God's elect. He mediates between God and Man. Efficiency demands that futile argument should be excluded. There is no need for argument: for if anything in the organism should go wrong, it is not the fault of the Director-cell. He clearly hears, understand and interprets the organism's Director's-call to all cells: the blame must be put fairly and squarely where it belongs, i.e. either

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on those cells who refuse to listen to the Director-cell or on those agitated cells who have been trying the organism-jump."

This inversion of roles is found in other writings as well. Most notably in a paper on "Christian Unity". [Occasional Papers of the Department of Philosophy, Rhodes University, March, 1967]

In this paper Daantjie has adopted the name of "Mr. Layman". This is a Kierkegaardian ploy in that it hides his identity at one level. He is not "I, Daantjie Oosthuizen", but "I, Mr. Layman." It is Kierkegaardian at another level, in that he pretends to be a member of the lay public, when in fact he is a professional philosopher and a Clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church - i.e., a theologian. So here Daantjie has recourse to Kierkegaardian irony. At still another level, the passage itself is Kierkegaardian in that it places the Christian in action above the Christian in belief.

I list the headings of the first five sections to give the reader a feel for the piece.

  1. Mr. Layman thinks Theology should be left to the experts but finds little comfort in this thought.
  2. Mr. Layman proceeds none the less to a cost-account.
  3. Mr. Layman, taking a breather, surveys first of all the concept of "Unity".
  4. Mr. Layman considers that, if in a Maelstrom, it is wise to get out before one is sucked under.
  5. Mr. Layman is humiliated by the inevitably of his own arrogance.

The following passage begins section 5.

Perhaps a first point to consider is the question of the object of Christian Unity. It is often said that Christian Unity is desirable in the face of a resurgent Mohammedanism or an antagonistic-secularized world. But is this so? I am suggesting that Mr. Layman should insist that Christian Unity is not a means towards an end in the power politics of religions. Let us assume, then, that as far as Mr. Layman is concerned, Christian Unity does not concern the public image of the Church which an indifferent antagonistic or secular public may have. It is not concerned, either with the practice of publicly washing dirty linen or with the advantage of streamlined washing in private. Christian Unity from Mr. Layman's point of view concerns the fact that a unity, which is fully existent, should assert itself in public, is concerned,

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i.e., with Christian Action in a non-Christian world. Since Christian unity - indeed Christianity itself - is not a nebulous ideal, the question cannot be how this unity is to be achieved - but simply who the Christian is going to be; the question is which man, speaking from within the mystical faith, from within the mystical body of Christ, should act in the name of Christ. Now clearly the sphere where we are mostly likely to speak of Christian Unity in this world is where we are faced with matters of general concern, i.e., with questions of concern to Christians and non-Christians alike. If the Unity of Christ is there it will manifest itself in speaking out for righteousness and justice in this world - and no amount of doctrinal agreement would or could replace this unity of the Church militant. For Mr. Layman in short Christian Unity in this world concerns the mission of the Church in the many spheres of social, moral and political righteousness and justice: the action of the Church in combating the forces of evil and speaking out for good. All theological and ecumenical discussion must be made subservient to this end."

Daantjie ends his paper rhetorically with the question: "But then who is Mr. Layman?"

And the passage above makes it clear what he is driving at. It is a challenge to every Christian to step forward and be the one "combating the forces of evil and speaking out for good."

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