The decision by the South African Literary Awards to withdraw Annelie Botes’s K Sello Duiker Memorial Award (in the last minute?) for her comments that she does not like black people because she did not understand them [and does not intend understanding them at all, it seems] is uncalled for, unfair and not professional.
This because – and I think you’ll all agree with my insinuation – her comments were not even close to why she was awarded the award in the first place.
Of course there any many other black people who hate white people and one is not sure why Botes should be treated differently and by this one is not condoning hate speech in any way. Or is it because at least they (“white and black people haters”) do not let known their hatred for white people as Botes did hers of black people?
Even if that were true it is not like her comments would amount to anything close to hate speech and or ‘kill the boers’ comments by African National Congress Youth League President Julius Malema. And still, that would also have to be proven true or otherwise in a Court of law which seems very unlikely as no-one has threatened to take Botes to Court for her alleged ‘hate speech’ comments.
One other important thing is that the withdrawal should have been made against the criteria or award requirements which Botes’ work had to satisfy, criteria which should have been set in the first place and known to or by her before she was shortlisted or entered into the Award as a runner up. Had that been then been case then surely we’d all understand.
But the above is not the case for the withdrawal was made after she was informed she had won the award for her literature work and not her failure to reserve her private and or public comments and or opinions about either black or white people.
Further, the withdrawal may be understood to have been made by Sala after both civil and political pressure which is unprofessional and unfair the as a professional body should not bow down under any pressure from any political party or group from within the public as this would precisely amount to ‘self-censorship’.
In the end, Botes deserved the award as she met the Sala criteria and requirements. More than that, she deserves it for there has not been any comprehensive and logic explanation to her award’s withdrawal.