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Wednesday, 08 July 2009

The strange cult of the anti-hero

There have been many heroes throughout history; those whose unselfish and noble deeds have been an inspiration to others.

One example of a true hero was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a Roman policitian. Cincinnatus was called upon to act as dictator in order to defeat an enemy, the Aequians. As soon as he succeeded in doing so, he resigned his from a position of absolute authority and returned to a simple life as a farmer.

It's hard to imagine any modern day politician doing likewise.

Many of the so-called heroes of the present day are clearly not in the same mould as Cincinnatus. We are rather faced with the cult of the worship of the anti-hero. The most recent example of the worship of an anti-hero was the unfounded hysteria accompanying the death of the suspected paedophile Michael Jackson.

Let's take another example of a so-called American hero, one who even has a public holiday in his honour. This so-called hero was not only someone who plagiarised his academic work, but also an adulterer and a womaniser. The FBI recorded him shouting: "I'm fucking for God!" while philandering. The night before he died, he cheated on his wife with not one but two different women.

Hardly the stuff heroes are made of, wouldn't you say, especially considering he was supposedly a man of God? The anti-hero I'm referring to above is Martin Luther King, somebody who is routinely exalted as some kind of role model. We're really scraping the bottom of the barrel if Dr King is seen as a hero to some.

South Africa has its own crop of anti-heroes. Many of them are so-called Struggle heroes or associated with the ANC. The sickening spectacle of the anti-hero and fraudster Tony Yengeni being escorted to prison to serve time for corruption will forever be a mark of shame on the odious ANC regime.

Other ANC anti-heroes abound. Winnie Mandela, a child murderer and convicted fraudster, is known as the "Mother of the Nation." Aboobaker Ismael, the cowardly murderer who planned the Church Street bombing that killed innocent civilians, was rewarded for his "heroism" with a senior position at the Reserve Bank.

Perhaps the most laughable example of the cult of the anti-hero is however the so-called "Chief Tshwane." Chief Tshwane (sic) was ostensibly a tribal chief in the area that is now called the city of Pretoria. According to the ANC city council, Tshwane (sic) "established" the "City of Tshwane" (sic.)

There is one slight problem with this fairy tale. There is no evidence that "Chief Tshwane" (sic) ever existed. There is speculation that the name is really derived from the local vernacular term for monkey – "tshwene." The river that flows through Pretoria is known as the Apies river (Afrikaans for "monkey") due to the large number of simians that populated its banks.

Furthermore, the modern-day city of Pretoria was in reality founded by the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius. There was certainly no bustling metropolis when Pretorius arrived on the site that is now Pretoria.

One of these actually existed and founded Pretoria. The other is a hero to the ANC regime.

The ANC regime, however, in its desperation to find somebody, anybody, to worship as a hero, did not let the facts (or lack thereof) stand in their way. It went to the ridiculous extreme of inventing a fictitious character and even built a statue to honour "Chief Tshwane" (sic), the so-called founder of Pretoria.

This sounds like Monty Python, but it's regrettably true. Can you imagine how bare your cupboard must be of real heroes that you have to go to the extreme of inventing one?

Perhaps we shouldn't sneer at those who view Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson, Winnie Mandela and even "Chief Tshwane" (sic) as heroes. It must be very depressing not having any real heroes to call your own.

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