Cast one’s mind back to the mid-1980s when President PW Botha was at the height of National Party power. The country was caught up in a “total strategy” against “the communist onslaught”, the townships were patrolled by the SA Defence Force and the ruling party appeared to be unassailable.
Who would have thought that by 1994, all that madness would have been swept away and that by 2006, the NP would whimper off the political stage altogether, its tail between its collective legs as it sold itself to the highest bidder, the ANC.
Pieter-Dirk Uys, in his latest show Desperate First Ladies, does a remarkable impersonation not only of PW – of whom he is a mirror image – but also Tannie Elize, the bougainvillea-bright first lady who seemed so permanent a part of our ridiculous political theatre of the time. All that absurdity was gone, or so we thought.
We then had information and security legislation which rivals the Protection of Information Bill – which is about to rush headlong on to our statute books.
Remember those pages of the Weekly Mail and the Vrye Weekblad with large blocks of type blacked out? Remember the states of emergency and the arrogance with which the NP ruled the roost? Remember the government, which sent white males to the army for two years to patrol townships and fight a “border” war against so-called communists?