1970 – Netjies!

The Harrismith Stadsaal was propvol. Albert Hertzog was coming to speak as leader of his new breakaway party, and the doubtful and the faithful were all there. Plus one Yank.

The doubtful were there to worry about the severe liberalisation evident in the Nat Party lately – I mean, they were considering allowing television! – while the faithful were there to heckle ou Hertzog.


A dapper little dutchman, he gave a rousing speech about the great injustice done to them by the Nats, building up to a rousing “en hulle het ons UITGESKOP!” upon which, from the back of the hall rang out a clear “NETJIES!” which brought the house down and quite ruined the dramatic effect.

This as reported to me by the Yank Larry Wingert, Rotary exchange student from Cobleskill New York, who’d gone along to witness democracy, Old-SA-style.

In typical political fashion the verligtes hated their brother verkramptes even more than they hated the old enemy, the Sappe. The Sappe they could say, were just stupid, but these ous were verraaiers!

In the election that followed, the SAPPE (United Party – the nickname was from an older party, the South African Party) made gains, the Nats losing seats in parliament for the first time since they came to power in 1948.

But ou Hertzog’s Herstigtes won 0 seats. Zero. Not one, despite appealing to Larry that they were the way forward to the past!

The Nats were still in power, but to put their “power” in perspective, they got a total of 821 000 votes in a country of 22.5 million people! And that made them the bosses of South Africa!

Talk about illegitimate.


propvol – full, full to bursting

“en hulle het ons UITGESKOP!” – The Nats booted the doubters out. They then formed the “re-established National Party” (Herstigtes)

NETJIES!” – Well done! Neat move!

verligtes – sort of ‘enlightened’ racists; more realist than the verkramptes, who wanted nothing to change

verkramptes – cramp-ass racists (keep the world at bay!), send the Indians back to India, drive the blacks into the sea. Back to their imaginary ‘good old days’!

verraaiers – traitors