Hierdie is die LitNet-argief (2006–2012)
This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
To: The Secretary General, COSATU
Dear Mr Vavi
This is intended as an open letter for free distribution. Vrye Woord/Free Word is a mainly Afrikaans writers’ organisation which fully supports the urgent writers’ petition to campaign for the freedom of speech and expression. We are not yet a trade union, but are considering the options for a future organisational structure. Our views and newsletters appear regularly on LitNet.
We wish to express our strong support for your condemnation of the suppression of freedom of speech on 4 November. We are united across language, ideology, race, creed and any other differences in our resistance to any efforts that pertain to the curtailing of the free flow of information.
Liberal Afrikaans writers, along with those of English, were targeted for harsh censorship during apartheid. We were participants in the struggle against apartheid and censorship. The books of our most prominent members, such as Breyten Breytenbach, André Brink and John Miles, were banned and Breyten spent seven years in jail for this reason. During apartheid most of us were united in resistance in the now defunct Afrikaanse Skrywersgilde. The latter was the only Afrikaans organisation to openly and consistently oppose apartheid. Of course there were individuals who acted on their own, but the Gilde had clout.
We strongly believe, as you do, that the present government’s proposals to regulate the free flow of information and to curtail the freedom of the media pose a serious threat to our democratic right to know and read what we are entitled to. It could be even more of a cover-up for corruption and a signal for the hyenas, your well-chosen word, to move in.
We may have our differences concerning strategy and ideology, but be assured that in this respect we are united behind you. We are by no means “elitist” and fully support your cause to do the right thing for workers and ordinary people.