South Africa, Maverick Life

Video – Between The Lines: Hitler, Verwoerd & Marianne Thamm

By John Matisonn 27 September 2016

Daily Maverick Assistant Editor Marianne Thamm took a break from exposing scandals in SARS, the Western Cape ANC and elsewhere to talk about her new memoir, Hitler, Verwoerd, Mandela and me on BETWEEN THE LINES with John Matisonn. Born to a German father who joined the Hitler Youth and fought in Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Thamm’s search of her past even revealed an aunt who knew the Goebbels family during World War II.

Thamm describes herself as “half-Portuguese, half-German, recovering Roman Catholic atheist lesbian immigrant”. She was born in the United Kingdom, where her father met her mother after his release as a Prisoner of War. Her book chronicles her early life as a tomboy “breker” in Pretoria, who took care of herself: “If you stuffed with me, I would hit you.”

Later, when gay life in Cape Town was still taboo, she would react to an anti-gay remark with an in-your-face verbal assault: “Do you expect me to choose you, a drunk, toothless man over someone who looks like this (gesture to beautiful girlfriend)?”

A great part of the book includes her coming to terms with her father, who came to love her two adopted black daughters, albeit with his own peculiar rationale.

You needed a lesbian daughter and two black grandchildren,” Thamm told him. And he fell in love with them – without ever fully giving up his endless racial prejudice.

Nelson Mandela offered her liberation as much as anyone, after years covering police violence in townships in the late apartheid era. Now she is at the forefront of breaking stories about the ANC’s continuing shame.

Quoting former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, she says the ANC’s embrace of a wide range of views is less a broad church than a rowdy shebeen. She understands the ANC’s difficulty in getting rid of Jacob Zuma despite his infractions. It’s never dealt with a leader with such a deep and abiding patronage network.

It’s hard to find a moral high ground in the party in charge at a time of R250-billion in irregular and corrupt expenditure.

Future generations will ask us “What did you d0 when Nkandla was happening? What did you say? How did you stop it?” DM

Hitler, Verwoerd, Mandela and me, A memoir of sorts, by Marianne Thamm. Published by Tafelberg.

John Matisonn is the author of GOD, SPIES AND LIES, Finding South Africa’s future through its past, and host of CTV’s BETWEEN THE LINES.

Photo: Marianne Thamm.


Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.

Maverick Life

Wellness: Relationship time-out

By Stefan Blom