SUNDAY TIMES - 31 quotes that captured the bloodshed, anger, protest and hope of 2015
Sunday Times News By Compiled by Anton Ferreira, 2015-12-27 00:00:00.0

31 quotes that captured the bloodshed, anger, protest and hope of 2015

I don’t know how to stop my laughter. Is it hurting?” President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly, November 19

From the sublime (think Pope Francis) to the ridiculous (step forward, Donald Trump), the ups and downs of 2015 were captured in the quotes of people from around the world

1) "The problem with South Africa is that it's too free. Thugs do as they please. They walk into our shops wielding guns and knives."

- Johiy Khan, a Bangladeshi shopowner in Emdeni, Soweto, after the death of Siphiwe Mahori, 14, who was killed in Snake Park on January 19 by a foreign shopowner, January 22.

2)"I think it will actually close a chapter in our history because we've come a long way and I think his release will just once again help with the reconciliation process because there's still a lot of things that we need to do as a country."

- Sandra Mama, on the release on parole of Eugene de Kock, who in 1992 killed her husband Glenack Mama, January 30.

Eugene de Kock 1.jpg

3) "I pray that those whom he hurt, those from whom he took loved ones, will find the power within them to forgive him. Forgiving is empowering for the forgiver and the forgiven - and for all the people around them. But we can't be glib about it; it's not easy."

- Desmond Tutu, on De Kock's parole, January 30.

4) "I apologise unconditionally, to South Africans, to parliament and Honourable Julius Malema for any hurt or harm I may have caused."

- Baleka Mbete, in a statement on her "cockroach" speech, February 18.

Baleka Mbete 

5) "When foreigners look at them, they say 'let us exploit the nation of idiots' ... We ask that the immigrants must take their bags and go where they came from."

- King Goodwill Zwelithini, in his Pongola speech, March 15.

Goodwill Zwelithini.JPG 

6) "Our freedom cannot be given to us - we must take it. We want to be clear that our only regret is that we did not take the statue down ourselves."

 - Kealeboga Ramaru, member of the #RhodesMustFall movement, after the Cecil John Rhodes statue was removed from UCT campus, April 9.

rhodes goes.JPG 

7) "No, there is not a race war coming. The reason is simple: the overwhelming majority of South Africans, black and white, believe in a middle path somewhere between reconciliation and social justice."

 - Jonathan Jansen, on the Rhodes controversy, April 10.

rhodes must fall 7.JPG 

8) "In every white person there's an element of Adolf Hitler ... I love Adolf Hitler."

- Mcebo Dlamini, the then president of the Wits SRC, in a Facebook post, April 25.

9) "I did not say we're not going to address this issue. I'm saying this is not the forum ... There is no problem by the way. No problem."

- Danny Jordaan, at a news conference after his election as mayor of Port Elizabeth, during which he refused to discuss the Fifa bribery scandal, May 28.

Danny Jordaan

10) "The conduct of the respondents to the extent that they have failed to take steps to arrest and detain the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, is inconsistent with the constitution of the Republic of South Africa."

 - Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, in the Pretoria High Court, June 24.

Omar al-Bashir.JPG 

11) "It is a commission that has decided nothing. It is inconclusive, no one is held responsible."

- Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, on the Farlam inquiry into Marikana, June 28.

12) "If [Riah] Phiyega's hands are dripping with the workers' blood, so are those of the president who employed her, very well aware that she had neither experience nor skills to head police operations."

- Zwelinzima Vavi, on the Farlam report, June 28.


13) "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her ... wherever."

- Donald Trump, referring to Fox News's Megyn Kelly, who moderated a debate between candidates for the Republican nomination, August 7.


14) "From every land may a single voice be raised: no to war, no to violence and yes to dialogue, yes to peace. With war, you always lose. The only way to win a war is to not make it."

- Pope Francis, in his speech on the 70th anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 9.


15) "No one goes into your face and says, 'You're not welcome here.' No one says that you don't belong here. But it's just that the structure, and the environment itself, says that I'm not welcome here."

- Lindokuhle Patiwe, a UCT student, in remarks to the New York Times, September 8.

Cape Town students  

16) "The culture of the place [UCT] feels white. The architecture is a European, Oxbridge architecture. Obviously, the language of instruction is English. The culture of what's held up to be excellent universities and excellent science, and what we emulate and aspire to be, are the Ivy League universities and European universities."

- Max Price, UCT vice-chancellor, on student protests in the New York Times, September 8.

17) "It absolutely questions what makes us human. And I don't think we know any more what does. This is like opening up Tutankhamen's tomb."

 - Lee Berger, discussing the discovery of Homo naledi fossils, September 10.


18) "'Guys, why is there no agricultural activity taking place?' So their response was: 'The white people have left, there's no jobs.' I said: 'OK ... but we gave this land back to you, the community.' They said: 'No, you are misunderstanding the situation. The white people have left!'"

- Tito Mboweni, describing a land reform project in a lecture at the Wits School of Economics and Business Sciences, October 13.

19) "Women are questioning why it is when they speak in their feminine pitch that there isn't as big an uproar [of support] as when a man speaks in his masculine voice."

 - Nompendulo Mkatshwa, incoming president of the Wits SRC, in an interview with during the #FeesMustFall protests, October 21.


20) "The ground has shifted significantly in the last few days, and there is great excitement about what it means; what kind of a new order we can build out of this."

- Max du Preez, on the student protests, October 24.

21) "My reading is that there is no alliance; there is one organisation existing inside the integuments of erstwhile independent organisations, but today to talk about Cosatu as an independent organisation from the ANC or the SACP I think is a delusion."

- Kgalema Motlanthe, in a Business Day interview, November 2.


22) "I'm going to lose, that's for sure."

- Barry Roux, to Gerrie Nel at the end of the Oscar Pistorius appeal, November 3.


23) "Let us now all get on with our lives. I'm sure she'll [Reeva] be able to rest now, as well."

- Barry Steenkamp, reacting to the Supreme Court ruling on Pistorius, December 3.

barry steenkamp.jpg 

24) "You ain't no Muslim, bruv."

Remark shouted by an unidentified bystander at the man who stabbed a commuter in a London underground station, December 5.

25) "Nelson Mandela was no sell-out. These peacetime revolutionaries who were never in the trenches have the temerity to open their mouths about him."

- Cyril Ramaphosa, on Julius Malema's comments about Mandela, December 5.


26) "In the current challenging economic environment, the decision to change a successful minister of finance is difficult to understand."

 - Maria Ramos, Barclays Africa CEO, reacting to the sacking of Nhlanhla Nene, December 9.

Maria Ramos.JPG 

27) "I certainly believe that if ANC members are worth their salt, they have to start looking very carefully and introspectively ... about our roles in this organisation and what we are giving consent to by allowing this president to operate as though he is completely unaccountable. This is the final straw."

- Barbara Hogan, on the sacking of Nene in a speech on December 11.

nene dudu.jpg 

28) "Her [Dudu Myeni's] relationship with the president is purely professional, and is based on the running of the foundation ... Rumours about a romance and a child are baseless and are designed to cast aspersions on the president."

- A statement from The Presidency, December 12.

29) "I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world. [This is] the best chance we have to save the one planet we've got."

 - Barack Obama, on the climate deal reached in Paris, December 13.


30) "We see you. Out in your numbers. The 'rainbow nation' rearing its ugly head and chanting 'Zoomer must fall'."

 - Shaeera Kalla, former Wits SRC president, in a tweet accompanied by picture of mainly white marchers taking part in a ZumaMustFall protest, December 16.


31) "The Turks decided to lick the Americans in a certain place."

 - Vladimir Putin, on the downing of a Russian military jet by Turkey at a news conference, December 17.