1887

oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Eugène N. Marais as redakteur van , 1890-1896 : geesteswetenskappe

 

Abstract

Eugène N. Marais was van Oktober 1890 tot November 1896 die redakteur van in Pretoria, een van net drie Nederlandstalige koerante in die Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR). Die jong man was van meet af aan krities oor die beleid en optrede van Paul Kruger se regering. Anders as die meeste ander koerantredakteurs in die ZAR is hy nie deur eng politieke motiewe of finansiële oorwegings of deur een of ander verbintenis met Kruger gemotiveer nie, maar suiwer deur sy gewete. Die koerant het ook nie, soos sommige ander tydgenootlike blaaie, finansiële steun van die staat ontvang nie. Marais het nie 'n wag voor sy mond gesit nie en was daarom dikwels vanweë sy soms ietwat kru kritiek in lastersake betrokke. Hy het oor bedenklike aspekte van die Krugerregering se beleid en Kruger en sy amptenare se optrede in verband met 'n wye verskeidenheid kwessies kommentaar gelewer. Marais kon geen oneerlikheid of nepotisme aan regeringskant en goedpratery van regeringsfoute verdra nie en het dit onbevrees en sonder skroom blootgelê. Sy kommentaar in die koerant het 'n kritiese ingesteldheid ten opsigte van die politiek van die tyd, wat tot die 1880's nog grootliks by Transvaalse burgery ontbreek het, by die publiek gekweek. Hy het 'n groot rol in die presidentsverkiesing van 1892-93 gespeel deur generaal Piet Joubert, as teenstander van Kruger en 'n leiersfiguur van die "progressiewe" volksdeel, te ondersteun en sodoende aan Joubert sy beste prestasie in vier verkiesings help besorg. Marais was een van die eerste Suid-Afrikaanse joernaliste wat ondersoekende joernalistiek beoefen het en het dit doeltreffend in sy kritiek aangewend. is nog betreklik min deur historici in verband met Kruger se bewindstyd as bron benut en die koerant se kommentaar belig dus 'n kant van Kruger se presidentskap wat voorheen verwaarloos is.


The period 1890 to 1896 is very important in the political development of the South African Republic under President Paul Kruger. Following the gold discoveries on the Witwatersrand in 1886 the financial and economic prospects of the Republic seemed favourable. Mining was blooming, but with it came speculation and corruption. On the political front there was stability, with Paul Kruger having been elected for a second term of five years in 1888. Although General P.J. (Piet) Joubert had opposed Kruger in the presidential elections of 1883 and 1888 there was no evidence of organised political parties. Apart from the English language newspapers there was none in Dutch, the official language of the state, which could call the president to account in terms of the dictates of democracy. In October 1890 the 19-year-old Eugène Marais, who had received his education in the Cape Colony, became the editor of a fairly obscure Pretoria newspaper, , and turned it into an anti-Kruger organ of note. Soon afterwards, he and a partner bought the paper and at the end of 1892 he became sole proprietor and editor. The intelligent young man had by then already clashed with Kruger over something Marais had written for an English language paper as a freelance writer and the enmity between these two men lasted for the duration of Marais's editorship, which ended in November 1896. From Marais's side, however, it was not a personal vendetta as such, but took the form of loud and uncompromising criticism of Kruger's actions as president. Openness, transparency and honesty were non-negotiable in Marais's value system and he did not hesitate in the least to expose anything that did not conform to these values.

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/content/litnet/11/3/EJC164190
2014-12-01
2016-12-05
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