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MCSA Apologises

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:54 am
by guest
Everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Quick to criticize - slow to act

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:30 am
by Andy Davies
Hi \"guest\"...

I believe Alison and Judy from CT MCSA took out a school for a days climbing the other day. Not a big thing - but lets keep it in perspective - they have full time jobs. Maybe you can put something back into the community and do a day of \"Outreach\"?

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:35 am
by Mark
Guest - I'm not dissing you, I would just like to understand? Why are you working on trying to create a racism conversation? Their policies were wrong, (as were many countries which made similar ignorant and arrogant errors), but it happened. What is there to do about it now? Treat everyone with equality, the only other thing they could do is offer them discounted subs, which I would find insulting I wouldnt wanted to be treated different in any way - Isnt that the point?

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:04 am
by Marshall
You can't force people into the hills. But the door is open to everyone.

guest...any ideas on how to proceed.


Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:15 am
by guest
Everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

the little things...

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:38 am
by Chalk
There is an easy way of making a big difference – join the MCSA, pay your subscription (which will give the club money to put programs in place). Even easier – have you noticed on the club nights when new people stand around and look out of place, go over a greet them and make them feel welcome, regardless of who they are.

Its easy to say “what’s the organisation doing?”, fact is we, the members, are the organisation and at the end of the day – we make the difference.

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:48 am
by ClimbZA
The message below was sent out via Capmail (MCSA) on the 23/01/2006

\"If you have any reasonably good climbing gear, harnesses, belay
devices, climbing shoes etc. that you no longer use and that
you think somebody could make use of, please contact me at the number
below. We are trying to build up a kitty of useful gear to allow
youngsters to get on the vertical rock!

Fran at or 082 940 0939
W 465 8515/19\"

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:04 pm
by oOdball
Well said Chalk.

It is important to remember that the MCSA is not the govenrment, climbers don't pay nearly enough taxes to enable the organization to pay \"public servants\". I suspect that will *never* be the case.

Instead, the club provides a framework and credibility to the efforts of *volunteers* working to promote the objectives of the club. These are usually things which benefit all of us and the benefits are actually quite poorly advertised. To become a more inclusive organization (one of many desirable things that should be happening) takes lots of work and/or money both of which have to come from the climbing/mountaineering/hiking/outdoor community. Most of the sections have some sort of development programmes but these are still in their infancy as far as I'm aware (see previous post).

guest, if this issue is dear to your heart your local section will surely be happy to hear from you. Any effort by a non-profit organization can only be as good as the people who have the passion to get their hands dirty...

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:08 pm
by kyle
I think everyone is being too hard on guest.... check the defensive stances as everyone gets ready to justify their lack of guilt over this subject. I personally think it is outrageous that it has taken the MCSA so long to apologise formally. 12 years later they say they are sorry for taking government kickbacks to secure land for climbing on through an exclusive racial policy... that sucks. Ed Feb has never received a formal apology... I mean how difficult is it to apologise sincerely?

The fact that people still have the attitude of referring to \"them\" make me feel very sad for the future of this country... \"why don't we give them reduced subs...\"

I think the attitude of saying that these things happened and people must move on is a simple way of copping out from ones share of the responsibility and it is a slap in the face to people like Ed who have suffered humiliation and frustrations at the hands of the MCSA.

Shame on them.

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:02 pm
by Mark
My problem is we always have to accept our guilt? Why am I guilty? I didnt make or enforce the decisions that were made in the past, so I really am not responsible (or guilty) for the past, just like you cant blame every german for WW2, or the australians for flattening the aborigines.

I am saying treat \"everyone\" equally. Chalk made a good example of making everyone welcome and part of the climbing community. We should do it because we are decent people - that should be our motive. We should open our arms in friendship - Not guilt

As far as Ed Feb goes I am sure he would appreciate an apology for the mistakes \"the oranisation\" made in the past and its probably the right thing to do, but I dont think it will count as much to him as if the apology was made by the actual people who did him wrong.

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 1:50 pm
by Hector
A while back ClimbZA had an excellent article by Greg Child on his experiences climbing in the new SA. Its interesting seeing the issues from an outsider's perspective. Justin, can you try dig up that article and re-post it? I reckon transformation in the climbing community comes down to the individual level. Many people start climbing after they're taken on a trip by friends who climb. Do the same with your black mates. I think that the younger generation is alot more colour blind than the older climbers. In his article Greg made an interesting comment, to paraphrase: \"After a day of climbing hard the older climbers would sit around the campfire and talk about their days on the border; the youngsters would sit around and talk about climbing hard\". Climbers are a funny cliquey bunch, but in my experience they generally dont give a rats ass who you are or what you look like if you're a competent climber.

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 2:22 pm
by ClimbZA
The article is still available on the articles page, under article archives,

Tenth from the bottom you will see Technicolor Darkness by Greg Child

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:15 pm
by Stu
I don't think it's the subject that everyone is touchy about. If you look at guest's previous posts they all have a common aspect in them - that tends to stir up argument rather than debate. Here he rides in on his high-horse questioning motives and what has been done. It's all about how you word things. He seems to like confrontation rather than discussion. Some of us hated that regime but that was were we lived. Social engineering never works, don't force people - it should come from the heart.

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:27 pm
by kyle
I think this debate veered from the original question which was : \"Why did it take the MCSA 12 years to apologise?\" Surely when everyone else was apologising would have been the perfect time to jump on the band wagon. I also don't think its because they forgot either? To tell you the truth I am little in the dark as to why this has happened now. I have heard rumours of a planned apology for years now.... now finally here you go - they are sorry so everything is alright. Bringing previously disadvantaged kids to the sport is a different topic altogether.

If you ask me there is something behind this whole delay because if one delves a little deeper into MCSA history one will see that they weren't merely the unwitting victims of the apartheid regime...

Not trying to get confrontational here but just interested to know more about this. Also interested to know whether the apology was merely posted on the website or if it was made as an official statement.

Is there someone who can shed some light on all this?


Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:09 pm
by guest
Everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:35 pm
by megawat
The MCSA is not a distant, hierarchical body with a secret handshake. It is many of US.

Try saying ME or I for a change instead of ranting about THEY under a pseudonym. The MCSA are currently a bunch of climbers with jobs to uphold so that they can afford their trad racks. If YOU felt so strongly about the issue, why didnt YOU suggest the apology be made earlier/differently/bla bla bla.

NE way, 10 years on people, can we now get on with the task of building a society that is truly past all this bs? The brilliance of the TRC (thanks Tutu you incredible man) was that we could get it out and MOVE ON.

I think an interesting way to make the sport more appealing to a wider range of South Africans is to develop social upliftment initiatives. ESPECIALLY in underpriviledged schools where climbing would offer the perfect opportunity to build self esteem and provide a healthy escape from the crap those kids have to go through. I know MCSA has held a few workshops in Soweto already. R, if ur out there, wanna comment on these?

I'm very keen to work with ANYONE on a project of this kind, and volunteer time and effort.

The black climbing market is very underdeveloped in this country even though there are incredible heroes like Sibusisu Vilane and Ed Feb who could be highly inspirational if positioned in front of the right audiences. Anyone got any ideas on how, when or where one might do this?

I do think MCSA needs to look at attempting to colour up its membership - the new SA is no place to be too pale, especially when you own land.

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:52 am
by kyle
Firstly Megawat, you are the one using a pseudonym and secondly I refer to 'they' as I have resigned from the MCSA for two reasons: Firstly because I feel they are elitist and secondly because of their tardiness in apologising. I can see that you mean well but I cannot beleive that you refer to potential black climbers as a \"market\"... like that will be the only value in attracting black people to climbing. I myself am not blamless in this whole thing and am not actively trying to get black climbers out onto the rock but am keen to get involved in any kind of program that would do this. I do realise people have jobs and other commitments than righting the wrongs of apartheid, I just don't think we should shy away from it by shirking responsibility. I would also like to respond to Marshall's earlier comment that \"anyone is free to go into the mountains.\" - thats like saying anyone is free to fly to the moon if they just get their act together...


Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:13 am
by megawat
2 words - Mark Shuttleworth.

Thats a high horse ur up on Kyle, and its looking a bit frisky. Are you wearing a helmet?

They aren't elitist - after all they let you and me in. And, last time I heard, calling a group of people a market was not derogatory, but then I never keep up with useless PC talk.

My name is Megan as has been identified several times on this site already, as megawat is the knickname I use with all my friends and enemies, and it will do for you. That comment was aimed at guest.

But thats all besides the point - email me on (and anyone else who would be keen to get involved) and lets do something other than talk. Please use the adi only if u plan to be constructive.

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:15 am
by Stu
Kyle, you seem to be taking this quite seriously and that's great, but some of us don't carry that large guilt on our shoulders every day. You are forgetting that the climbing community in South Africa is very small anyway, with other sports like soccer and rugby attracting the youth. With the dangerous nature of our sport, it doesn't attract large crouds anyway (which is a good thing in my opinion) black or white. The last two people (one pink skin and one dark skin) both felt they would't take it up right away and would think about it - it's not for everyone. There was a group of significant climbers that broke away from the MCSA during the eighties including Ed February, these climbers are now back in the MCSA so they can't be doing too much wrong. So is the MCSA forever damned now as turning back time to appologise earlier is impossible.

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:36 am
by kyle
Stu and Megan... point taken. Its easy to get riled up about these things. I guess as a South African one gets defensive of any standpoint they take in these sorts of issues. Each to their own way of doing things and dealing with the inequalities of the past. There is a saying in Madagascar and it goes something like this: \"Let our ideas do the arguing rather than ourselves.\" Even ten years down the line I think that the need for this kind of dialogue is essential for the future of this country no matter how hard it is. I love climbing and one of the main reasons is that I have always maintained that climbers are good socially aware people... which I guess by and large is true. Like you say it takes the effort of everyone and not just the MCSA. The nature and timing of their apology still strikes me as bizzarre but I'll leave it at that. See you on the rock.


Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:07 am
by guest
Everyone has the right to opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:05 pm
by ClimbZA
There is further info on the MCSA apology in the Articles section of Climb ZA.
Keep it tidy :)

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:31 pm
by Stu
Kyle and guest. I think my main problem with the thread was the way it was discussed. So much negativity and beating the MCSA with a stick before knowing what their motives or reasons (if any) for the delay was. This issue should be discussed, and it's good for an organisation like the MCSA. You might not need the MCSA but the fact that we can climb at Rocklands, all the path building meets, etc, etc,. these are things achieved by the club. Guest you amuse me :) Leave your freudian diagnosis' to yourself, as they are way off ;)

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:09 pm
by Tian
Ok ,so how about a new club ? I don't have time for history lessons, to much climbing to be done, to much awesome things to do. Any other youngsters like me out there ?

Moving on

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:57 am
by Justin
Stu I can agree with you, the way this matter is being discussed is in a very negative way. The MCSA has done many things to further climbing and access (among a few).
:idea: We've discussed the bad, how about mentioning all the good that the club has done ? I'll start...
Path builds - The Mine - The Hole - Muizenberg crag.
Access & bolting permission to Rocklands. Can anyone add to the list?

In my opinion the club can only to be changed from within, think about it & let’s move on.


Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:46 pm
by dom
12 years? That's a little late, isn't it? Who knows, maybe that 'heartfelt' apology took 12 years to write, or maybe they just forgot to send the email.

An interesting question to ask would be how many of the people who were involved in the upper echelons of the club back then are still there? And, if so, what were they doing about this during the apartheid era?

I'm sure I'd feel really welcome if I was a black climber and I pitched up at one of the crags at Boven, given the sentiment espoused by some people on this site.


Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:04 pm
by Gadget
Just to add to the discussion: as I understand it the MCSA apology was also in part a reaction to the Greg Child / Outside Mag article that affected perceptions from abroad as well. See: ... ica_1.html.

The timing of the apology was not ideal, but I urge the critics to take a look around in the SA sporting / recreational community to see how many sporting bodies / clubs even made the effort to do something similar (even after 12 years). For the MCSA there seems to be a no-win situation :? :
* Apologise and people like Dom do not believe you and say that it is too late, insincere and by implication done by a bunch of racists (even though the Club has not in any way participated in or supported discriminatory practices in recent years)
* Do not apologise and people say the Club is a bunch of racists from the apartheid era for not making one (even though the Club has not in any way participated in or supported discriminatory practices in recent years)

The MCSA membership is just a reflection of the pre 1994 SA legacy situation when it comes to most of South African outdoor recreational activities whether you talk hiking, climbing, 4x4, sports fishing, etc. Blaming the MCSA give the anti-MCSA's flame fuel and maybe some satisfaction, but ignores the reality. The SA climbing community needs to work together to grow itself into a more representative and very importantly bigger community.

Lastly and more positively I can not describe to you how good it was to hear two climbers on a trad climb calling to each other in Zulu (I think it was Zulu). I sincerely hope that will become more commonplace in my lifetime and that someone will help educate me by producing a translation of “on belay climb when ready” and all the other calls in all official languages.

Reality Check

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 4:38 pm
by Andy Davies
If we want to continue climbing safely at our awesome crags then we need representation. It either the MCSA or a new club. I'd like to see someone start a new club that has the facilities, membership, political clout and funds that the MCSA has. Sure the MCSA made a mistake in the past - but I'm sure many of us as individuals did the same with inaction. And yes the MCSA is percieved to be run by a bunch of old codgers - thats because many of the young climbers have no sense of responsibility or community service.

So if you really love climbing, stop the jibber jabber and get involved - every small bit helps.

MCSA Apologies

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:23 pm
by quirkyclimber_1
The whole forum seems to be getting hotheaded about this topic?

In the apartheid era when the MCSA was prejudice towards those of colour, it was a normal and socially accepted thing (depending on the social group you fitted into)

But still, when the MCSA apologises half of me thinks \"Why?\"

Now DON'T get me wrong, im definately not racist!!! but in that era the government required that this segregation was in place and it was evident all over the country.

The apolgy was a good move on behalf of the MCSA but when last the did those people in society who supported apartheid apologise? (depending on personal experience)

All im saying is that although there are a lot of PDI's who don't/can't climb it isn't like the MCSA were running a boerebond operation!

Everyone wants to believe racism is finished in this country, but it is not, it is still alive and well.... it is only up to us how we deal with it.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:22 pm
by Stu
Let's get real,without the MCSA south african climbing would be in a mess. Like it or not we need the older climbers to run the show. The younger climbers have no sense of responsibilty or teamwork. I include myself in this group, we are selfishly focused on our objectives and projects, and without the various structures that the MCSA offers, let's face it NOTHING would get done.