15 + 6 questions for Piet Croucamp


15 + 6 questions for Piet Croucamp

The professor of politics at North-West University is a renowned political analyst, a Vrye Weekblad contributing editor and a well-known face and voice on television and radio. LAUREEN ROSSOUW asked the questions.


1. Describe yourself in a #hashtag.


2. What do you read first every morning?

My zoon politikon daughter in Hong Kong's WhatsApp messages.

There are several media apps on my phone. I read online media from 6am to 8am then go for breakfast at a coffee shop, where I read and write mostly for academic purposes. It's my work and life.

3. What international publications do you read??

The New Yorker. And The New York Times, because once you subscribe it's almost impossible to get rid of it.

4. What can't you live without?

Actually just my children. If it wasn't for them, I was pretty much ready for the hereafter. But without my house full of books and my Land-Rover Defender, life would have been less of an adventure.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

5. What do you listen to when you're alone?

Just the silence. The radio in my car is only on for podcasts by the likes of Stephen Fry, David Deutsch and Sam Harris.

6. Do you believe in marriage?

Yes, I wish I was happily married. I always wanted to raise my children in a happy family.

7. Can you cook?

No. Food and eating disorders have a tremendously destructive effect on millions of people's lives. I treat food like a drug; use it only as needed. My kitchen has been a musty and unused room for years.

8. What is your favourite food?

Pap and kaiings, with one sweetener. I very often drive from Johannesburg at 4.30am on Saturdays to Pretoria's farmers' market for pap and kaiings. The trip costs me R440 for the Land-Rover's diesel and R80 for the pap and kaiings. The total is R520; worth every cent. The disparaging comments from the hot dog-eating Land Cruiser owners at the farmers' market don't faze me.

9. What do you find sexy?

A woman without make-up with little baggage, a strong personality and 15 years of proven experience on the bench.

10. What is your guilty pleasure?

As a non-believer I have a morbid fixation with American religious programmes. I can watch them for hours.

11. Who is your celebrity crush?

Stephen Fry. I want to be his best friend so badly.

12. What quality do you respect most in another man?

Compassionate parenting.

13. And in a woman?

Intelligent self-confidence.

14. What are you a sucker for?

Sweet little nothings.

15. What is your favourite place on earth?

All the major cities of the world: New York, Moscow, London, Istanbul, Berlin, Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro. I am a city slicker with my ass in the city and my heart on the farm. But there is no landscape like the Namib desert; bury me there.

16. If you could choose again, would you do the same?

Yes, because what could be better than getting paid pretty well monthly to be curious and read and write.

17. If you could give any book to a politician to read, who would you give it to and what would it be?

Vladimir Putin. I suspect he plays Call of Duty on his Xbox all night and doesn't read anything, but let's try.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Set during World War 1, the novel is a poignant and disturbing portrayal of the brutality and senselessness of war. Through the experiences of a group of young German soldiers, the physical and psychological toll of war on individuals and societies is scrutinised. It serves as a reminder of the human cost of conflict and the tragic consequences of political decisions that lead to war.

18. If you could choose any three people to enjoy dinner with, living or deceased, who would you choose?

  • Albert Einstein
  • Jesus of Nazareth
  • Stephen Fry

If Jesus doesn't pitch (his track record when it comes to that is not good), I just hope Einstein and Fry can make it. The Oxford physicist David Deutsch is on the waiting list. Gotta say, I'm tempted to invite my late mom, just to show her her son didn't turn out too bad. She would have had some tough questions for Jesus of Nazareth.

19. The highlight of your life (besides the birth of your children)?

My wedding day. Someone considered spending her whole life with me for a fleeting moment. Okay, she changed her mind six years later, but my wedding to an incredibly intelligent and interesting person was more unreal than anything else I've ever accomplished.

20. What do you fear?

I do not know loss and I have no experience of loneliness. But so many people I know are consumed by them that I harbour a healthy fear of both experiences.

21. What are you looking forward to?

The day when I no longer have unfounded worries about my children. I hear they never go away, but still naively hope.

♦ VWB ♦

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Go to the bottom of this page to share your opinion. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speech Bubbles

To comment on this article, register (it's fast and free) or log in.

First read Vrye Weekblad's Comment Policy before commenting.