The entertaining Robert Suresh Roberts

The Sunday Times has an expose on a colourful figure, Robert Suresh Roberts.  Roberts is a pretty controversial figure, pretty much wherever he goes.  He was born in London, raised in Trinidad, trained in the UK and New York and living here in South Africa since around 1994.  In that time he has pursued a number of public officials for what he believes to be racism, objectionable politics and anything else he isn’t too keen on.

He sued the Sunday Times for defamation after it published an article highlighting his aspects of his career and public behaviour in 2004.  The article has been reproduced here and makes for pretty entertaining reading.  The Cape High Court dismissed his action last week after finding that Roberts was a bad witness, many of his complaints were of his own creation and that he was described as "obsessive", "arrogant", "evasive" and "argumentative".  The Court’s judgment is available in full for download.

Roberts was in New York when the judgment was handed down.  He didn’t waste any time declaring his intention to appeal the decision on his return from New York.  Although the judgment didn’t make new law, it reinforced the media’s entitlement to comment on the behaviour of public and controversial figures like Roberts and has been applauded by groups including academics and the South African National Editors’ Forum.

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Paul

Enthusiast, writer, strategist, web developer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

6 Comments

  1. I don’t know Suresh Roberts, and frankly I don’t have much interest in his career highs or lows.

    But through your article, you seem to revel in taking a dig and insulting this guy. This is sad. It’s almost as pathetic and lame as the arguments of those individuals (and the media) who believe they are authorized to ridicule and make racist remarks at others.

    Far too many similar minded people think that every time people like Suresh, et al, open their mouths, they are making mountains out of a molehills; they are full of hot air, or simply political opportunists.

    The problem is that today the media (and others) spend their time focusing on all the wrong issues and targeting all the wrong people. No wonder they applaud this judgment. This is jam for them.

    Anyone who thinks the media is “entitled” to comment indiscriminately or insensitively against whom they wish is simply hallucinating. This is utter rubbish.

    Far too many individuals and psuedo intellectuals today hide behind verbosity and catachreses while masquerading as ethical, noble and moral uprights. But in truth, these individuals are spineless and unserviceable. Words like valiant and courageous are foreign to these persons. They are the useful idiots in societies everywhere.

    Those individuals, who demonstrate sincerity and character in what they do in attempts to expose the social illnesses and racism perpetuated by the media, are almost always scorned. This is unfortunate because they are the individuals who define what it means to be ethical. But the real tragedy is that the fools get all the media attention and airtime. And while the media and pseudo intellectuals continue to disseminate their refuse, the public greedily lap it up.

    Fortunately, society is not totally overrun by the useful idiots.

    Dale Phillip

  2. I don’t know Suresh Roberts, and frankly I don’t have much interest in his career highs or lows.

    But through your article, you seem to revel in taking a dig and insulting this guy. This is sad. It’s almost as pathetic and lame as the arguments of those individuals (and the media) who believe they are authorized to ridicule and make racist remarks at others.

    Far too many similar minded people think that every time people like Suresh, et al, open their mouths, they are making mountains out of a molehills; they are full of hot air, or simply political opportunists.

    The problem is that today the media (and others) spend their time focusing on all the wrong issues and targeting all the wrong people. No wonder they applaud this judgment. This is jam for them.

    Anyone who thinks the media is “entitled” to comment indiscriminately or insensitively against whom they wish is simply hallucinating. This is utter rubbish.

    Far too many individuals and psuedo intellectuals today hide behind verbosity and catachreses while masquerading as ethical, noble and moral uprights. But in truth, these individuals are spineless and unserviceable. Words like valiant and courageous are foreign to these persons. They are the useful idiots in societies everywhere.

    Those individuals, who demonstrate sincerity and character in what they do in attempts to expose the social illnesses and racism perpetuated by the media, are almost always scorned. This is unfortunate because they are the individuals who define what it means to be ethical. But the real tragedy is that the fools get all the media attention and airtime. And while the media and pseudo intellectuals continue to disseminate their refuse, the public greedily lap it up.

    Fortunately, society is not totally overrun by the useful idiots.

    Dale Phillip

  3. I don’t know Suresh Roberts, and frankly I don’t have much interest in his career highs or lows.

    But through your article, you seem to revel in taking a dig and insulting this guy. This is sad. It’s almost as pathetic and lame as the arguments of those individuals (and the media) who believe they are authorized to ridicule and make racist remarks at others.

    Far too many similar minded people think that every time people like Suresh, et al, open their mouths, they are making mountains out of a molehills; they are full of hot air, or simply political opportunists.

    The problem is that today the media (and others) spend their time focusing on all the wrong issues and targeting all the wrong people. No wonder they applaud this judgment. This is jam for them.

    Anyone who thinks the media is “entitled” to comment indiscriminately or insensitively against whom they wish is simply hallucinating. This is utter rubbish.

    Far too many individuals and psuedo intellectuals today hide behind verbosity and catachreses while masquerading as ethical, noble and moral uprights. But in truth, these individuals are spineless and unserviceable. Words like valiant and courageous are foreign to these persons. They are the useful idiots in societies everywhere.

    Those individuals, who demonstrate sincerity and character in what they do in attempts to expose the social illnesses and racism perpetuated by the media, are almost always scorned. This is unfortunate because they are the individuals who define what it means to be ethical. But the real tragedy is that the fools get all the media attention and airtime. And while the media and pseudo intellectuals continue to disseminate their refuse, the public greedily lap it up.

    Fortunately, society is not totally overrun by the useful idiots.

    Dale Phillip

  4. I also think Mr. Roberts is intellectualy condescending and full of himself. It’s a pity because he’s an intelligent man and could use the knowledge that he has to contribute positively in this country’s debate as well as criticise constructively. There is no need for him to attack those who work with him and help him out.

    I read the biography he wrote on Nadine Gordimer and I thought (and still think) that it is really good. His biography on Mbeki however seems to have a lot of loopholes and is inconsistencies.

    Bearing all this in mind I think that the Sunday Times’ report on this gentleman was unbalanced. I don’t think what’s been said is defamatory (as Suresh alleged) but I think his opinion should have been sought before the article was published.

  5. I also think Mr. Roberts is intellectualy condescending and full of himself. It’s a pity because he’s an intelligent man and could use the knowledge that he has to contribute positively in this country’s debate as well as criticise constructively. There is no need for him to attack those who work with him and help him out.

    I read the biography he wrote on Nadine Gordimer and I thought (and still think) that it is really good. His biography on Mbeki however seems to have a lot of loopholes and is inconsistencies.

    Bearing all this in mind I think that the Sunday Times’ report on this gentleman was unbalanced. I don’t think what’s been said is defamatory (as Suresh alleged) but I think his opinion should have been sought before the article was published.

  6. I also think Mr. Roberts is intellectualy condescending and full of himself. It’s a pity because he’s an intelligent man and could use the knowledge that he has to contribute positively in this country’s debate as well as criticise constructively. There is no need for him to attack those who work with him and help him out.

    I read the biography he wrote on Nadine Gordimer and I thought (and still think) that it is really good. His biography on Mbeki however seems to have a lot of loopholes and is inconsistencies.

    Bearing all this in mind I think that the Sunday Times’ report on this gentleman was unbalanced. I don’t think what’s been said is defamatory (as Suresh alleged) but I think his opinion should have been sought before the article was published.

What do you think?

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