Recognise the humanity in all

2013-05-20 00:00

I WRITE in response to the article under the headline “Do you fit the crime profile”, written by Dr Sifso T. Matshali. It filled me with a great measure of sadness, but, at the same time, a measure of hope.

Sadness, because of the boorish behaviour of whoever it was who treated Dr Mtshali in such a dreadful manner. It filled me with disgust.

Hope, because of the dignity displayed by Dr Mtshali in the face of such an affront to him as a human being.

Allow me to give some context to my remarks. Firstly, I don’t know Dr Mtshali and have never met him. But his measured response and wise words inspire confidence and respect. And I was at the hospital for which he is responsible, last night. I shall return to this.

Two weeks ago, a young woman who once worked for me was raped near Ulundi in the most brutal fashion. She has a one-year-old child who has a serious heart defect. When she appealed to me for help, I happened to be with the premier in Pietermaritzburg. When I related the story to him and appealed for help, he immediately appointed a very high-level task team, which performed miracles.

The young woman was seen to professionally at Nkonjeni Hospital and given even more professional care at Ngwelezane. The brute responsible was arrested and is in the Ncome Prison. The colour of his skin is irrelevant.

Her child was referred to the hospital under Dr Mtshali’s care for specialised treatment. I took her there last night, after 9 pm, and received the most courteous and professional treatment.

Perhaps my skin colour does have relevance here, I am white. What was noticeable though, was that some of the cleaning staff were clearly amazed — with pride — about a white man escorting a young woman and her child, and yes, although it matters not, they are both black.

If only we as South Africans could rid ourselves of racism and recognise the humanity of all fellow citizens. The solution to all our problems lies in the demeanour of individuals.

I salute Dr Mtshali and advise the individual who treated him so crassly to learn the Bill of Rights by heart.

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