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Apart-hate is alive and well

03 February 2013, 10:48

Written a year ago and sadly nothing has changed...

South Africa celebrated its first call to freedom 22 years ago when we - and the rest of the world - heard, almost out of the blue, a historic announcement by then president FW de Klerk.

Although the expectation on the day was to hear news of Nelson Mandela's long-awaited release, the actual news was more shocking even to members of the cabinet at the time, which was only let in on it two days before the announcement itself.

Some of the momentous decisions taken on that day were that the ANC would, along with 30 other political parties, be unbanned. The death penalty was suspended, the state of emergency was lifted, trade unions were allowed to function freely, political prisoners were to be released and restrictions on political exiles lifted.

The crowning achievement for me was that I could also now look forward to, some time in the future, taking part in South Africa's first fully democratic elections, which I proudly did on April 27 1994.

The announcement of Mandela's release took place just nine days later, on February 10 1990. Mandela himself was to remark that "our world has changed overnight".

Finally, apartheid was in the throes of death.

But is apartheid really dead? Or is it only the institutional chains of bondage that had been broken? Are we still caught up in the psychological effects of such a horrendous system that was official policy for only 41 years?

The race to democracy may be over, but the fighting among races is still evident.

Some days I come across articles that "intellectually" debate "small" racial issues that surface daily in society, such as being barred from a club or refused entry into an establishment.

Others tackle issues such as crime, poverty, unemployment, housing and service delivery. Freedom of expression allows the publication of these articles, but reading many different articles on the above one finds one common denominator: racial intolerance.

Granted, there are many who affirm their commitment to building a non-racial society, but there are many more who attack these "optimists" for no apparent reason other than they are still caught up in that race and want to win. It disheartens me to read these comments by people who are too cowardly to identify themselves and choose to remain anonymous.

I acknowledge we still have a long way to go but, surely, the sacrifice and heroism of those who have helped us get here deserves to be honoured.

We should let go of "apart-hate" and each do all we can to positively contribute to be "a part" of the human race.


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