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Race Matters, Because we make it matter...

02 May 2014, 11:43

I could sense from an early age that South Africa is a special country, different than any other. In a way I think it is safe to admit to ourselves that we are making history (and have been doing so the past 20 years) as a young vibrant democracy.

We are all way too aware of the political, social and economic challenges us as the new generation is and will be facing. We are overwhelmed by the screams of pain of our parents and their parents during the brutalities of Apartheid. We are choking on the blood of our parents and their parents. We are bruised by the undeniable sufferings of the children of yesterday. We are tired.

Our ideas are formed and shaped carefully by the stories we were told as children and them we grow up reinforcing those realities. We are playing tennis with a soccer ball! Deuces, right? We tried to put a bandage on a gunshot and we are bleeding out.

So here’s the truth – race matters, because we make it matter! . This is something we should admit to ourselves as South Africans. We love the drama when it comes to race. We use this as our go-to-line to excuse any wrongdoings. The Apartheid government and her beneficiaries remain silent on the pain experienced by black South Africans. No apologies. Afraid that by apologizing, other South Africans would judge and nullify their achievements in the post-Apartheid era- maybe with good reason?

Since 1994 we have adopted new tag lines: “nation building “and “social cohesion”. For it is counter revolutionary when we speak out “Nation Building” and “Social Inclusivity” when we have no clue what these would mean for South Africa. We don’t even know what the questions are we should be asking. We are tired.

What does it mean to be white, what does it mean to be black? And then what does it mean to be South African. We need to wake up and realise we are not going down the right path. Sweeping our problems under the carpet and politely smiling as if nothing is wrong will not help our country. We are not doing what we are supposed to be doing. We are not living up to the expectations of our forefathers. We have might fail if we don’t call a donkey a donkey – and think a palace is fit for a king if we are living in a democracy.

There are so many things going our way. Many “wins”. But yet, we cannot celebrate the “wins”. Why? Because we can be proud of this young vibrant democracy if our neighbours are going to bed hungry! It starts with this consciousness, with a value system that will NOT accommodate theft, corruption and LIES. We are tired.

We are dawning on a new era. A new social order…a bright future. We need to make changes. We need to consider our actions, not for our generation…but for those to come. For if our forefathers had our attitude, we would not be free today, we can’t afford to be tired!

Nugent Lewis

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