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Rights we neglect

22 March 2014, 20:10

We are a blessed nation in that we do recognise fundamental rights – rights obtained at a great price for some, and rights rightfully bestowed. We have the right to vote, the right to work, the right to water, the right to an education, the right to a fair trial, and the list continues.

I would like to remind the readers that there are some rights that are completely ignored. Rights ignored by many people of all backgrounds and demographics. I hope that we will take up these rights in a more serious light than before:

The right to be responsible: we need to understand that whatever the causes might have been in terms of each person’s predisposition, we have the right to a better future for ourselves as well as our children. We will not be able to build a better future if we continually talk about our great nation in segments, whether political, racial, cultural, etc. We are ALL affected by violence, we are ALL angered by ill-treatment of labourers, we are ALL affected by the utter and blatant disrespect that our leaders (and not just the current ruling party) have for the ordinary citizen, we are ALL angered by corruption and maladministration, we are ALL angered by greed of companies, and many more.

We have the right to protect our environment and not to destroy this beautiful country by urinating and defecating everywhere where we deem it fit to do so, or by littering all over, or through vanity just need to have the latest cell-phone or piece of technology thereby leading to an increase in eWaste.

We have the right to expect the best of each other when it comes to race or culture. We are equals and should be treated as such. By this I mean that white people (and I am one) should not continue to talk down to others, but to believe the best of each person.  On the other hand don’t always think of white as being racist or rich or having only benefited from Apartheid. It is through changing our expectations of each other that we will be able to see and experience the human opposite us that has thus far been hidden by our prejudices.

We have the right to think for ourselves and question what we see or hear through the plethora of mass-media options. We have the right to question the validity of what is ‘offered’ to us on the television, in newspapers, social media tools.

We have the right to stop demanding things, but rather to be proactive and work towards understanding circumstances. Don’t always just believe the unions – ask to see the financial statements of the organisation you work for and see if you can come up with a means to ensure sustainability for all, benefiting the organisation as a whole. Owners of companies, don’t be greedy but work towards an environment that is focused on community development and enriching people.

We have the right to adhere to traffic rules, especially to ensure we make use of safety belts, indicators and NOT to hoot when it is not in an emergency situation.

Above all, we have the right to become responsible and mature citizens!

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