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Romeo D. Matshaba
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The Grey Line between Blacks and Whites

27 January 2014, 07:05

After going through piles and countless piles of comments by South Africans, I found myself not just disappointed, but ashamed at the division that existed among the blacks and whites of our country. Tears came to eye when like a thunder it hit me; that perhaps, the dream that the father of the nation lived, fought and died for was all in vain: his vivid dream of a rainbow nation.   

South Africa, with its complex diversity, richness of character and incomparable natural beauty, is prevented from fulfilling its long awaited destiny of leading Africa to prosperity by two evils: the issue of racism and that of economic attainment. In this article, I shall mostly focus on the latter. We can all yarn, gag and joke at braai’s and tea parties about the new South Africa; but, until soccer stadiums are not just filled with man of color and the blue bulls are not just for the whites. Until there are no more slums, ghettos and squatters depriving our people from their God given right of human dignity. Until there are no more towns like Orania, that only whites can occupy. Racism will continue to act through our hands and speak through our mouths. Until that day, that whites and blacks can stand together and see more than just color, speak more than just language: a united nation, will be a dream that we all wake up to at the harsh cold of the never rising sun.

I like most, thought that racism was a dying phenomena, a vile trend that existed in the older citizens of our community: a nuisance soon to be extinct. However, my research, not with politicians or the media, but with the everyday people of South Africa, quickly altered this idealistic view. It revealed to me that the majority of the people are divided; they do not see themselves as South African’s but as members of a certain race. Forgetting that divided we fall, together we stand. That together we can build a nation of prosperity.

Apartheid has lingered for more than 300 years, but today most of us (a mere 20 years later), consider this word a blasphemy. It was Malcolm X, who gave an example that the white man has plunged a knife nine inches into the black man’s back; it is not progress to remove the knife 6 inches outwards, it is not even progress to remove the knife out completely: progress, is when the wound has healed. Our problem of the day is that we act as if the knife was never there to begin with. Until we can come together as a nation and heal each other’s wounds, wipe each other’s tears and hear each other’s cries the ghosts of apartheid shall forever haunt our children’s children.

It is easier to hate. It is easier to call one a kaffir or a Boer than to embrace him as a brother; to blame, than to put blame on oneself; to look down than to see them as equals. It is much harder to reach the conclusion, like Abraham Lincoln, that “it is self evident that all races are equal.” Still it is easier to hate, so we hate. Nevertheless, the gray line between blacks and whites does exist, at the same time; the rainbow line that unites blacks and whites is more beautiful, more encompassing, more blissful… a line we should all strive to attain.  

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