Ramming propagandist history down the throats of citizens?

2015-09-23 06:00

RECENTLY, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa unveiled the bronze statues of a project titled “Long Walk To Freedom” at the National Heritage Monument in Pretoria.

I would like to add my voice on the importance of objectivity, accuracy and a balanced­ narrative in terms of writing and preserving our country’s history for future generations.

Firstly, I agree in principle that our country’s history needs to be recorded in any form. No stone should be left unturned in doing so. This should be done without sweeping under the carpet the contributions of other main actors who fought apartheid.

Liberation was not only brought about by the African National Congress - all people who were oppressed made a significant contribution.

Secondly, if our government is serious about recording our history in an objective and accurate manner, there are prominent South Africans it cannot afford to ignore.

These people include Helen Suzman, who confronted fearlessly and gallantly, leaders of the National Party such as John Vorster, P.W. Botha and Jimmy Kruger. It was Suzman alone who fought for prisoners’ rights to study and for libraries to be made available to them. After winning this battle she donated books to prisons. How can such an important figure in our liberation be ignored? I am only scratching the surface in terms of her contribution to fighting apartheid.

The same applies to Steve Biko, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, King Cetshwayo and Inkosi Bhambatha of the Zondi clan, to mention a few.

South Africa belongs to all its citizens. We salute the ANC for playing its role in fighting apartheid, but this does not mean that the statues of its leaders and activists should be erected every now and then.

If this approach is not revisited, people will conclude that the ruling party is ramming propagandist history down the throats of citizens, instead of writing a balanced and objective history.

THEMBA J. NKOSI

Via email

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