Time to change the racist dialogue

2016-03-02 06:00

RACISM has taken centre stage again in our national discourse.

Our apartheid rulers trained blacks and whites to hate each other through in doctrination and propaganda.

The early democratic order of Nelson Mandela placed nation-building and racial unity at the centre of public policy. Mandela engaged in deliberate actions that gave meaning to those ideals.

He embodied unity, humaneness, forgiveness and reconciliation. These were summed up in the concept of ubuntu, which lay at the heart of what black South Africa taught the world.

While Mandela was busy with all this work, the fascist old order formations such as the AWB, Boeremag, and National Party loyalists were brazenly espousing their racist doctrines, and threatening to overthrow the state. Mandela ignored them, continued to embrace whites, using his charm, humour and compassion to unite people.

Rather than a new law, wouldn’t it be more useful to revive Mandela’s traditions in a national document we can use to answer some of our most pressing questions on race, governance, morality, leadership etc?

Today, the names of Hendrik Verwoerd, Cecil John Rhodes and P.W. Botha get mentioned more frequently than Mandela. This is corrosive.

We need to change this and talk more about the people who gave this country its proudest legacy.


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