Maimane meeting: We don't know why we're here, say some black audience members

2016-01-19 12:02
DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

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Johannesburg - While Mmusi Maimane made a call on all racists to not vote for his party on Tuesday, five people in the front row of the auditorium at the Apartheid Museum said they were not even sure why they were there.

Lucky Black said he and his colleagues were picked up by members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Johannesburg CBD and asked to attend the briefing.

"They just told us that we should come to an important speech, but we weren't told why or what it was about," he told News24.

Another one of the men, Sipho Mkhize, said he was also asked to join, but that he did enjoy Maimane's speech.

Mkhize and his four colleagues were part of a mixed audience at the debate on racism at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

The leader of the DA said South Africans had to ask some tough questions.

"I stand proud in a country that is no longer the skunk of the world," he said.

He said that lessons should be learned from the history of South Africa in order for the country to move forward, and that there was no denying that white superiority was a reality.

"I cannot be free while our people are still in chains. We remain bound together by our shared history.

"Apartheid may be history, but racism that was nurtured continues to this day. Racism demeans us. All of us. Black and white. It opens the wounds of its victims. It robs us of the dignity that so many fought for."

Find common ground

He said that Mandela had urged people to look past their differences and find common ground.

"At first our relationship flourished, but when the honeymoon ended we found that we hardly knew each other," Maimane said.

"Two decades into a new democracy and it feels as if we are drifting apart again. We as black South Africans are still made to feel inferior because of the colour of our skin."

He said black South Africans were entitled to ask difficult questions and that blacks and whites should readdress the current situation of the country.

"If the government has failed us, then we should say so as well."

If you are racist, don’t vote DA

He also said he knew the majority of white people did not think like Penny Sparrow and many had played their part in trying to achieve a non-racial country.

"I still believe that most people in our country, black and white, feel a sense of shared destiny and want this imperfect union to succeed. Yet, we are talking past each other and not listening and this causes the meaning to get lost in translation. We need to find each other again and recognise what we saw in each other all those years ago."

He said there was no place in the DA for anyone who believed that the colour of their skin made them superior to others.

"If you are thinking of voting for DA and you are racist, please don't vote for us."

Read more on:    mmusi maimane  |  johannesburg  |  racism

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