All we’ve done is shoot Mzansi

2011-04-16 10:53

The so-called Shoot the Boer hate speech trial is increasingly turning ­into the farce it was always going to end up being.

It is a political trial and yet another example of the abuse of the legal system to settle political quarrels or to bolster reputations of ­demagogues and populists on either side of the ­debate.

On the one side is a group whose only political currency is the fear and prejudice of its membership and following.

To maintain its relevance, this group finds itself hard-pressed to find proof that their members face imminent harm from the state or its leading agents.

That is why this group has presented a case that would have been funny had its ignorance not had potentially damaging consequences for the national cohesion project.

What we have seen so far shows that AfriForum has no appreciation nor knowledge of a history they seek to put on trial.

They have, for example, presented as an expert a person who confesses to not understanding the language of a song she seeks to pronounce upon.

For even if AfriForum were to win the case, it would be an empty victory for it would be virtually impossible to enforce that the ditty the AfriForum expert says is “a chant” is not sung.

All that AfriForum has succeeded in doing is to strengthen the hand of those who have no scruples and are ever ready to abuse a proud and ­noble struggle legacy to present themselves as ­defenders of the revolution.

The courts will always be the last place to settle historical hangovers.

The real issue, which is a feeling by a group that it is not part of a new state on the one hand, and a need by another to assert itself after centuries of marginalisation, can be overcome by greater openness and dialogue and not zero-sum court cases.

We know because we have seen dialogue create the nation we are.

The trial, regardless of how it is settled, will ­only serve to open racial wounds and set South Africa backwards by many decades.

No matter who wins, the project of creating a non-racial, united South Africa will be the biggest loser.

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