Indians across the country won’t flee SA

2013-06-02 14:00

The hurtful and hateful opinion piece by Phumlani Mfeka titled “Are we strangers in a strange land?” refers.

I’m in two minds about whether the above-mentioned piece constitutes hate speech and if City Press should be held accountable for publishing it.

As a believer in freedom of expression, I’m loathe to censor opinions, regardless of how alarming they are.

I’m inclined to think that Mr Mfeka should be allowed his writing space and I should be allowed to be insulted.

Well, it’s a moot point. It’s out there now, rightly or wrongly. And so the question became whether to write this letter or not.

On the one hand, ought I to treat the piece as so contemptuous as to not warrant a response or, on the other, should I, as part of a healing process of sorts, reach out to Mr Mfeka and present a different Indian to the one, regrettably, he has in his mind?

Mr Mfeka, I have evidently decided on the latter.

I have not decided this because I want to trumpet the many South African Indians like Monty Naicker and Amina Cachalia who made immeasurable sacrifices for the realisation of this democratic state.

I have not decided this because I lived without a father as a child when the then government forced him into exile because of his political activities.

I have not decided this because my lawyer uncle defended Steve Biko’s family in his murder trial.

I have not decided this for any reasons that lie in the past.

I write this letter, Mr Mfeka, because I want you to know that I, and so many other South Africa Indians, believe in this South African project today. And we will not be deterred by you.

Yes, there are some members of my race who flout the law, who are corrupt, who are opportunistic and who are racist.

Indeed, you would surely agree that these reprehensible types exist among all race groups, even your own – perhaps closer than you think.

But there are many more of us, Mr Mfeka, who believe deeply in South Africa, who have no intention of leaving our home for a foreign land, who work to make this a better country, a better democracy, every day.

We do this in municipal buildings, in government hospitals, at NGOs, in schools and in job-creating businesses across South Africa.

I must, and I do, believe that you are in the minority in your racist beliefs.

Yes, Mr Mfeka, this is an African country. And I am an African. And you are an African.

And there it is.

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