Save our Rainbow Nation – Chikane

2011-10-15 08:45

The former director-general in the presidency, Frank Chikane, urged black and white South Africans yesterday to “save the Rainbow Nation” from corrupt leaders.

Delivering the annual Desmond Tutu peace lecture in Cape Town, he said South Africa’s leadership had “corrupted and silenced” everyone.

“I would like to call on all South Africans ... This is a moment of truth, of decision-making.

“Many of our brothers and sisters made enormous sacrifices and I feel like crying about it. People have died for our freedom. We can’t let it be corrupted. We need to save it.”

Chikane, who was the target of an assassination attempt by the apartheid government in 1989, called for a new approach to tackle the political and economic crisis South Africa faced.

“We need a mass participation model that allows all white South Africans, black and white, to participate in this project,” he said to loud applause.

“We must give notice to corrupt and unethical leaders that their time has come to end. They have corrupted everyone and silenced everyone.”

Chikane said while he was heading the presidency, he would be approached by international businesses to “facilitate” tenders.

“An international company once came to me and said we want X and we want to meet the president. We want to say to the president that if we get X we give the party Y.

“I said thanks very much for information, but do you know there is no relationship between X and Y.

“For two years they tried hard and when they realised they could not make progress with me, they found other people to talk to.”

Chikane said there was rising dissatisfaction among young black South Africans feeling excluded from the economy. This was why the youth was becoming radical and supporting ideas such as nationalisation of the mines.

“It makes lots of sense to them because there are no alternatives that are given to them. I would like to say to you don’t blame (ANC Youth League president Julius) Malema. Don’t blame the youth. We must blame ourselves.”

The country had failed the youth, Chikane said.

Many young black people had taken the measurement of success of the new South Africa to mean “the standard of living of whites”.

Whites, meanwhile, felt “aggrieved” because they felt that former president Nelson Mandela had delivered peace, but now they felt as though they were victims. The need to deliver the needs of young black people through projects such as empowerment and affirmative action had become a pain to whites.

Chikane, who was given a standing ovation by his audience at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said the Rainbow Nation of which Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu spoke was beginning to unravel.

“Generally speaking, this miracle, this Rainbow Nation, is an example of something extraordinary, but it is beginning to unravel.”

Whites and blacks going in different directions was a formula for disaster, he said.

Chikane said the country had to retrace its steps, learn from the experience of the past 17 years and develop a lasting solution.

“It can’t be the project of blacks alone. Whites can’t exit this project. Whites must be part of it. If we walk together we will be able to solve the problem.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.