An opportunity for Afrikaners to have a Mandela moment

2019-03-06 05:00
President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address, in the South African Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (Photo by Rodger BOSCH / AFP)

President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address, in the South African Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (Photo by Rodger BOSCH / AFP)

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Local and indigenous knowledge refers to the understandings, skills and philosophies developed by individuals and societies, with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings.

For indigenous peoples, local knowledge informs decision-making about fundamental aspects of day to day life. This is exactly what this bill is doing, a first attempt and a milestone.

A person gathers a lot of indigenous knowledge in politics and in this Parliament especially if you are around for quite a time. Surely this will be my last appearance in this fifth Parliament after many years of service.

I represented South African voters in a few political groupings over three decades. That has given me unique insight into very different political agendas, but I can say with conviction that across the political spectrum South Africans have a passionate love for their country and an unshakeable belief that we are a winning nation. My indigenous knowledge is telling me that.

The time has truly come for the next round of liberation in South Africa. Firstly, the majority of South Africans must move from poverty and exclusion from economic transformation. Secondly for my fellow white South Africans, especially the Afrikaners who are a truly indigenous minority, must embrace South Africa without reservation and play a more collective role with fellow South Africans.

A vital election is approaching and the indigenous people of South Africa must all make a decision.

All of us, and I mean all of us, have brought this nation this far, it only needs a "shoulder-to-the-wheel" attitude. We need to return to the Mandela era, my indigenous knowledge tells me and I plead with my community to consider giving at least one of their votes to President Ramaphosa and the programme for a truly better South Africa.  

He is the man of the moment. It's not a fashion statement. It is because he has the capabilities to deliver us from failure, and capture something truly worthwhile – a better tomorrow.

In Latin they say, "Sic transit gloria mundi" – So passes the glory of life. Let's choose to face tomorrow. But for that we have to face the sun. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan; "South Africa's best days are yet ahead."

That can only be if President Ramaphosa is returned strong enough to resist the forces of populism. Let us, the Afrikaner minority, grasp this moment to realise it and break free to support him. That gesture will be the Afrikaners' Mandela moment.

- Koornhof is an ANC Member of Parliament. This was the speech he gave in the National Assembly on Tuesday, 5 March during a debate on the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Bill.

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