Rainbow nation was a pipe dream

2018-07-22 10:10
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I still remember my days at kindergarten very well. It was a time when one did not even know there were differences between white and black people. As children, we chanted “mukhuwa” delightedly whenever we saw a white person passing by. The word ‘mukhuwa’ in my native language simply means a white person. I never saw someone of my opposite skin tone as a form of animal or any other unknown creature. Neither did I equate the person to one.

Fast-forward to growing up, I started hearing black people calling white people “pink pigs”. Somehow I started comparing which name-calling is better between a pink pig and a baboon. I realised I was wasting my energy by doing a comparison of something which is not worth it. The cases of Vicki Momberg and Penny Sparrow are still too traumatic to remember as well. On the other side, I have hardly read any story of a convicted black person being involved in racial slurs. After all, we are all equal before the law.

These racial slurs are escalating every day on social media and it will take more than an effort to halt them. The insulting words being uttered there are just shameless and uncalled for. This should not be hard for you to find if you visit Facebook pages on the commentary section of eNCA, Eyewitness News, News24 or any other media houses. Such acts are being done by adults who know very well the meaning of morality and therefore set a bad example to a younger generation that is active on social media.

I always hear politicians giving praises of how Nelson Mandela was a father of “rainbow nation”. I honestly think the global icon tried his best to unite South Africans. The question still remains: What are politicians doing today to show any efforts of bringing people together? I forgot that they are still struggling to unite their own organisations because of political power and the benefits it comes with. So how can they possibly unite a nation that is in serious crisis?

As for congregations, this is the last place where one would hope to find racial divisions. My uncle has constantly invited me to his church in Centurion. I could not help but notice that both black and white people attended different sermons. As I was waiting for the session to begin, white people came out of their own session and there I was hoping to see the children of God greeting one another. My hopes never materialised. It was as if someone was saying: “Mind your own business and I will mind mine.” It was astounding to watch and I then realised that South Africa has reached a point of no return.

All of these made me conclude that having a rainbow nation was just a pipe dream. I feel happy for those who are trying their level best to get along and feel sad for those with so much hatred. As people celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 100 centenary programmes, with big or small events taking place this year, a deeper reflection still has to be made.

- Liphadzi is a communications graduate

Read more on:    racism  |  democracy

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