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Matthew Field
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A revolution of love

11 February 2019, 13:34  - Matthew Field

Oh, how our country cries! Look at how she weeps for her fallen children.

I would address you as "my fellow South Africans," but that has a political tinge to it. It has an air of grandstanding. So I will not do that. I will instead address you as "my fellow human beings".

In the wake of tragedies like last week's shooting at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), it is easy to forget that core fellowship. It is easy to try shatter our nation like glass. It is easy to try hit the main switch on hope and descend into despair.

It is easy to try. You will probably get quite far – but you will never succeed!

No matter how hard we try to divide ourselves – be it through race, class, creed or character – we cannot fully succeed. The human race can never be totally divided. It is our nature as homo sapiens to carry with us a spark. This spark is hope. In the darkness we find ourselves in, that hope will light our way home.

I refer to the wave of violence and protest that has begun to crash onto our campuses. I refer to the protests at Wits and UKZN. I have already referred to one deadly incident. I fear that more are to come.

These dark times come because of promises that acted like sunsets. They shone bright and illuminated our skies, but they all to quickly dipped below the horizon. Now, a whole generation is left in darkness. The sun has set.

Any sane person would wish that they could will the light back into existence. I will not be so bold. I know that no matter how hard I hope it to not be so, this year will likely be one of unrest on our campuses. We can wish that cries for promised free education will be speedily received, but we cannot bank on a wish.

That is why I write to you, students and comrades. I cannot steer fate. I cannot decide what a whole generation will do.

I can only say this: remember the spark.

Remember the spark of humanity that unites us all. This is not a war of alien species. We are one family engaged in an all too familiar argument – but we are still family!

The protestors marching through the streets are human like you. The students who just want to get on with their studies are human. The leadership (be it in government or the universities) are human. The private security – who have used deadly force against our students are human.

In the wake of tragedy, in the wake of injustice, we can choose hate. I understand why you might. But please remember our common humanity.

Also remember that hate only hurts one person: you. It builds and boils. It eats you from the inside. It will add you to the list of casualties of a war that doesn't have to happen.

I call on all actors on the stage of this play to realize who stands in front of them. I call on you to abandon hate. I call on you to embrace love.

Only love can carry us through the dark times ahead – if they do come.

Only love will prevent violence.

Only love will guarantee that our parents get to see us again when the holidays come.

Love your neighbors. Love your enemies.

It is said that revolution is an act of love. Let us then be revolutionaries. 

- Matthew Field is a student at UCT and one of News24's 100 Young Mandelas.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


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