Racial tension building in SA - Jansen

Johannesburg - The underlying racial tension in South Africa is like a volcano waiting to erupt.

That was the message from the rector of the University of the Free State, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, on Friday during the first annual lecture of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation in Johannesburg.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was the keynote speaker.

They both said the vision of a non-racial nation, as set out in the ANC's Freedom Charter, started waning after the victory over apartheid.

Jansen feels South Africa has failed to develop a sustained sense of nationality in the post-Mandela era.

He said racial fault lines are starting to emerge all over the country.

"I worry when I listen to parents and students.

Angry

"We can't simply label incidents like the Skierlik shooting as racism without coming up with solutions." Jansen feels it is especially young, white South Africans who have adopted a policy of anger.

"For a short period during the World Cup (soccer tournament) we were able to build unity. However, it is not our policies but the subtle and non-subtle messages which consistently cause damage.

"Messages such as 'only black people may apply' and 'it's just a matter of time before we take your farms and give them to previously disadvantaged people'. "The time has come to rebuild respect, tolerance and co-operation.

"The main message should be that the battle for development should be about South Africans in general and humanity in particular."

Motlanthe said the dialogue about racism should be encouraged among the youth.

South Africa's "inability" to educate its youth about these ideals has led to, among other things, "the momentum for a non-racial society losing steam".

Archbishop

At the same time an emotional discussion about the damage done to black and white South Africans by the struggle against apartheid was held at the provincial synod of the Anglican Church of South Africa.

This came after Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town expressed his concern about the "inhumane influence" on white South African men in particular, who were ordered to fight for apartheid.

Makgoba opened this discussion by describing the issue as a "unmentionable area we should dare to tackle".

"Many are still wounded from that time and they need to talk about it and find healing," said Makgoba.




 
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