Freedom: The good and the bad

2015-07-29 06:00



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“HAAI HAMBA WENA, voertsek, jou k****r.”

The year was 1995, I was only five years old, when our white neighbour, Rodney, hurled those words at me.

Our democracy was so new. Adapting to rapid change has always been a challenge for any society.

“Amandla, awethu, Africa mayibuye,” chanted my parents in ANC regalia. Mimicking them was adorable, for family and friends, who would persuade me to raise my fist and shout out words that held so much emotion for every black South African: “Power is ours, Africa be returned to your people.”

I am thankful for my life, I have been fortunate enough to be raised by two liberal minds, each different in their school of thought, but the underlying message was simple: “Be proud that you are black, love your people; you are Africa.”

I look at my siblings, Mamello (22) and Tumo (20), in awe and I am impressed by their “free-ness”, they do the impossible and say the impossible – well, according to me. They do not live in a box where colour defines how we interact socially.

Youth Day is for turning up, Africa is a place they call home and they love everything and everyone in South Africa, Boet!

At the same time, I am disturbed by their lack of inhibitions.

They are not thankful to anybody for their freedom nor do they feel loyal to any political party. Unlike me, they were able to filter and select what they wanted to learn from our parents’ indoctrinations. They vote for whoever makes sense and has the coolest party logo.

So, on behalf of the born-frees, I am thankful that I live in a South Africa where I am a free person and not marginalised because I am black.

I am thankful that I can enjoy the simple pleasures of life like going to the beach or enjoying dinner in a restaurant without fear of being arrested for defiance. I am thankful that today I am an equal member of society. I am thankful to the ANC and all of its members who fought for my freedom.

However, I am not thankful, ANC, for the corruption that is eating away at our state resources. I am not thankful that the black middle-class remains far behind the white middle-class because we are paying for the sins of corrupt officials.

I am saddened by Nkandla, and thus I am not thankful that the tax I pay monthly is misused, while HIV and Aids, poverty and unemployment plague the nation.

I am thankful for five-lane highways, but no thank you, ANC, for those no good e-tolls.

Thank you, ANC, for this freedom of speech X without you, none of this ranting, complaining and public outrage would ever have been possible.

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Amandla, awethu, Africa mayibuye,” chanted my parents in ANC regalia. Mimicking them was adorable, for family and friends, who would persuade me to raise my fist and shout out words that held so much emotion for every black South African . .

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