Colonial scars Zipho Makhoba

2016-04-20 06:00

IN each one of us there exists a metaphysical guilt by virtue of us being human beings through which we are duty bound to expose and rectify atrocities perpetrated against certain segments of society.

If we can perceive such atrocities we ought to act on them, for failure to do so implicate us to the same degree as the initial perpetrator(s). This moral obligation is even more compelling when the main perpetrators exonerate themselves from the blame.

There is not even one social ill that does not have a strong and constant relationship with us blacks and we are victims through no fault of our own.

James Baldwin sums it up nicely: “If a society­ permits one part of its citizenry to be menaced or destroyed, then very soon, no one in that society is safe.”

The economic inequalities will perpetually undermine any progress and continue to be primary sponsors of crime, fear and corruption. Again, these economic inequalities are now beginning to breed underdeveloped classes, namely poor class, unemployed class and stealing class.

Even more perturbing is that these “underdeveloped classes” will soon become permanent classes and their common language would be that of violence.

This affirms Adam Smith’s stance, “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of the members are poor and miserable”.

Indeed the minority of this country will forever spend thousands of rands improving the security system in their home, locking their cars at every traffic stop.

By contrast, the menaced majority of blacks will continue fantasising about the privileges of the white minority, ready to snatch at the first opportunity.

Where this snatching is impossible through the application of individual’s ability­ and faculties, alliances are readily formed to deprive and dispossess the seemingly privileged. The moral of the story here is that nobody is safe in this unequal society, it does not matter what skin colour you are or what residential address you have. If we decide to ignore this reality, I will have you know that you do so at our own peril.

Unless, and until we have honest discussions, but most importantly, arrangements around economic inequalities of this country­ we will continue to live in fear and war.

In the same vein, it is worth noting that solutions to South African problems do not lie in the individual or particular organisation(s), but in the prowess of the masses through its collective wisdom.

• Zipho Makhoba, author, political philosopher­, social commentator and research­ consultant, writes on his personal capacity.

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