Patience needed for cohesion: Chikane

2012-07-05 20:49

Johannesburg - Much patience is needed for South Africa to develop social cohesion, Reverend Frank Chikane said in Kliptown, Soweto, on Thursday.

"We need to be ready to listen to each other," he said during a report back from commissions at the national social cohesion summit.

"To build social cohesion and a common nation, a national identity is needed."

Chikane, former director general in the presidency, was reporting back on the commission which dealt with prejudice and discrimination.

He said it was a difficult commission. High levels of sensitivity and humility were needed.

"We need to listen to each other... We must also listen when people speak in strange tongues."

Language a recurring theme

The two-day summit, organised by the department of arts and culture, broke up into five commissions on Thursday. Language was a recurring theme in each commission.

Wits University Professor Yunus Ballim, reporting back from the commission on economic inequalities, said South Africa needed to develop a shared discourse.

"Just to have the ability to greet each other in an African language or say goodbye in an African language."

It was embarrassing that many people could not do that after 18-years of democracy.

Social historian Luli Callinicos said minority groups had done very little to try learn an African language.

Restore ubuntu

"Our own culture is being undermined... We need to restore ubuntu," she said. "Because this is something we can teach the rest of the world. We must be careful not to lose it."

Callinicos was part of the commission on social interaction, co-operation and solidarity. Poverty and inequality added to the lack of social cohesion.

"Cohesion, if you are deprived, is going to be very difficult," she said.

People in most of the commissions also called for a public dialogue and said the development of social cohesion started at a local level and needed to be ongoing.

Former ambassador to France and jazz legend Hugh Masekela's sister Barbara Masekela said the relevance of the Constitution should not be set aside only for when needed but should be used in people's daily lives.

This was part of the commission on national identity and unity.

Constitution questioned

Chikane said delegates questioned the Constitution.

"There were questions about the foundation of our new society in terms of the Constitution," he said.

He said there were good structures and institutions but they were not doing enough to develop social cohesion.

Another commission on special divisions focused on the issue of land.

Leonard Martin, who reported back, said there was an urgent need for a land audit because of the persistent problem of "landlessness".

He said land had caused great tension in South Africa. There was "black aspiration and white fear".

He said the commission urged people to build a unified country.

"Build a South Africa that belongs to all."

Martin said there needed to be robust and honest discussions about South Africa's past.

  • Christelle - 2012-07-05 21:01

    Respectfully, I hear what you say. What concerns me is the constant reference to "landlessness". Should people get the already developed land - in other words - the easy way out. The people who currently own this land, work this soil from absolutely NOTHING into prospering farms. Why have the people not done ANY development with the land they already occupy - illegally in some cases. How many squatter camps does one see with even a flower or a shrub left?

      mlungisi.crush - 2012-07-05 21:17

      Africans please don't run away from the truth! Just go to school to learn not to fight! Those who owns land they deserve it! If you want land there's a lot of land outside there! Let's not use arrogency please! This is SA not Zimbabwe!!

      Christelle - 2012-07-05 21:33

      Mlungisi - the people should go to school to become knowledgable and get a proper education - one of the cornerstones of a healthy society.....(of course that is when the childrens' books aren't being dumped:-()

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-05 21:37

      Those who want land have been sitting on their backsides waiting for “manna” to fall on their laps. The ANC has not helped very much by not educating its Youth to desist from making irresponsible statements and raising unrealisable expectations. This creates jealousy and envy, which is fuelled by the realisation that irresponsible populist talk by narrow~minded politicians does not translate into anything tangible. The failure of the ANC to create an investor friendly environment as opposed to unions holding everyone to ransom means no sustainable job creation. Jealousy and envy results in violent crime by people who just want things for free. Black and white we become victims. We need to vote for change. The ANC wanted political power, but do not know how to govern and put SA first

  • Henk - 2012-07-05 21:08

    I am also without land. Absa owns mine. But on the cohesion part we just need to get rid of the racist ANC?

      Christelle - 2012-07-05 21:35

      LOL Henk. I think most of the banks own most of the land.......:-)

  • sika.ncamane - 2012-07-05 21:14

    After all this has been said and done, what's next? White South Africans should work with Black South Africans on the land issue. Being defensive won't help. Come with alternatives.

      JoeFarmer - 2012-07-05 21:33

      get a BSC Agriculture and you get a farm from the government, easy. or get 400 of your closest uneducated friends and invade a farm and we will see which is more productive in 2 years. - 2012-07-06 10:51

      @joe farmer, gotta love the slogen, 1 degree, 1 farm

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-07-05 21:46

    Until whites are reclassified as equals and not as 2nd class citizens ie reverse apartheid is reversed then the ANC and patience can go take a flying f*ck at the moon !!

      wesleywt - 2012-07-05 22:20

      Unbelievable. Second class citizens sitting in 4x4s.

      Koos - 2012-07-06 02:21

      @wesleywt: it just shows what you can get when you work hard.

  • digger.dighead - 2012-07-05 22:00

    Mlungisi hit it on the head. There is more than enough land for black farmers to occupy. In fact we need more farms to be able to feed our nation and export, so why all this focus on white farms. We will gain nothing from taking from a well run and productive farmer just to give away to a black man to make people happy. This will just drive more of a wedge between us and result in failing economy and food resources. Rather start up new farms with the help and support of experienced white farmers where we can work together and not against each other. Maybe, just maybe we will get to a stage where we will refer to farmers in general and not as black or white farmers. Black South Africans must face the fact the White South Africans have been doing this and much more for many more generations the backs. Long before we ever crossed paths, so yes it would be expected that we are stronger in certain fields of our economy and in general. Blacks should use this fact and learn and grow together and rise to this standard, not look at it negatively and chase those teachers away and bring down the country. Whites on the other hand must except their responsibility and where ever they are given the opportunity should make a difference and pass on as much knowledge as possible. There will always be the haves and have note's and if you want you need to work for it, no matter what color you are.

      Koos - 2012-07-06 02:22

      Around 50 farms are bought by government monthly. Why are they not transfered into some black dude's names?

  • Boos - 2012-07-05 22:03

    Bla...bla...bla...stating the obvious.. bla..bla..bla...lipservice...bla..bla..bla.. Whe oh when will someone find a cure for cANCer ..

      wesleywt - 2012-07-05 22:21


  • bernpm - 2012-07-05 22:05

    "Martin said there needed to be robust and honest discussions about South Africa's past." What about the future. The past in reasonable well documented in books and newspapers of the past. The past cannot be changed, can only be interpreted differently when it suits an agenda. Land...???? As a farmer told me: "you cannot eat land....." The whole story is a red haring. There is enough but it needs to be worked and there seem not enough candidates able and willing to work the land. Farming is risky, requires knowledge of product, climate, agricultural issues, pricing and forecasts of pricing, a little gambling and guts to keep ploughing -at times- against all odds. very few of the land screamers will qualify!!

  • ramohapelwa.berries - 2012-07-06 00:39

    What patience? Nobody listens, even News24 is full of nonsense. They cut my views

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-07-06 01:09

    News24 u SUCK !!!! It is almost impossible to pass comment on your sh*tty site so cheers you peckerwoods,!!

      ramohapelwa.berries - 2012-07-06 07:23

      Gerald, my point exactly. Lost patience with News24. Took my time to comment, what do they do? Throw me a bucket...

  • Koos - 2012-07-06 02:23

    I great everybody in Afrikaans every day.

  • Willem - 2012-07-06 11:40


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