An attempt to make sense of our post-apartheid social reality

2015-03-13 10:08

I thought it was important to share the motivation letter below in an attempt to offer the most needed understanding of how people make sense of their post-apartheid social reality. A close reading of this letter might offer some insight into how we can defuse the ticking time bomb that seems to find expression through criminal behaviors, violent protests, and racial tensions that exist in our context.

I have removed the name of the author and institution this was addressed to and also deleted some aspects of the letter.

                       Re: Motivation Letter for the Human Rights Course

Dear ……

I have always been surrounded by the questions of justice not only in my life and nuclear family but also my societal context as a whole. At a very young age, I was aware of the racial skewed-ness of social privileges in apartheid South Africa and the limitations imposed on me by my blackness. This awareness shaped the nature of my dreams and what I was permitted to dream about.

The idea of enjoying fundamental human rights was a far-fetched distance social reality not accessible to my people, particularly in rural communities. One of my unrealistic dreams was to become a white person – not because I wanted the colour of the skin, but because I wanted the privileges associated with being white, and this was a dream shared by many in my community and South Africa as a whole.

This lack of broad choices in terms of what I could become pushed me into a life of delinquency because I had the courage to break the rules in an attempt to achieve a better standard of living or rather enjoy fundamental human rights. Drugs formed part of my daily life in an attempt to escape my undesirable social reality and summoned the most needed courage to survive the harshness of life. Again, this was by no means peculiar to me but was the reality of many who were struggling and still trying to make ends meet. I encountered many young people who were in conflict with the law, into drugs and affected by HIV/AIDS not because they wanted all these things but because the lack of alternatives was the reality of their lives.

The day I was offered an alternative, I transformed my life from a young man of 24 years old with no high school certificate (grade 12) into a man who is now studying towards a Ph.D. Inspired by my experiences and the understanding of everyday people’s struggles to make ends meet, I founded and directed a couple of organisations, one of which is a home to the only Library in the community of over 40,000 people, and this organisation seeks to expose young people to their inherent potential through recreational activities and capacity building.

In a nutshell, my pursuit of knowledge is not centered around selfish ambitions but in the distribution of human rights. I am of the view that anything that stifles one’s ability to give expression to one’s potential is a violation of human rights, as prescribed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I believe that I know all these things for those who are least privileged to know what it is like to be human or live without the constraints of man-made social injustices.

This Human Rights course promises to expand my understanding of human rights for societal development, and this is one of the reasons why I am interested in the course, including the fact that it is connected with my PhD study, which relates to studying the link between transitional justice and social justice in post-apartheid South Africa.

Many thanks for your consideration and time.

Kind regards,

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2010-11-21 18:15

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