Bridging the divide

2014-08-18 15:11

Bridging the divide

South Africans are in the midst of a lot of political turmoil. The country has faced numerous challenges in the past year.

First and foremost there was the whole issue of Nkandla. Secondly the strike in the mining sector didn’t help to build the morale of the country. People were and still are immensely negative. This poses significant challenges.

Studies in political science has shown that people’s values, attitudes and opinions are shaped according to the environment they find themselves in. We are constantly in contact with other people.

We all belong to certain groups like a family, a church group, schools etc. It is in our daily dealings with other people, and within these groups, that we become who we are. None of us are immune to outside influences. Of course as rational beings we have choices. That’s what separates us from other mammals. However we have to take into account the fact that we are human. Being human makes us vulnerable. That is exactly where the problem lies.

A lot of us get swept up in emotion, rather than reason. It is in the heat of the moment that we say and even do things, which are anything but rational. This can be the downfall of man. It can be the downfall of a country. As South Africans, building our oh so vulnerable democracy, we have to be wary of this. Of course there’s nothing wrong with criticism or challenging popular belief.

However we have to stand up and take responsibility. We have to be responsible for the things we say and do. We shape eachother’s thoughts and minds. If we remain negative, everything will stay negative. This is our chance to develop a voice of change and healing. Amidst all the negativity, there is still one huge positive. We can make a difference. We don’t have to succumb to negativity. We still have a choice to be positive. Like Viktor Frankl once said, we can choose how we are going to handle difficult circumstances.

Yes South Africa has quite a few problems. Yes we do face significant challenges. Yes crime, poverty, corruption and service delivery are not what it should be. However it all starts with you and me. Instead of becoming despondent and spreading a flavour of negativity, we can contribute towards healing our country by the words we utter. We are our country. We influence eachother whether we like it or not. We have to embrace our differences and face up to the reality of our challenges by standing up for what is right. Yet we should take a firm stand against all that is negative. That includes not only corruption, poverty, crime and all that goes with it, but also uttering thoughts and ideas that cause division in our society.

Voices which are divisive, are not to the benefit of our democracy. Let’s take a stand and unite in this. We have a choice. Let’s heal, let’s unite, let’s bridge the divide!

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