Helen Zille's misunderstanding of "reconciliation"

2015-12-17 18:00

"No Reconciliation with Corruption" is a phrase I heard from Helen Zille on Reconciliation Day  asking people to join #ZumaMustFall picnic.

I must say I was shocked to hear this coming from an influential leader in our society.

Reconciliation is not something the government requires or asks of us to do. It is not a vote a politician asks of us to give nor is it a service provided by government. More, reconciliation is not a request made by President Zuma as an individual to us. Zille can not be using "Reconciliation" as an ultimatum

South Africa would not be where it is today had its majority used "Reconciliation" as an ultimatum against their now government and that of the past.

Let's use her phrase for example "No Reconciliation with Corruption" to contrast with our past.

To date: Apartheid remains the greatest form of Corruption; Institutionalized and systematic as corruption was made legal by an immoral Constitution. It benefited the white minority and they continue to benefit from it today.

What if when black leaders decided to reconcile, the black Majority said "NO, we can't Reconcile with Corruption''?

What if they had said the land, the wealth and all what the settler minority has in their possession was ill gotten CORRUPTLY and we as the black majority can not reconcile without getting it back.

Instead, black people, aware that they are still powerless, without their land, without their economy; with everything still largely controlled by white people, still opted to Reconcile. To blacks reconciliation was not conditional, it was not a tool to use against the white minority.

Reconciliation is not a service, not a vote, not something required from us by a government. Reconciliation is what Desmond Tutu said to be "a deeply personal thing happening between those who acknowledge their unique person-hood and who have it acknowledged by others"

Reconciliation is a consciousness or willingness to forgive others despite the ill gotten riches the other group might have. It is an act of human-hood from a people - its a societal gift to another.

Reconciliation happens outside the political or government arena - it happens between people and leads to a cohesive and united political or government arena.

In fact; using Tutu's definition we can all accurately claim South Africa is far from reconciliation. Though the black majority remains poor because of the systematic effects of an unjust corrupt system that was apartheid, though they are without their land, without their economy, though their families were tortured, though they lost relatives who either disappeared or died, they are willing to forgive and reconcile - they have never sought to seek revenge but instead chose to reconcile. They understand their unique human-hood but have a white minority that still refuses to acknowledge its human-hood, that of privilege.

Helen Zille therefore displays the arrogance of not wanting to reconcile because the settler minority still fails to acknowledge they're the beneficiaries of corruption. Politicians from any political party must be careful of rhethoric that polarize our society.

I occasionally interact with @HelenZille on Twitter, I still want to have tea with uGogo and discuss her viewpoints.

Of course she will say she meant "we can't reconcile with corruption". Yes we can't and we shouldn't. But using this phrase on Reconciliation Day is telling of her misunderstanding of reconciliation: to her it's just a phrase.

Follow me @EsethuHasane

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