Sound Minds in a Season of Emotion

2016-01-23 20:04

As we grapple with the residues of our dark ugly past exhumed recently by the likes of Justin van Vuuren and Penny Sparrow, we also have to maintain composure to accept that, at the very personal level race relations in this country has dramatically improved. We are evolving and let us continue to evolve, working across racial lines to materialise a nation that is spirit lifting for all of us.

The two major opposition political parties responded well to the national dialogue on race that was unfortunately forced to us by ugly racists. As for the ANC it could have done better. Instead it has been content in using the issue to play politics. The ANC has been stretching the racism issue to ludicrous levels. Instead of cautioning for calm it has been stoking fires in all angles.

Take for example; the past week the ANC was denouncing a DA member of parliament about her attendance of Paul Kruger event. What contradictions! The ANC has been honouring and commemorating Paul Kruger.  Just last year it has erected a circular superb security fence around the stature of Paul Kruger that lies at the heart of Pretoria. The security fence is very expensive.

And during the height of #RhodesMustFall it ensured a police vehicle is parked nearby the stature of Paul Kruger all day, day in and day out. And had a police man on beat patrolling the stature of Paul Kruger ensuring that it is safe and secure, that the stature should not be taken down. All these they have been doing in respect and honour of Paul Kruger. They made sure that while other statures fall, Paul Kruger does not fall. There was no stature that was honoured in the way Paul Kruger's stature was.

I am nothing short of astonished that they attack other people doing the same thing they do, honouring Paul Kruger. Consistency is as important. How can you ever be true to your word if your actions are constantly inconsistent and contradictory? Inconsistency causes people to believe you have an alternative motive. In the old wisdom of Machiavelli, in The Prince: those who profit from bad situations are more likely to be most desperate. The problem with such desperation is that it is enormously short sighted.

But the two major political oppositions were up to the challenge. The EFF President wrote an article showing the reasons why there is still racism in our midst: “We will not uproot the attitude of white supremacy unless we deal with the black condition, because white supremacy is founded on the black condition, which maintains and reproduces it. To ask whites to view black people as human is an impossible request from their structural point of view. If you were in their position you would be the same, because it is impossible to look at Gugulethu or Alexandra and see a human image. What you see is not different to how rats live; congested areas where people live with their dirt in absolute proximity. Each day we ask white people not to tell us that this is the case and they are shocked. We say to them: "Do not tell us that we live like rats and in absolute proximity to dirt." Each time we say it is racist, they do not understand how naming facts could be a bad thing".

So according to the EFF, there is a need, urgent need to change the economic conditions of Black people. According to them racism is a symptom of a deeper pathology; the poor economic conditions of many South Africans in townships is too bad, and need to be changed.

Similarly Mmusi Maimane, leader of the DA used the opportunity to drive his political party to new heights of tackling and uprooting the demon of racism: "Racial injustice is real and we need to redress it. We cannot wish it away by pretending to be colour-blind. I will not tolerate racism in the party I lead. This is why I will soon be introducing an anti-racism pledge that every new and returning member will be required to sign when they join the party. Members found to be in clear violation of the pledge will have their party membership immediately revoked, no questions asked. Today, I challenge all political parties from all sides of the spectrum to do the same. Let us send out a message that racism has no place in our politics".

True leaders excel in the way they respond to a major adversity. Great leaders separate themselves from the pack of pretenders when they are tested by crises.The bottom line is to remind political actors of their duty to campaign robustly with the moral duty in mind to calm tempers and not pour paraffin on dimming flames.

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