We need to start healing ourselves.........now!

2013-01-22 20:29

As we enter 19 years as a constitutional democracy these thoughts occupy centre stage in my mind! We're far from the ideal of a rainbow nation. Like the various colours of the rainbow we exist as separate people, the colours touch but don't intersect! I am a lawyer, and I have lived and fought against abuse and since 1994, I thought that this would end. it hasn't! Hence this post.

How can we,19 years later, look our children in the eye when we are complicit in the systematic lowering of educational standards at all levels? That's the pain I am reading  issuing from Marikana and De Doorns and I will wager the pain will not go away. How can we look at the families of 34 miners in the eye or those fighting for their human dignity at De Doorns?

As Dr Mamphela Ramphele said 'How can we live with our consciences when we have lowered our expectations of our children’s ability to succeed to the extent that we can acquiesce to such low standards of performance?'

Are we, as citizens, not all guilty of undermining the future of our children, especially those abandoned in mismanaged schools and subjected to incompetent teachers and indifferent parents? Are we as citizens not co responsible for the level of unemployment and poverty that is adding to the unendurable pain? I make no accusations but these are questions that I must ask! We were able as a collective to put an end to apartheid but once that was done we, like suggested in the Dinokeng Scenario, seem to walk apart instead of the ideal of walking together!

We need to heal ourselves. Period. And that healing must include a process where personal pain, experiences, humiliations, despair of being on the wrong side of white. This is where the TRC process abysmally failed our people! And so we live out the pain through violent scenarios like Marikana and De Doorns! The health system is in a mess.Our education system is dysfunctional. We have problems that we grumble about but do little else. We need to start the third wave for liberation as a collective.

Remember Solomon Mahlangu? Read about this freedom fighter for whom education was central to his freedom struggle. Could we confidently look Solomon Mahlangu in the eye and tell him that we “love our people” and are good stewards of the freedom he fought and died for? I doubt it. I am truly ashamed that we let government get away with sub standard service delivery and yet we will elect them again and again!

Incredibly we acquiesce in our government celebrating mediocrity. We're so gobsmacked that we feel helpless when public officials, those whom we elect in local,provincial and national government  do their own thing, like about to shut down McCord Hospital at a time when our existing Addington Hospital is falling apart at the seems and we have a skills deficit over 14,300 doctors throughout South Africa!

Instead of building and improving our health system, government is contemplating closing down McCord Hospital and is dismembering and rendering Addington Hospital which, I sense will also be shut down!

We are a wounded people who have lost confidence in ourselves and our children’s capacity to excel and build a better future in the competitive global knowledge economy of which we are a part. When young aspirant people wanting to study medicine but are shut out by a vicious quota system skewed in favour of indigenous Africans, I wonder when we will become a truly inclusive nation.

We need to start a healing process and I find the process propagated by Dr Ramphele referred to as the 'Letsema Healing' process has the potential to end the pain that Du Preez recently wrote an op-ed about!

Such a process teaches me that the healing process needs to start with acknowledgement of our personal wounds. Once we have done this we then have to show a willingness to enter into dialogue within and among ourselves as a people, and confront challenges that still prevent the colours of the rainbow from merging and in this process believing in ourselves and our ability to excel.

Mamphela Ramphele postulates that  we have capacity to excel  and this would enable us to reassert ourselves as our own agents of development at the personal, professional and political levels.

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