Is it really so that we don’t listen any more? In the aftermath of the Tumi Morake debacle that was one of the main accusations – we don’t listen any more. I don’t know if this is true, all I know is that we have certainly stopped listening to what South Africa herself wants to tell us
Because when a white farmer is murdered in the most gruesome way on his farm, and the media keeps quiet about it – South Africa tells us that something is wrong.
When coloured children on the Cape Flats are murdered and tortured by gangs and the provincial government keeps quiet about it – South Africa tells us that something is wrong.
When an elderly woman is raped and her rapist says: “I did it because she is white” – South Africa tells us that something is wrong.
When an Indian shopkeeper is robbed and stabbed – South Africa tells us that something is wrong.
When a radio broadcaster openly offends a minority group by calling them bullies and gets away with it because she “only said what she felt” – South Africa tells us that something is wrong. How can it ever be right to offend and then justify your refusal to apologise?
And when I look at a man and hate him purely because he is black or white or coloured, not for what he says or does, but for what he was born to be – then South Africa tells us that something is wrong
When we then respond by saying: “No, things are not ideal, but life is much better for many people”, then there must be something terribly wrong with us, because then we don’t listen to South Africa any more.
If a better life for some must come at the cost of blood and humiliation and blame and hatred and racism and prejudice and injustice and crime, then we cannot justify that improvement any more. The cost of believing that South Africa is doing well, is becoming too much now.
It is not me saying this, it is South Africa saying this. Because if we have to destroy each other in this country, then we have to admit that we are on a course of destroying ourselves as well. We have always lived together in this country. I, as a white man, was born here and I love this country above all others. I belong here. And I am more than prepared to admit that so does the black man and woman, the coloured man and woman, the Indian man and woman.
But then we must stand up, white South Africans and black and coloured and Indian and immigrant South Africans and say in Afrikaans and English and isiXhosa and in Zulu and Pedi and Fanagalo: There is something very wrong! When I have to live in fear and suffer humiliation and stereotyping and insult for who I am and what I believe, that cannot be right. Let us take the lessons which we have learned from the past 23 years and go back to the drawing board and start all over again!
We need to figure out a way in which no man in this country has to live by the grace and the rules and the judgements of another. We need to have the right to be who we are, associate with whom we want to and each to call his own little piece of land under this great Southern sun: “Home.”
And for that we cannot look to those career politicians in Parliament with their corrupt attitudes and their fancy old suits and diabolical fake smiles on posters when it becomes election time, only waiting for the time to pass to retire with their pension and their loot. We need to look to ourselves and say: If we are prepared to accept the status quo and to keep on justifying it with empty words, we have to accept that we are not listening to what South Africa tells us – and then there must indeed be something terribly wrong with us. We need to stop saying what is owed to us by the other person, and start asking: What do I owe myself and the people I am part of?
This weekend we celebrate Heritage Day. Is this not the day on which we must now ask: What heritage will we leave behind? Will it be said of us: They were the last South Africans?
If we have to admit the failure of the current dispensation and get rid of the causes of this failure, then that is what we must do. If we have to sit down and redesign South Africa to give each and every man and woman their due, their right, their heritage – then that is what we must do. And if every person in this country have to swallow the humiliation of admitting that we went wrong over the last few years, for our own sakes, then that is what we must do.
If we cannot recognize and admit that some things, too many things, in South Africa are not right, then indeed something must be very wrong with us.
Read the original article by Daniel Lötter on Front Nasionaal SA – blad
South Africa Today – South Africa News