I’m ashamed to say it but the events that have gripped South Africa during the last couple of weeks have made me re-evaluate whether I have a place in this "rainbow nation". The images of unity, togetherness and ubuntu which are associated with the concept of a “rainbow nation" have been bitterly betrayed. This betrayal and the barbaric nature in which its people have behaved have shaken the very foundations of my patriotism and I am sure it has affected the majority of the population which could only stand by and watch.
I was born towards the end of the apartheid era and I only observed the tensions in the mid 90's with a mindset of a 10 year old, so growing up as an adolescent and now adult in the New South Africa I never thought I would witness scenes which were reminiscent of a time in history which symbolized the perversion of law and morality. Scenes which we would assume to be from another war torn African country or on the silver screen. Looting, plundering, murder, necklacing, victimization, intimidation, unrest etc were all things which South Africans thought they had left behind the minute Mr Mandela voted in the 1994 election and a divided nation became a united nation. How wrong were we?
We complain about crime, inefficient government, rising price of fuel, and a myriad of social and economic issues but what we witnessed over the past two weeks or so should alert us to the extent of moral degeneration adn immorality that is present in this country and in the world. How low does a society and community have to go to condone and in some cases cheer and celebrate as a fellow human being is burnt alive. What kind of societal moral compass allows a group of people to drag a man out of his house beat him and then set him on fire just because he is not of the same nation and ethnicity? How does someone look upon a man suffering such a gruesome fate and still have a clear conscience and have the nerve to call each other "comrades"! This is disgusting and perversion of morality and everything that God (No matter which God you pray to) has ordained and ordered us to do.
Barbaric Acts such as these are a clear indication that as mush as we progress and evolve scientifically we are De-Evolving at and unprecedented rate. When the mob rules and fear can cause such a situation something is wrong. The Acts that we have witnessed in this madness will go predominantly unpunished............blame the legal system.........and we have no guarantee that it will no flare up again. The crisis has apparently subsided and some of the communities who expelled the foreigners are asking them back, in my opinion the only reason for this is that the looted goods are finished and there is no supply due to the shops which were owned by foreigners being burnt.
Then I think to myself, is this an environment which I can proudly call home? Is it a country which I can bring a child in to? Have I been fooling myself into thinking that this country is a light in the darkness of the world? Because we have certainly descended into darkness. People will say that no matter where you go violence will always find you, this is true but not to the extent that we are facing now. It hurts me to consider this but its only human.
We are already a one party state, with government competence at an all time low (The Health MEC is a glaring example) and whispers that we are going the way of Zimbabwe....will this ever happen? You would have been mistaken to believe that South Africans learnt a lesson about tolerance of other people after being subjugated under Apartheid.....maybe they missed that lesson.
My Patriotism has developed cracks and hopefully they can be smoothed over because there is positives in this country as people have come together to help the displaced and speak out against the atrocities. The Black Lawyers association has called for government to enact legislation which makes xenophobia a crime against humanity and all concepts associated with it considered hate speech, I applaud this but is it too little too late? Has the damage already been done?
God Save us from ourselves.....
Shadows and Dust
The Lone Writer