Avishkar Govender
Avishkar Govender

A humble appeal for peace and national unity

I understand that the people of South Africa, having been denied their God-given rights to be free for more than 400 years, are anxious for the achievement of our aspirations for human development and recognition as people of integrity and capabilities both of which are things that have been denied and ignored by our erstwhile imperial, colonial and apartheid masters.

As such, we must as a united South African people, ask ourselves whether we are committed to the process of nation building and the consolidation of a non-racial democracy, predicated upon the premise of universal franchise and human rights; or whether we are to be caught up in the cycle of failure which has plagued so many post-liberation developing nations the world over.

Tendencies towards parochial ethnic nationalism — that sets citizens against each other — cannot be seen as anything other than the demon of tribalism in another guise. We cannot assume that in a state of separate but equal ethnic sovereignty, that the rights of all the people will be protected and advanced, in the absence of a national framework which provides for people who are members of multiple ethnicities to be able to be represented and protected in all aspects of their lives.

And even under such neo-apartheid arrangements, we cannot begin to assume that the people will not be driven to conflict in and among themselves, on the basis of interpersonal and inter-ethnic differences and indeed on the basis of the very diversity which gives South Africa its vibrant and interesting social tapestry.

It is therefore clear that we cannot regress into a state of ethnic separatism, given that we have struggled for more than a century to overcome this very state of inequality, that has sown the vast socioeconomic divisions within our society at large. However, we cannot be blind to the reality of the multitude of unique and beautiful cultures which are endemic and unique to South Africa, and while we are all encouraged to pursue the expression of our own culture, we must also motivate ourselves and our fellow citizens to explore and learn from each others culture.

Cultural pride cannot be allowed to become the basis upon which we advance a separatist agenda, whether in the interests of advancing the Zulu nation, the Xhosa nation or for that matter the Tamil nation. We cannot allow this because we cannot begin to say that there are no cultural similarities between the various cultures of South Africa, and while, yes, it is clear that all of the cultures in South Africa are to be celebrated in and by themselves, and while, yes, it is clear that all of the traditions, systems and offices of those cultural traditions are to be respected and supported in and by themselves, it is also clear that we as South Africans have begun to build a new national identity and culture, and indeed, have begun to establish new national traditions since our liberation in the early 1990’s.

Therefore, on behalf of the members and the constituency of the Durban Fretus Society, I ask in all humility for the suspension of all secessionist claims being made and which may be made in future by any group in South Africa. We have begun to unite Southern Africa, we have begun to unite the African Union and we thus cannot as a South African nation allow our position of influence and leadership within the region to be undermined by the narrow objects of individual groups within South Africa.

This is not to say that we deny the injustices of the past, or that we are blind to the reality that vast amounts of land are still to be returned to the control of the traditional leaders who have been responsible for the supervision of the use of the land for the benefit of the people for thousands of years, but rather that we can and must engage in a process which gives credence to the system of traditional leadership, both in and by itself and in terms of what constitutes the role to be played by the traditional leaders, within the framework of our cultures, ethncities and diverse identities as the peoples of South Africa.

And as such, the Durban Fretus Society calls for an urgent national summit to be convened under the leadership of the office of the chief justice of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa, to be hosted by the office of the President of the Republic of South Africa, which shall bring together all of the traditional leaders, the ethnic groups, the official and protected language groups, the cultural and religious groups and all other groups which call South Africa home.

Let us continue to build upon the miracle of the rainbow nation, and let us do so peacefully. We cannot take decisions on the basis of expediency, simply because our are own interests are no longer being advanced to the exclusion of other interests, as this is an approach which is bereft of principle and instilled, instead with opportunism. The people of South Africa did not liberate South Africa from apartheid through expediency and opportunism, it was instead our commitment to our principles, which strengthened the legitimacy of our claims, both at home and in exile; and which thus enabled us to achieve the miracle of the rainbow nation in the first instance.

The members of the Durban Fretus Society will do whatever we can in order to ensure the inclusivity, representivity and open participatory nature of this suggested national summit, and calls upon all South Africans to support this suggested national summit in the same manner. We may by birth speak with many voices and in many languages, but we must be able to reassert our common and mutual national interests in a manner which reaffirms our national identity as South Africans, entitled to our God-given liberty.

With kind regards, best wishes and our sincerest prayers for peace

Avishkar Govender
Honourary Consul General
Durban Fretus Society

  • www.durbanfretus.com
    • Larry Goodfella

      It is a futile excercise to preach to the converted.

      The pre-colonial and even pre-apartheid freedom to be ruled under a despotic warlord is not freedom at all. Western democracy, which still eludes all of Africa, even our ‘almost’ democratic South Africa, is the only truly free system on this earth; – and we have only our colonial forbears to thank for that.

    • Blip

      The “right to be free”?

      What,exactly, IS “free”? (Beyond being a fuzzy PC buzzword.)

    • X Cepting

      400 Years? Sorry, I don’t understand how you came to that conclusion. Which unfortunate people are you referring to? The only people consistently oppressed during that time, by all other cultures in what now constitutes South Africa, the Koi San, seem to have been integrated into other races and do not exist as a pure culture or race anymore, more is the pity.

      I agreed with your sentiments with regards to secession up to: “we can and must engage in a process which gives credence to the system of traditional leadership”
      Does this mean you agree with Prince Dyelindaba that we should give credence to his claims of secession and reparation and BMW MX5’s(paid with taxpayer’s money)?

      Surely, this “National Summit” was held before independence in 1994? Did not all parties agree to the constitution? Why do it again because it is not working, or the current generation feel left out of history? Why not rather ask those cultural and political groups who seem to have had a hidden agenda from the start, to account for their actions?

      This “National Summit” will have about as much effect as the one about global warming until we, as a nation, stop blaming the past, learn the lessons from it and realise that with rights comes responsibility. Democracy is not for slaves. You cannot both be loyal and obedient to a king and exercise your free democratic rights. Free the people’s minds through education and the rest will follow.

    • MuAfrika

      Hate and prejudice already above…what can I say!

    • mjs

      Humble appeals do not work on the majority of
      South Africans.Intimidate does.Just look at our role models.They are not humble.?

    • avishkar

      free = Able to act at will; not hampered; not under compulsion or restraint

    • avishkar

      a number of european countries have constitutional monarchies, and their democracies seem to be fine. indeed prince charles earns a few million pounds sterling from his “job” as the duke of cornwall… and the members of the british house of lords are funded in part (altho a small part) by the british taxpayers.

      so why cant we have our monarchs and nobility restored to their rightful place – with no more power and privilege than their peers enjoy in europe?

      i am not sure that the traditional leaders were included in codesa, and since all of them seem to have their chosen political party – maybe they were conned into submission to the “miracle of democracy”

      in any event my views on traditional leaders are clear… either we create the national house of traditional leaders as a 3 house of parliament, alongside the national assembly and the ncop… with the provincial houses being the 2nd house of parliament in each province… and the local houses being the 2nd council in each district/metro municipality…

      or we create a third group of councillors to be made up of the traditional leaders themselves (from the local houses) who will serve alongside the existing councillors, so that we will have the ward, pr and traditional councillors

      the actual problem is that no politician has the basic constituency and automatic support that a traditional leader has, and the process of electing traditional leaders within the groups, is essentially democratic – albeit that regime change usually involves someone dying

    • X Cepting

      Acting without constraint? Then, perhaps, the only truly free society according to you is an anarchy with no laws where one do unto others before they get to do unto you. (Much the situation we are fast starting to become used to). Bit barbarous and defeatist of the intention of a civilised society wouldn’t you say, which is to ensure freedom to progress and develop and add to the store of knowledge by agreeing to abide to a set of rules (the constitution and laws) which limits antisocial behaviour but ensures a civilised society conducive to tolerance of those different from us.

    • Paul Young

      Dear Honourable Consul General ***, your Fretus Society appears to represent and purpetuate all that is good, fair, liberal, free and fluffy for our nation. On these pages you are generally preaching to the converted. Where are you preaching to the masses? These are the South Africans that need to hear your message of hope and freedom. And like I said before you need to tone down your high falluting English so we the people do not need a dictionary or thesaurus to interpret what you are trying to say. If you are serious about your message, get it to the masses, you achieve nothing on this forum.

    • Obzino Latino

      Your dimension is more than correct my brother, and perhaps this is the most progressive piece of work ever in this space. Writers must learn to be positive while of course being critical, not always whinging at every little dot of their pen, otherwise their literacy becomes the community’s worst enemy

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/avishkargovender Avishkar Govender

      p-young… aiesh… i am just 31 and i have spent the last 6 years preaching to the masses in broken english in durbans market/ghetto area… these pages are for record purposes…

      @ xcepting… anarchy is the way, the uncouth and the might… lol :-)

    • avishkar

      @obz…. ahhhh… how i miss living on linton rd… and shopping at the park on lower main rd, outside the spar…

    • X Cepting

      Please do not use Britain as an example of a political system that works, it makes my stomach feel queezy. If you have amassed as much gold as Britain you can afford to have an eccentric (egocentric) government like the British. A nation, who fortunately also provided us with such antidotes to their government as John Cleese and Terry Pratchet. You conveniently also forget that Britain has a majority tribe with one king, at last count Wiki gives South Africa’s various tribes nineteen, that’s right, 19 royalty (same amount as our president’s children ironically). The “national house of traditional leaders” promises exciting entertainment. I would suggest the walls be painted red to save on maintenance costs. The biggest problem with “our” monarchs is that not even the members of a king’s tribe always agree with their claim to royalty. A constitutional monarchy is but a gentle way to bridge the gap between monarchy and democracy in an attempt to bypass anarchy. I agree with you that where these royalty have support it is absolute. So, why not consider a caucus of leaders instead. Then, to be even more progressive, why don’t we give each person a blank voting form and ask them to fill in the name of the person they would like as a representative leader? A 1000 votes gives you a voice in the caucus. Bit too democratic for you? B.T.W. why do we always have to follow Europe in everything?

    • avishkar

      hey, the traditional leaders can be elected or chosen, however the people decide, provided that it is open, free and fair :-)

      and we are just using the euro model for precedence, cos its the only thing that the media in sa respects… euro-precendence…