How did the “Rainbow Nation” get to this point? How did this downward spiral pick up such momentum that not only are we headed toward the ways of Zimbabwe, we are gladly embracing the destination? Did this happen because as a people we have relinquished our responsibilities to politicians?
All nations have a point where something drastic happens, so drastic that it shapes the future for years to come. In 1985, the “Crossing the Rubicon” finger-wagging rant did the “Ou Krokodil” in, domestically and internationally. It solidified the will of the people and nations to take a stand and intensify economic sanctions.
The trek to Dakar and the last non-inclusive referendum turned the corners that were holding this nation of ours back, set us on a positive and promising future. This culminated in our first democratic elections, they made history.
Many nations are challenged by integrity and the ability to hold politicians to account. I am not bashing this party or that? I want accountability? Is this too much to ask for? I want the people who hold powerful political office to be as squeaky clean as you can get. This is not asking for much. I want them to acknowledge that they are in that office because I continue to pay my taxes. I want them to not shove crap down my throat or with impunity because it does not matter anyway and they will never be held accountable.
With all this “little” stuff in mind, the “dropping” of the arms deal investigation I believe turns another corner that does not bode well for us now or in the future. This can also be seen in light of the growing language that entrenches racial barriers. These are simple things that whether accepted or not, rubbished or not, do cut at the core of a nation. We still, today, see the after effects of apartheid. These will be with us for many years to come but might be dealt with well if we recognise them for what they are and try to move away from their negativity.
Does this fact alone not require that decency, integrity and sense of right and wrong be our driving force.
This precedence is followed closely by the application to unban the “Shoot the Boer” song. Yes, I know, it was part of the struggle and history. In my humble opinion the healing has to start with the acceptance of each other, acknowledgement that that which we did to hurt, harm and dehumanise each other has to stop and we need to move forward.
So was “necklacing”, setting dogs onto protesting school children, so was the chasing of black kids out of the suburbs as they visited their domestic worker parents, so was telling black children that they were only to be hard labourers, so was teaching white kids that their fellow countrymen we of no good/value and thus did not deserve proper education. So was the teaching of the SADF new recruits through conscription that it was OK to do whatever was necessary or inhumane while deployed in the townships.
Why can we not seek to improve the best in us that this nation has and aspire to the highest levels of harmony, decency, openness, frank conversations and the human spirit?
Does this mean we are beginning to undo that which should stay part of history? Is this the beginning of settling scores?
Certain things are best accepted and left as part of history. History will do them justice.
We are better than this.