When you fight for you rights… it’s called standing up for yourself, when you don’t, you become a victim.
By: Jabulani Zwane
The world we live in has very little sympathy for victims, but when you fight for other people’s rights having yours to lost in the process that is courageous. This is not to be confused for absence of fear. South Africa has a strong account of such a history. I would like to provoke our consideration to one such account of many non-blacks in this country who sacrificed in the most courageous way, their own rights and comforts for the sake of others. The fight for Freedom was not a one sided affair lest history accuse us of being hypocritical for being selective when recalling it. My specific target for this article is “us” as “black people” of South Africa. I would like to humbly impress upon us, to strongly consider that criticism of the ANC government is NOT racist or anti-African or counter revolutionary, etc. Many of these same critics, especially non-blacks, with specific emphasis on whites, risked their lives by criticising and exposing the apartheid government to the world. This may not be what some sectors in our country like to hear, but there were many whites, Indians and coloureds who fought against SA’s apartheid government.
This is one of the missing narratives that leaves many people in SA vulnerable to political, psycho-social manipulation and racial polarisation. More especially given the poor record of accurately narrating SA’s history, pre and post-colonial eras. Allow me to point to white people specifically in South Africa, those who were part of the struggle, had nothing to gain except perhaps to preserve their moral dignity, in spite of insults from and rejection by their “own” people and government. Hopefully this next statement does not in anyway at all, play light of role of our struggle heroes, but it needs to be said I believe. White participants in the liberation struggle was just as costly but with a different cost. When many non-white struggle heroes were hailed and songs sung about them, our white counterparts were ostracised by their families and their own communities. There are no songs about them and definitely no celebration of their lives. Sadly, this remains true even today. I am currently writing an article on this missing narrative in the hope of understanding our history as South Africans, it wasn’t just one political party or one people group that brought us here. There are many unknown faceless heroes who were part of bringing an end to apartheid. “Ek sê maar net”, we should stop looking at the surname or colour of the skin or political affiliation or listen to accents even, before we determine legitimacy of the criticism.
All of us need to objectively recall that honorable Nelson Mandela was represented by white lawyers. Some of us need to take note that some black people were taken to school by white people with no obligation to do so. Just because, for majority of us our experience was different, does not make it any less true that are countless accounts of whites submitted to their moral conscience than appease and enable the status quo. This continues to be true even today. I am emphasising this because I really believe that the impact of racial polarisation needs to be curbed because clearly it exists in abundance currently.
Most South Africans want a South Africa that functions to the best of its capacity and abilities, morally, socially, economically, politically and spiritually. My views are strongly influenced by the fact that this what I experience daily, South Africans from all walks of life wanting a better country and relations for all. There are of course many who take exception to this, but they are outnumbered, hence they are louder. I am well aware that of course we all experience South Africa uniquely differently depending on which side of the spectrum we are. We all have different ideas how a functioning mutually beneficial country can be formed, however, difference of opinion should not take away from the common objective. We should rather continue to be relentless in seeking ways to achieve our objectives. And one of those ways I believe is an accurate account of narrating our history in order for us to empowered for the future. And here is my closing thought. My dear South Africans, NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST. Criticism of corruption is not exclusive to a particular people group or sell outs, it is an exclusive human concern.
NOT ALL who criticise the current government are anti-ANC or anti- Black government or supportive of the white supremacist agenda. Facts are facts, South African can be better than it is currently. Our government needs to be strongly urged to account more to South Africa beyond political speeches. The good job that the government has done should NOT be a free pass for all the corruption and non-delivery we see daily. To their credit, there has been a lot of admissions to this effect by government in recent times, and that is encouraging. We just want a better life for all of us, all races. Let us arise out of a blind defense of our “race” but rather continue to remain loyal to our humanity, all of us, the human race of South Africa.
South Africa Arise!
Jabulani Zwane is a Pastor at Greater Grace Ministry South Africa, where he ministers in both Pretoria Arcadia and in Nellmapius township as well as assisting in Mozambique. The ministry is affiliated with Greater Grace World Outreach. Having been a pastor since 2008, he also teaches Theology at Greater Grace Bible College in association with Maryland Bible College and Seminary in the USA.
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