Ghosts of a sad and wicked past
THE decision by Louis Koen of Hoërskool Grenswag in Rustenburg, North West, to reject a black pupil from participating in hockey trials because of her colour is a devastating reminder of our sad apartheid past.
Rego Modise, a 17-year-old pupil at Wagpos Hoërskool in Brits, was allegedly told in no uncertain terms that the Bokkie Week, of which the hockey trials were part and which were held at Grenswag, was for "white kids only".
Few would miss the tragic irony of this incident. Sport was among the biggest casualties of apartheid.
The "whites only" policy that was inscribed on many public facilities, including schools, toilets and sporting facilities, was responsible for holding back the talents of all South Africans. The losers included whites.
It was precisely because of this "whites only" policy that South Africa was banned from showing off its sporting talents in international competition.
But soon after South Africa became a non-racial democracy with a beautiful Constitution that affirms the rights of all South Africans, we were accepted by the international community.
Consequently, children of Hoërskool Grenswag are now able to participate in all international competitions.
They have the possibility to become global stars. Once South Africa was liberated from apartheid and readmitted to the international community, sport was liberated too. It became the key symbol of reconciliation.
Who will forget President Nelson Mandela's role in promoting the image of rugby, and in turn, using it as a tool of reconciliation?.
It would not be surprising that Koen, like many other white people, regard Mandela as a darling and father of the nation.
But how is it that a section of the white community cynically hold Mandela in high regard, yet openly spit on the values of non-racialism that he stands for and are enshrined in the Constitution?
What is also tragic about the Modise incident is that it happened at a school, an institution whose public duty is to mould a new citizen free of racial prejudices.
Clearly, the struggle against racism continues.