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Fault lies with leaders who refuse to champion change

By unknown | Oct 27, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE fault with South Africa's politics does not lie in white people not changing but in black people who seem unable to master change to inaugurate the new and a higher morality for a free society.

THE fault with South Africa's politics does not lie in white people not changing but in black people who seem unable to master change to inaugurate the new and a higher morality for a free society.

Politics here does not only mean the periodic ritual of going into elections to vote people in and out of power. Real politics mean being aware that power can either oppress or liberate.

The liberator that you love and defend with your life today is not beyond becoming a monster of your tomorrow to deny you everything dear to you and leave you with no semblance of dignity.

Missing this dual nature of power is the reason behind ordinary people losing faith in politics and seeing it as a dirty game that people with good intentionsdare not play.

The reason why people reach such an upsetting conclusion about politics is when all else they see and hear done in their good name is simply reduced to business as usual.

While the face of government keeps changing, new-found power simply fails to touch and lift their lives in a manner that produces, out of them, real men, women and children that live in a society where their worth is not a textbook promise of a constitution, but the lived experienced of true and common humanity. Clearly, the story of the powerless does not end with their coming into power but what they do with it.

To this end liberators are not expected to draw their inspiration from the oppressors that came before them as though monkeys are only capable of doing what they have seen before.

It should be remembered that Steve Biko did not only direct his accusing finger at white society, but had an equally caustic tongue for silly blacks in our midst. The wrongs committed by white people where brutally dealt with as much when emanating from black ranks.

Change demands lion-hearted courage capable of unchaining both beneficiary and victim from mutual abuse of their ridiculous past.

If history teaches us anything at all, the University of Free Sate has shameful and brutal lessons for us. While the sins of children need not be visited on their parents, there are signs galore that little or no work has happened in the white community in the direction of helping most of its members to know what living, working and learning in a changed society entails.

While UFS rector Jonathan Jansen might not be held responsible for the debasing experience t the four white students meted out to elderly black folks, his response to the episode has certainly seen him walking into a punch like a stage-dazed, careless boxer and he should not be surprised to emerge out of the ring with a bloodied nose.

Those showering Jansen with praise for the act, instead of extending wise counsel for his imprudence, are simply confusing reconciliation with the sheepish act of endlessly turning the other cheek. And there is a point beyond which pain must not be tolerated. Otherwise, our democracy will only be notorious for incentives and no reputation for punishment to decisively deal with wrongdoers and the wayward in our midst.

While all sympathy should go to the victims, Biko's words forever ring true: "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."

For adults to kow-tow to their scripted debasement to the delight of students immortalising their shame into a video should not be mind-boggling.

The fault lies not in our skins, that super and inferior complexes have survived into the new order, but in leaders with no sense of occasion to champion change.


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