Indian, African must be united

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Former deputy minister of Health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has called on Africans and Indians to work together to end the historical racial tension between the two groups.

Madlala-Routledge was answering questions at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she delivered the annual Harold Wolpe lecture.

Wolpe was an SACP student activist and lawyer who defended many liberation struggle heroes including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Lillian Ngoyi and Duma Nokwe.

"We still have tensions between ethnic groups in this country. Reconciliation was not made for only Africans and whites but all groups that had differences as a result of the apartheid system," said Madlala-Routledge.

She said it was important for Indians and Africans to put aside the differences that caused the 1949 riots and look instead to the future of the country.

"The structural inequalities designed and enforced by the Nationalist Party from 1949 to 1994 still haunt us and keeps our communities in the throes of poverty.

"Our understanding and responses to the contestations occurring in our society can be much enhanced if we take time to examine our defining methods and traditions of struggle."

She urged students to gain an understanding of the history of the ANC as a movement and its strong association with the Indian community.

Madlala-Routledge urged women not to allow themselves to become victims of abuse.

"During apartheid our mothers worked together to bring an end to oppression and we should adopt the same strategy. We have a serial killer on the loose in the South Coast and we need women to deal with such evil."

She said the youth should put aside their political differences and ensure that their voices were being heard. Madlala-Routledge said if people felt that the ANC has lost touch with the masses they should use their democratic right to put another party in power.