Stop dishing out praises

IN RESPONSE to Tamsanqa Mlilo's letter of October 5 I wish to add this caveat: Our country is facing serious economic problems that should preoccupy the national agenda as well as our focus as free individuals.

The glorification and deification of one person does nothing to advance that agenda. Our past is fraught with decisions that have brought misery and civil strife to all of us.

Nelson Mandela has made valuable contributions to the cause of our liberation. But he is just as fallible as all of us.

As a sign of the maturation of our shaky democracy we should assess the implications and direct effects of the decision to halt everything and pursue reconciliation as he urged us, albeit metaphorically, to "throw your weapons to the sea" at a time when only the battlefield had changed, not the essence of what we had been struggling for - complete freedom and justice.

The Codesa process was too ambitious but short-sighted. We are now facing resistance and outright rejection of the social transformation that was to ensue after we had forgiven one another.

We put the cart before the horse and we wonder why the cart won't take us to our destination. This is only one example of the issues confronting us - issues that need to be discussed honestly and openly

The time for dishing out accolades is over. The struggle for a just society beckons and should be at the forefront of every item that is on the list of "things to do".

Mzimkhulu Nyeka, US