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Fight for human rights still very much alive in SA today

"We must make human rights tangible and meaningful" (Sowetan, Opinion and Analysis, March 27) refers.

When Derek Hanekom begins his column with obvious platitude such as "it is the way we treat each other as we go about our lives that tells us about the type of society we are building" the youth of this country expected him to give them meaningful and tangible advice on how to respect and uphold human rights in relation with the status quo. However, after reading the column I came to a conclusion that its another recycle of apartheid events with omissions of post- apartheid facts.

Let me say, right up front, that I didn't expect Hanekom to tell us anything new. Nor, did I expect him to discuss some examples of white people's reaction and sentiments in the events of racial murders in the post-apartheid era.

"And in moving towards non-racialism, we are talking about more than we are fighting the scourge of racism that still continues to raise its ugly head" he argues. But he fails to attach evidence to his point.

Swartruggens racist murder and Skierlik massacre would have made a good point of reference. On New Year's day seven years ago, we woke up to allegations of a racially motivated murder of farm worker David Mohaule at the hands of farmer Willem Rocha at Swartruggens. That black mark on the North West landscape was also the site of Skierlik horror, which happened on January 14, in 2008.

As a white person, Mr Hanekom, these stories will bear testimony of your input when you say that "we all carry the responsibility to advance and protect our hard fought for right-based democracy". But you decided to dwell on Sharpville massacre and overlooked Skierlik massacre. This is sheer unbalanced facts.

I, however, agree with Hanekom when he writes "The rights that we take for granted today came at immense cost to those patriots who confronted the brutal apartheid regime, which disregarded the basic human and rights of black South Africans."

Spot on, but are you aware that some whites are still ill-treating blacks? It is for this reason that some human rights are taken for granted by whites irrespective of past evil deeds.

Would the above-mentioned examples have demystified what is "tangible" and "meaningful" to human rights month ?

Please next time come with new examples for old stories and this will make our youth to take you seriously.

Mr Hanekom, as Chairperson of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation I leave you with Kathy's wise words "the hardest thing to open is a closed mind".

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