Time we all saw past people's race

FILE PICTURE: A worker passes hundreds of South African flags lining routes in and out of Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport.
FILE PICTURE: A worker passes hundreds of South African flags lining routes in and out of Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport.
Image: Halden Krog © The Times

At the height of his cricketing powers as a Proteas player, retired cricketer Jonty Rhodes was said to be the most famous sportsman in South Africa.

Someone put that to former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey, who was an active player at the time. Tovey retorted, "let me and Jonty go to Soweto and see who'll be recognised".

Tovey knew he would win hands down in the soccer-mad township.

My experience with South Africans is that if you allow them to see themselves as human beings, they won't judge you by the colour of your skin.

Football has taught us that. Music, too, has contributed greatly to social cohesion. People who exploited our musicians aside, at performance level, our bands have been a rainbow nation for as long as I can remember.

As a nation, we need to deal with people who are stoking fires of hatred. I was reading a tweet from someone black encouraging black people to take up arms and attack whites.

He was rightly dismissed, mainly by black people, as a blood-thirsty lunatic. Many people have dismissed racist whites who politicise crime as ethnic cleansing. Many South Africans, black and white, are mature people.

There are many white people who have done great service to the country. We have people such as Clive Barker, Harold Volbrecht, Rodney Berman, Costa Gazi, Johnny Clegg, Bram Fischer, Ruth First, Joe Slovo and many others who have dedicated their lives to serving humanity across racial lines.

People who judge themselves by colour first will never take this country forward. I hope one day we'll have South Africans who see themselves as South Africans first.

I hope to see a country without racism and tribalism. It's very doable.

Richardson Mzaidume

Pimville

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