Violence, looting in KZN and Gauteng set back our struggle for non-sexist and non-racist society
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The violence and looting that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last month set back our struggle for a non-sexist and non-racist society.
This is the same struggle that black, white, Indian and coloured women stood up for during their march to the Union Buildings on August 9, 1956.
In his address to the 49th Session of the UN General Assembly in October 1994, former president Nelson Mandela said: “Our watchwords must be justice, peace, reconciliation and nation-building in the pursuit of a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist country. In all we do, we have to ensure the healing of the wounds inflicted on all our people across the great dividing line imposed on our society by centuries of colonialism and apartheid. We must ensure that colour, race and gender become only a God-given gift to each one of us, and not an indelible mark or attribute that accords a special status to any.”
Also during his inaugural State of the Nation Address to Parliament in February 2000, then president Thabo Mbeki called for a national conference against racism. He said: “We are convinced that this important initiative will help move our country faster towards the realisation of the goal contained in our Constitution of the creation of a non-racial society, as well as impact positively on our continuing struggle for a non-sexist society.”
But the deaths of 36 people in Phoenix are a reminder of the fact the road to building a united country is paved with countless hurdles.
On Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele indicated that 30 people who had died succumbed from bullet wounds, while two others were burnt to death. According to Cele, one person was stabbed to death and another was run over by a car. He added that 22 suspects had since been arrested.
It is therefore vital that as a country we ensure that we obtain answers as to what the motive was for senselessly killing 30 people. We need the police to ensure that justice is served.
While we wait for the investigations to shed some light on the deaths, we should also guard against those who continuously perpetuate violence and sow division in our communities.
More importantly, all political parties should unite against the scourge of racism.