We should learn from our children to unite South Africa

POLOKWANE – “Because we as a country came from a time of apartheid which divided people, we now have our freedom. Therefore, we as South Africans need to act against racism and racial discrimination. That is why I think is it important that national Anti-Racism Week should be embraced by all South Africans, we need to unite as one nation, despite our cultural differences,” says Mavhidula.

According to Mavhidula, too few people are aware of comments they make, both at home and in their work place, that may be perceived as discriminatory. He says people who condemn racism should share their knowledge and help educate others and help them accept fellow South Africans from different cultures.

“Because apartheid created the situation for black people to feel inferior, there are still people who are scared to come out and speak out against injustices like racism. South Africa has a solid constitution that protects the rights and dignity of people, therefore people should not be afraid to speak out against acts of racism,” he continues.

He says there have been many cases brought before the SAHRC which were not necessarily racist. He urges people to engage and get to the root of the problem, and to go to the police if there is a case to be made.

He says for society to take on racism and help to eliminate it, people should engage with each other on a regular basis by participating in workshops and that the SAHRC should not be the only entity that engages with society. Mavhidula believes churches, government and non-profitable organisations should all come to the party to take on racism. He says every culture has elements of racism and racial discrimination. Therefore, he encourages people from all cultures to engage and unite.

“It is important for society to acknowledge the importance of the ideals of freedom, South Africa’s liberation history, its constitution and the different races existing in this country. Public holidays like Human Rights Day on March 21 should be a day for all South Africans,” he says.

“On a day like Human Rights Day for example, it is not a holiday intended for black people only, all South African’s should engage and unite on this day”.

Mavhidula says he believes when today’s generation children take over the leadership of this country, is when racism will be smothered.

“We as adults can learn a lot from our children. They go to school with different cultures, and they don’t see colour. It is us as parents that can take an example from them as they get along. When we as parents come fetch our children from school, why don’t we interact with other parents from other cultures like our children do? Here is a great opportunity for society to meet with other cultures and get to know them. Learn from your children. Organise sleepovers, that way parents will be able to get to know each other and create an ideal platform to unite as South African’s,” Mavhidula urges.

With regard to social media platforms and the recent surge of racist remarks broadcasted on these platforms, Mavhidula says people must take absolute caution to avoid making statements they will later regret.

“Don’t say something that is racist on social media, whether you just don’t care or be unconsciously unware how other people might feel what you have said. The moment you post something racist, the damage is done, so I encourage people to stop and avoid acts of racism all together, and especially on social media platforms,” says Mavhidula.

He says South Africa’s constitutional court provides for laws to protect its citizens from racial discrimination and they should not hesitate to make use of it.

“If you look at other African countries, a lot of them gained their freedom through the barrel of a gun. We as South Africans are very fortunate to have our leaders sit around a table to set up the freedom charter and constitution of this country. There was no bloodshed or civil war, it was done in peace, and people should become more aware of it and appreciate the fact that we enjoy our freedom because of those leaders,” Mavhidula concludes.

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Roelof de Jonge

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