‘South Africans must find each other, reconcile or risk plunging country into civil war’

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Former Director of Media and Communications at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Ambassador Mdu Lembede says South Africans ought to find each other and reconcile or risk plunging the country into a civil war.

He has dismissed the demeaning and racist utterances by Belinda Magor as not representing the views of white people and urged South Africans not to waste time on individuals that don’t want to see the country move forward.

After almost three decades of freedom, South Africa is still struggling to rebuild and unify a nation scarred by racial divisions.

In 2020, black EFF members were attacked by mostly white parents of learners at a school in Brackenfell in the Western Cape, while on their way to protest alleged racism following a private matric party reportedly attended by only white Grade 12 pupils.

In the same year at Senekal in the Free State, farmers stormed the local police station and a courthouse baying for the blood of a black suspect accused of killing farm manager, Brendin Horner.

And a week later, there was a tense stand-off in the town when the EFF marshalled its supporters to march against farmers.

Again, this week South Africans expressed their disgust and anger after Belinda Magor’s racist rant defending the banning of pit bulls.

But the former Head of Media and Communications at the TRC Ambassador Lembede urged South Africans not to waste their energy on bigots who don’t want to see the country united.

“There are more than 50 million South Africans, the utterances of one person should not determine the direction that we take as a people. So if one white person says bad things about black people, we should not take it as if all whites are fighting all black or if a black gets on stage and say bad things about white people, then we throw our hands in the air and say we have gone back to pre-1994. No that’s not true. We have to move forward we can’t afford to be cut back by bigots.”

He says should South Africans fail to reconcile, the country could descend into civil unrest – something that future generations will never forgive them for.

Lembede continues, “We don’t have a luxury as South Africans to keep on debating on whether we should or should not find each and reconcile as a nation otherwise future generations will not forgive us. The children of our children will spit on our graves for letting them down if we fail now because if we don’t reconcile as South Africans, there is a greater possibility of a civil war in this country.”

Although seething with anger over Magor’s utterances, Azapo president Nelvis Qekema says in fact, she was just honest about how she was socialised with black people.

Qekema says “In Azapo, we are not shocked at all. We were expecting that, in fact, it is not happening because we were saying this institutionalised racism is there. In fact, the racist is honest. She is saying what exactly she represents that’s her socialisation at 60. She is still who she was even before she was born.”

Party of Black Consciousness leader Steven Bantu Biko said “the country’s long-term reconciliation project will never be realised as long as black people continue to be treated as objects of ridicule.”

Qekama says the current constitutional democracy has allowed the treatment of black people as lesser human beings. He claims there is no reconciliation in the country.

“There is no reconciliation in SA. It was never, it’s not even near us there that is why we get in SA black people are forced to eat their human waste by a white racist. We are thrown into lion dens to be eaten and devoured by lions, we are forced into coffins by racists. This is a reflection of this constitutional democracy. We are treated as stepchildren of God in this society even our leaders are doing everything to appease whiteness and look down upon blackness.”

Meanwhile, on the 16th of December, South Africa will again mark National Reconciliation Day and all eyes will be on President Cyril Ramaphosa, as he again presents the country’s national reconciliation scorecard.

VIDEO | AZAPO pickets outside a house believed to be that of Belinda Magor: