Thought for the Day 7 August 2017
I remember well, the lead up to the 1994 first democratic elections in South Africa. Nelson Mandela had been released and he and his leaders, with the cooperation and support of F.W de Klerk’s government, had created an unrivaled feeling of optimism in the country. The slogan “The Rainbow Nation’ had embraced the idea of a multi-racial, multi-cultural environment, which would harness the synergies of all people working together to a set of common goals, which had been clearly spelt out:
- Equal opportunity for all.
- Equal access to education, employment, medical services, housing, electricity and water resources, policing and justice and all other necessities of life.
- A significant narrowing of the wealth gap between rich and poor.
- A complete absence of bias towards any one race or another, and a society that strove to eradicate the inequalities, prejudices and atrocities of the Apartheid era.
And the dream started well. Throughout Mandela’s tenure as president, South Africa became a model, for the world, of how bad could be turned to good with the wholehearted participation of all.
What a contrast between then and now! All of the optimism has been eroded, the dream dissipated, all the cooperation forgotten as a result of a complete reversal of all Mandela and his colleagues’ commitment to the goals above. Now we have a regime dedicated to corruption and greed, self-serving denialism and a playing of the race card at every opportunity to evade responsibility and deflect criticism for non-delivery. We are hearing more and more accusations of racism. Indicating a backsliding into old attitudes between the races and a polarization towards old habits and prejudices.
How sad and pathetic it all is. The dream is dead. Long live the dream! So my thought for today is:
“Viva the Rainbow Nation, Viva. Let us all refocus on that dream not the one we seem to have now!”
Here’s hoping for a return to Mandela-ism, where we activate the dream of a South Africa, where the whole is far greater than the sum of the diverse, creative, synergistic and exciting parts.