LETTER OF THE DAY - South Africa's long walk to racial freedom continues

Published: Friday | December 13, 2013 Comments 0


For all his time, free and leading the fight against evil apartheid, and most of his time in incarceration, Nelson Mandela was labelled a "terrorist" by Western governments. That they refused to impose sanctions or trade embargos on what they now call the 'evil' told which side of the struggle they were on. Why is this so?

No one can take anything from the greatness of Mandela's spirit and resolve for freedom and justice. But it is my humble and respectful view that his release from prison was not the last step in the long journey for equality for South Africans. The evidence is clear.

More than 85 per cent of the arable land and wealth in South Africa is owned and controlled by less than eight per cent of the population - the descendants of the architects of apartheid.

Life for many in Soweto and other slums still reeks of deprivation and wretchedness. In short, the shift of political power to blacks has not loosened the grip the minority whites have on the lifeline of South Africa's wealth and economy. In essence, political independence did not disturb the racially slanted economic system. So great was the price for peace.

But this situation is not far removed from that which confronted Zimbabwe even 10 years after independence. Mugabe, initially a freedom fighter turned president, became a 'despot' to the West when he attempted to redistribute land to landless Zimbabweans, with gut-wrenching economic sanctions against ordinary Zimbabweans for continuing to re-elect him to office.

Notwithstanding that, it was Britain and the United States of America that broke their treaty obligation to pay white landowners for lands taken for redistribution.

South Africa's 'long journey' to full freedom and justice will not end until economic and social inequality are addressed. The struggle continues, so long as so few own and control the wealth and resources of the country, at the exclusion of so many.

It is not far-fetched to envision that South Africa may have to take the route that Mugabe took in Zimbabwe to address the vexed issue of land ownership. If and when that happens, it will be interesting to see how the world, especially Britain and the United States of America, will respond.

Aluta continua.




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