I’ve been in awe of just how much the topic of race has been raised in the media this month, and how each time it has been brought up – how very different it has been in tackling the topic of race – effectively or not in some cases.
The reason for my awe is that I live as part of a generation that is presumed to not care about causes as such, but who are rather ‘self absorbed selfie takers that are only concerned with having a good time’. It gives me great pride to see how important the addressing of race issues is to the young people of Mzansi, and how some are actually taking up arms to raise awareness to an issue that still plagues the South African mindset.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for campaigns such as #RhodesMustFall and I certainly do not agree with the way race relations were addressed in this M&G column because I have a different view on race. I believe that we, as a nation, need to get on board with the idea of equality – true equality where there isn’t a question of skin colour, gender or any other Apartheid-perpetuated racial differentiations that we keep using to classify ourselves under.
If we are truly striving for a free, fair and non-racial [South Africa] society, in line with the mandate that was set forth by our country’s elders in 1994 then why is it that every time we have to discuss race that we use old paradigms, which have been proven to be false and unwarranted? It is a shame too that the bias for which humanitarians like Nelson Mandela fought against is still to this day being promulgated by the leading political party he helped put in power, the ANC.
I understand the redress of racial issues in our country did not end with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because we have a mammoth 40-year legacy of crimes against human beings to discuss, and this will take time to unpack and deal with. I’m the first to admit that there’s no way to truly know how our country needs to address this successfully, and in a way that does not cause more hurt, resentment and ill feelings toward each other. What I’m saying is that I don’t know what the most effective way is to discuss race in SA, but what I do know is that the manner in which we have addressed it isn’t right because it goes against the very values with which our country’s Constitution was laid out.
The following post addresses this notion sufficiently and I think it highlights the need to start seeing people for who they are i.e. human beings above all else. And I agree with the writer in that for us to truly start living in a world without racial prejudice, we, as a society need to start thinking and acting differently towards one another.
And that’s why the Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels” campaign resonated so powerfully with me. It’s a campaign for which I think all South Africans should be exposed to because it encourages people to look at their own implicit bias, and it’s a campaign that I think could really go a long way to addressing race in a more positive way.
When you consider looking ahead to 40 years from now – what is the South Africa of the future going to be like for its citizens? I would like it to be a Mzansi where diversity is embraced and where all citizens are seen as human before anything else.
Watch the #LoveHasNoLabels video: