Letters to the editor: May 4 to 10

South Africa should take a leaf from Japan’s book on how to heal from a traumatic past. (Richard Atrero de Guzman/NurPhoto0

South Africa should take a leaf from Japan’s book on how to heal from a traumatic past. (Richard Atrero de Guzman/NurPhoto0

Face our history to end racism

The land debate has not only evoked anger and fear from white South Africans, but it has also revealed insensitivity and a lack of understanding as to why land dispossession is the original sin.

Although history is part of the school curriculum, it is limited when it comes to such topics. Moreover, the South African educational system is deeply rooted in colonialism and apartheid, and schools continue to teach an inaccurate and flawed version of our history.

Suppressing the topic of apartheid could be the very reason for the rising racial conflicts in South Africa. We tend to think that raising the topic could divide us.

But I differ.
I think South Africa has a lot to learn from Germany and Japan on how they confronted and healed from their horrible pasts. Although there is sense of discomfort at broaching these difficult histories, this discomfort connects people with reality.

Children at schools in Germany have an opportunity to visit concentration camps to get a sense of how terrible the Holocaust was. And in Japan, young children get to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to learn more about the terrible atomic bombs that killed thousands in 1945 and destroyed the two cities.

After 1994, the main concern in South Africa was to unify the country at the expense of justice, which also compromised learning.

One of the biggest mistakes that the current educational system is making is to spread the false narrative that apartheid ended entirely in 1994.

Yes, a particular form of racial domination ended and political freedom was gained, but racial separation remained. Division in the form of income, outcomes, ownership and racial hierarchies.

Giving Africans access to former white schools gives the impression that segregation was the main cause for apartheid.

No, the reason for integration in the first place is to create an environment where different races could engage on their different experiences and this is a first step towards the eradication of racism.

It was power rather than division that drove apartheid, but integration is still beneficial because it can help to eradicate racism.

Confronting South Africa’s painful history is a sensitive subject, but it is a healing process that we need to undertake to avoid a continuing racial conflict. — Minenhle Mbandlwa


Zim can be the jewel of Africa again

As Zimbabweans prepare to cast their ballots in the upcoming elections, I hope and pray that we understand why we are going to vote and what we are going to be voting for.

Zimbabweans are desperate for change, but should say no to populist leaders. Zimbabweans are done being manipulated by politicians. What Zimbabwe needs is a value-oriented belief system.

We should believe that the country can return to its former status as the jewel of Africa. We need to foster excellence in our children and emphasise that failure is not an option.

After World War II, Japan crumbled. Despite that, Japan became one of the richest nations in the world. It wasn’t just because of the alliance with the United State that it quickly went through a revival. It was because of the inherent work ethic of the Japanese. It was basically a belief system that revived Japan.

Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong went through dramatic changes from the 1950s to become developed nations. Today they are known as the Asian Tigers.

Most importantly, they were fortunate enough to have visionary leaders, who fostered and nurtured a value-oriented system of hard work, discipline, loyalty and respect towards authority figures.

We need our own Zimbabwean dream. We can see how confused our leaders are. They are not sure who to side with to be their development partners. Partnerships are important for economic development. However, in the long term, we should not cry foul when the so-called investors start putting conditions on our resources and meddle in our domestic affairs.

Zimbabwe has enormous potential to become a powerhouse. With a value-oriented belief system, good partnerships and people-oriented development interventions that emphasise regional development and competitive advantage, free markets, trade, work ethics and education, it will definitely rise up again.

Zimbabweans in the diaspora should feel free to come back home to develop the nation. We need to invest heavily in our current tertiary institutions as well as gravitate our call for change towards rural development and emancipation. — Edmund Makowa, Cambodia

Rasool isn’t the new ANC

Tainted, but Rasool’s back with a bang” is another puff piece. Let’s be clear: in South Africa, bribery and corruption scandals involving members of the ANC only get them moved to another position where the salary is paid by the taxpayer. And so Rasool’s prize was to be made ambassador to the United States. It’s an insult to career diplomats to be saddled with such a tainted person.

In a democracy they would be investigated by a real police force and jailed if found guilty.

And it is not true that many coloured voters did not vote ANC. What was pivotal in breaking the trend were the anti-coloured, racist utterances by several ANC so-called leaders, like Jimmy Manyi. Where is the coloured people’s representation in the ANC hierarchy?

Rasool says: “The people want the ANC” but not “the ANC of last year”. Any discerning reader will know Rasool is the ANC of last year, and several before. — Tom Morgan


Our mistake

Thank you for publishing my letter “Winnie: Writer ignores key scholar”. I note that a key line was edited, thus altering what I actually wrote. I did not write “threw in a line on Magoqwana”, as was edited in. I wrote, [Ntombizikhona] Valela “threw in a line on uMakhulu”.

While it is now a minor point, I wish someone had asked before making such a crucial but inaccurate edit. — Dr Nomalanga Mkhize, Grahamstown

The Mail & Guardian regrets the error and apologises to Dr Mkhize

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