Live and let live this Valen­tine’s Day

CityPress - - Voices -

Love knows no bound­aries, or so the say­ing goes. And in a di­verse coun­try like South Africa, love should be al­lowed to thrive across our dif­fer­ent cul­tures, re­li­gions and be­liefs.

For cen­turies, many young men were en­cour­aged to marry within their com­mu­ni­ties, but even more so to go all out to find that beau­ti­ful one from other ar­eas.

Un­der apartheid South Africa, mixed-race mar­riages were pro­hib­ited, and those who had the courage to marry thus were ban­ished by their com­mu­ni­ties and forced into ex­ile.

Now, 22 years since we at­tained democ­racy, we should of course still em­brace any­one who falls in love within their own race, but do so even more when they are en­am­oured with some­one from an­other race. This could help a coun­try like ours on its path to­wards so­cial co­he­sion, es­pe­cially where mat­ters of race con­tinue to di­vide us.

When the Mvezo chief, Nelson Man­dela’s grand­son Mandla, con­verts to Is­lam and mar­ries his sweet­heart, Rabia Clarke, we should all be happy. But not South Africans – so many were quick to draw the cul­ture and tra­di­tion line in dis­ap­prov­ing of the love­birds’ union.

What so­ci­ety are we build­ing for the next gen­er­a­tion when we preach one na­tion but are quick to vent our anger when a tra­di­tional leader fol­lows his heart and mar­ries the per­son he wants to spend his life with?

We can­not use cul­ture and tra­di­tion to pre­scribe to any­one on mat­ters of the heart; those are de­cided by the in­di­vid­u­als con­cerned.

On this Valen­tine’s Day and dur­ing this month of ro­mance, South Africans should be spread­ing the love in­stead of spew­ing bile at those who have found it.

Cul­ture and tra­di­tions evolve with time. Things have changed, and we can­not be trapped in the old habits of the past. Live and let live.

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