Let’s not only unite in Her­itage Month

Sowetan - - Opinion -

I be­lieve that racism is a moral catas­tro­phe and it should be re­jected with the con­tempt it de­serves. I must also ad­mit that it is al­ways a good ex­pe­ri­ence to see a united South Africa dur­ing Her­itage Month (Septem­ber).

I see peo­ple em­brac­ing one an­other, wear­ing tra­di­tional at­tires and shar­ing their tra­di­tional meals.

In his first month of of­fice, for­mer pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela pro­claimed: “Each of us is as in­ti­mately at­tached to the soil of this beau­ti­ful coun­try as are the fa­mous jacaranda trees of Pre­to­ria and the mi­mosa trees of the bushveld a rain­bow na­tion at peace with it­self and the world.”

The mis­take we mostly make is to em­brace one an­other only dur­ing the cam­paigns aimed at fos­ter­ing so­cial co­he­sion. Soon af­ter that, we go back to our usual ways of dis­crim­i­na­tion based on race, cul­ture or eth­nic­ity.

Why don’t we com­pletely stop hurl­ing in­sults and ridi­cul­ing one an­other sim­ply be­cause we are of dif­fer­ent races or speak dif­fer­ent lan­guages?

Our dif­fer­ent races, cul­tures, lan­guages and tra­di­tions com­bine to beau­tify our coun­try just like flow­ers with dif­fer­ent colours in the gar­den.

So­cial co­he­sion is very im­por­tant as it helps us to em­brace and ac­knowl­edge each oth­ers’ ex­is­tence and makes us re­alise that we need each other for sur­vival. No race or lan­guage is su­pe­rior to the other, so we must bear in mind that although we do things dif­fer­ently, we are all hu­man first.

Racial and cul­tural in­tol­er­ance will surely take us back­wards. Let us all learn to be like crayons: although they are of dif­fer­ent colours, they have learned to live to­gether peace­fully in the same box. Happy Her­itage Month.

Mal­phia Hon­wane, Got­ten­burg eManyeleti

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