Don’t romanticise violence – reject it
NO AMOUNT of spin-doctoring and diplomatic immunity justifies any acts of violence within our borders.
We must be very careful and not fall into the trap of becoming a society that romanticises violence. Violence is ugly and barbaric, and no amount of spin-doctoring or the according of diplomatic immunity could ever justify it.
We also need to make it clear to all leaders and countries throughout the world that we reject violence in all its forms.
The recent cases involving former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana and Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe, were bad examples of how ordinary citizens, public representatives and leaders in our society should behave.
In these two cases, even cordial diplomatic relations, good neighbourliness and the profile of the perpetrators should never be used to condone any ugly and barbaric acts of violence.
In both cases involving these high-profile leaders and/or public figures from South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively, it is apparent that physical force was used with the intention to hurt and injure their victims.
It does not matter who is the victim or perpetrator/aggressor, or the colour/pigmentation of the victim or perpetrator, violence is barbaric and should be abhorred by all of us.
There is absolutely no way that we will build a better society in South Africa, southern Africa and the continent if we continue to create an impression that we treat acts of violence in our communities with kid gloves and in some cases appear to be giving special and preferential treatment to those associated with the ruling elite in southern Africa.
Over the years, we have mastered the art of repeating the most tired and usual lines, such as “We distance ourselves from any act of violence” or “We condemn any act of violence” or “We must allow due legal processes to take its course”.
It is tiring! In practice, most of us do the opposite; we consciously and unconsciously glorify and promote violence in many ways.
Furthermore, the amount of graphic violence on our national television, in social media and other platforms is not helpful, as they somehow continue to perpetuate acts of violence in many ways.
I am of the view that if we need the world to take us seriously as a country, we must collectively set very high standards for ourselves and communicate these to the rest of the world, without fear or favour, that all of us in the southern tip of Africa reject and abhor any acts of violence.
It will also not be very helpful if we continue to condemn violence without doing anything practical about moving towards a violence-free society.
One of the practical steps that we could initiate in our communities is to refuse and reject to be led by any community leader, public representative or political party leader who has an endemic history of violence and who is a known associate of criminals and thugs.
Our violent past cannot be used as an excuse for us to aggressively act against any acts of violence, irrespective of the race of the victims and perpetrators; we have no any other option but to embark on a journey towards a violence-free society.
The rank, profile, social status, race or gender of the victims and perpetrators must never be allowed to deter us from moving towards the creation of a normal society, as espoused by the founding father of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko.