Don’t ro­man­ti­cise vi­o­lence – re­ject it

The Sunday Independent - - DISPATCHES -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.