No jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for acts of vi­o­lence in our coun­try

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - THIS WEEK YOU’RE SAYING ... -

WE must be very care­ful and not fall into the trap of a so­ci­ety that ro­man­ti­cises vi­o­lence. Vi­o­lence is ugly and bar­baric; and no amount of spin-doc­tor­ing can be done to jus­tify it – nei­ther does diplo­matic im­mu­nity 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, are bad ex­am­ples of how or­di­nary cit­i­zens, pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives and lead­ers in our so­ci­ety should be­have.

In these two cases, cor­dial diplo­matic re­la­tions, neigh­bourli­ness and the pro­file of the per­pe­tra­tors must never be used to con­done 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 an in­ten­tion to hurt and in­jure the vic­tims.

It does not mat­ter who the vic­tim or per­pe­tra­tor/ag­gres­sor is 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 bet­ter so­ci­eties 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 who are 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. And the amount of graphic vi­o­lence on our na­tional tele­vi­sion, so­cial me­dia and other plat­forms is not help­ful; it some­how con­tin­ues 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 need to col­lec­tively set very high stan­dards for our­selves and com­mu­ni­cate these stan­dards to the rest of the world with­out fear or favour.

It will also not be very help­ful if we con­tinue to con­demn vi­o­lence with­out do­ing any­thing prac­ti­cal to move to­wards a vi­o­lence-free so­ci­ety.

Some of the prac­ti­cal steps we could ini­ti­ate in our com­mu­ni­ties are to refuse and re­ject to be led by any com­mu­nity lead­ers, pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives and po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers who have an en­demic his­tory of vi­o­lence and are known as­so­ci­ates of crim­i­nals and thugs.

Our vi­o­lent past can­not be used as an ex­cuse for us to fail to ag­gres­sively act against any acts of vi­o­lence.

The rank, pro­file, so­cial sta­tus, race and gen­der of the vic­tims and per­pe­tra­tors must never de­ter us from mov­ing to­wards the cre­ation of a nor­mal so­ci­ety as es­poused by Black Con­scious­ness Move­ment found­ing fa­ther Steve Biko.

LESEGO SECHABA MOGOTSI, MEM­BER OF AZAPO COM­MIT­TEE ON PUB­LIC­ITY AND IN­FOR­MA­TION

GRACE MU­GABE

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