Grocott's Mail

History lessons


Freedom Day is especially sweet for the great majority of South Africans because it's a symbol of hope. Before 1994, even the great Nelson Mandela had never voted in a South African election. Meanwhile, there was a charade of whitesonly elections from which politician­s like PW Botha derived their so-called legitimacy.

To be fair, the socalled Bantustans like Bophuthats­wana and Transkei were run so badly by puppet compradors that they offered no inspiratio­n for indigenous liberation movements. They existed solely to enrich a few black despots and provide the apartheid government the excuse to claim the "separate but equal" nonsense.

It’s actually surprising that yesteryear’s collaborat­ors do not face as much vitriol as whites of all shades do; because if a group should be at the bottom of SA’s social pecking order, they ought to be right at the bottom. Terrible as apartheid was, its perpetrato­rs at least didn’t pretend to want democracy for black South Africans.

The country should therefore be thankful to all its freedom fighters ‒ the famous ones like Tambo, Mandela and Sobukwe; as well as the less lionised like Hector Peterson. Freedom Day should also lead to some reflection.

Indeed, Japan and Germany have been so successful over the last 70 years partly because they remember their aggression during World War II. South Africa ought to learn a little from its own past.

•Simhasbeco­me increasing­lywearyofS­outh


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