An­other ugly story in our his­tory

The Witness - - OPINION - R. MUNISAMY Mus­grave

A COUN­TRY­WIDE heat wave, soar­ing tem­per­a­tures, the suf­fer­ing masses of peo­ple and the cool­ing invit­ing beaches in South Africa — what re­lief this near Utopian sce­nario.

And then throw in the ob­nox­ious, de­grad­ing, de­hu­man­is­ing evil called racial­ism.

Let us be­gin with Clifton Beach in Cape Town. This is a pris­tine beach all South Africans have an in­alien­able right to cool off at. Yet they were driven away by hired guards. Racism and grand apartheid march on? There were protests and march­ing. They slaugh­tered a sheep to cleanse the evil of racism, so they be­lieved. Sup­port this ghoul­ish event or con­demn it, it re­mains an ex­pres­sion of bloody naked anger.

So all you racists, let me ed­u­cate you about an­other pe­riod in our ugly his­tory. This hap­pened in Dur­ban in­sti­gated by the Broeder­bond Afrikaner rulers and sub­tly sup­ported by the hon­ourable English, hid­ing be­hind the skirts of the for­mer. In­di­ans, blacks and coloureds dared not step on the beach for fear of ar­rest and prison. To wet their feet or walk? No. But here is the greater in­sult. The white race­horse own­ers trained their cher­ished horses on the shore, splash­ing wa­ter as they sprinted. How they en­joyed this! But the in­sult does not end there. After the train­ing, en­ter the In­dian work­ers all housed in mag­a­zine bar­racks close to the rail­way bar­racks, and at­tached to the mu­nic­i­pal cleans­ing depart­ment, to do their job — pick up the horse drop­pings, put them into bags and de­part promptly be­fore they in­dulge in an ac­ci­den­tal dip.

I ask all those read­ing this let­ter to com­pare their thoughts of the Dur­ban episode with that of Clifton. The same? I bet! How dis­grace­ful. While South Africa in this year of votes, prays for unity, co­he­sion, ubuntu and real democ­racy, we must look back and at­tempt to build a bright fu­ture.

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