Mfenendala  :: Editor's Letter
6th Issue
   Mfenendala

Preserving and Defending Everything We Fought For...

For a lot of us who were born during the dark days of apartheid not free [vis a vis “Bonfrees”], the damage that was done by this evil system is unmistakable. Scores of South Africans were kille
d by the state and its agencies and through well-orchestrated black-on-black violence and scars, physical, emotional and psychological, are still there. People's lives and livelihoods were lost, time was wasted and opportunities were missed as a people were divided along racial lines in terms of work, housing and socialisation.

As painful as it is, this part of history needs to be recorded accurately and archived prominently so that it does not take place on this land ever again. Having been disenfranchised for the longest of time and been forced to be second class citizens in the land of their forefathers, the black people of South Africa systematically pushed back against the system of apartheid utilising various vehicles of change like the United Democratic Movement, primarily led by the African National Congress from within and outside of the country. Through retaliate means; the country had become virtually ungovernable as smoke became the symbol for demanding change.

The opposed people of this country had nothing to lose as generations before them had been stripped of their dignity, land, homes and human rights so nothing was at stake for going after the oppressive minority government. The people relented, then president PW Botha handed the reins to former president FW de Klerk, who did the right thing by unbanning all political parties and sanctioned the release of all political prisoners unconditionally in 1990. The next four years proved to be instrumental in paving the way for the country's first ever democratically elected government, representative of the diverse tapestry that is its people.

Having been at the brink of a civil war, South African was hailed and continues to be a shining example of how former foes can bury the hatchet, forgive the past and move on to a single vision of a united yet diverse country. It is now almost twenty years into our relatively young democracy and this country continues to mature under the stewardship of a government of the people. Having voted “our” government into power, there has been a degree of lethargy by the very citizens that voted “our” government into power.

Ours is a constitutional democracy that stands on public participation as one of its pillars and provision has been made at various levels to make sure that normal citizens have a direct say on matters that affects their lives, directly or indirectly. You have Izimbizo across all three tiers of government, ward committees at ward or local government level and ordinary South Africans have access to seating of council meetings at local and district levels, legislatures at provincial level and the national assembly at national level.

Furthermore, our constitution guarantees us the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, amongst many other freedoms that are enshrined in this decisive document that is the supreme law of the land. We need to contribute to the Integrated Development Plans [IDPs] of councils so that these speak to our needs in order of importance and voice our beliefs and opinions through various platforms as this contributes to a vibrant and lively democracy. Debate and discussion are at the very centre democracy as is not seeing an opposing view as dissenting and rebellious.

Because this is our government, it is critical that we use all resources at our disposal and those we have been afforded and guaranteed by our democracy and constitution. As freedom comes with responsibility, we must take accountability for the vote we cast and ensure that those chosen to represent the aspirations of the masses continue to dispense the people's mandate as to the letter.

Aluta Continua
[The Struggle Continues]



 

 
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