I have a question to begin proceedings:
Why do we find it so easy to pass judgement on others?
This country has one of the most liberal Constitutions in the world, but as we all know, a document written in Pretoria doesn’t exactly give a clear reflection of the cities, the small towns, the townships, suburbia, and rural areas of the entirety of South Africa.
The reality of South Africa is that South Africa is a judgmental country. In fact, the most financially successful people often possess the most archaic, tribalist views.
We live in a society that prides itself on making ill-founded judgements that are devoid of actual substance, and what’s worse about this is that most people blatantly refuse to even entertain the thought that they might be wrong.
There are matters that are highly personal in this life. Matters that cannot be easily decided in a referendum or a roundtable discussion involving Pastor Chris and the President. Matters such as sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and political affiliations.
Yet, certain people believe that they are above such restrictions, and that they hold an “objective truth that would make you see the light if only you would listen and…..”
This is a lie.
As a young gay man who also happens to be atheist on the concept of organised religion (and God the Ruler, as a whole), I’ve had my fair share of oppression. Yet, I’ve been open-minded enough not to make other minority groups feel oppressed. I could easily fight the transgender people of the world, the foreigners, women who have abortions. These are all controversial topics, and I could win a lot of favour with the majority. But why in the hell would I want to subject others to my own experiences, which admittedly haven’t been the best moments of my life?
South Africans like to pride themselves on having strong, conservative, Christian values (I speak of the majority, sorry for the generalization)- yet, the same people who claim to stand for a doctrine of peace and unconditional love are busy oppressing and ridiculing and harassing and beating up and ostracizing people who just happen to be different from the generally-accepted status quo of “blackness” or “manhood” or whatever the buzzword of the day is. Never mind the fact that the very weapon they use to smite others was used as a weapon against their very existences not too long ago.
The Bible may very well be a book of blank pages, pages of which we can scribe and justify our vilest and most senseless prejudices. Then scream and shout and protest and march about how oppressed we are. That’s the South African way, mos.
Our habit of blaming the atheists or the gays or the whites or the “kwerekweres” or the prostitutes or our fathers -and that’s not even getting into the Illuminati bullcrap- for the decay of society must stop.
We are no longer victims.
Apartheid did us dirty- that’s an undeniable fact. Despite this, though, we rose up to control, to govern, to lead.
The time has now come for the realisation of Steve Biko’s vision of Black Consciousness. We need to rehabilitate our self-image.
That won’t be done with Leviticus verse recitals. It’ll be done with self-reflection.
Reflection of every idea we’ve been forced to blindly accept, reflection of the leader’s role in society, and more importantly, reflection of our past hurts and how we use them as ammunition to hurt others.
This is easier said than done, I know. But if we actually want to heal as a country and not keep pointing the finger, this is an idea that at least deserves consideration.