A 14-year-old foreign national has lost his life along with five others. People have been beaten, burnt, hacked. Over 8000 people have been displaced – our humanity has slipped away.
It was a day for speeches in parliament yesterday. And while President Jacob Zuma addressed the National Assembly over violence currently gripping the country, downtown Durban once again erupted as police and locals clashed.
“Celebrations in May will promote our African identities. We look forward to the celebration of Africa day in every province,” Zuma drivelled. “We also reaffirm responsibility to contribute to a better world – let’s work together,” he drivelled further.
While Zuma pointed to plans put in place to overcome the destruction caused by these attacks, including stronger border relations and other sorts of balderdash, a foreign national driven out of her home in a tent was awaiting supplies from humanitarian aid.
Opposition accused the ruling party of using violence when being “taken on” for their shortcomings, and therefore setting the example for our countrymen. “In, Marikana… you killed them,” said EFF leader Julius Malema, taking advantage of a court ruling allowing him to say in Parliament that the ANC government kills people. DA leader Mmusi Maimane spoke of witnessing an apartheid style era in 2015. Former president Thabo Mbeki warned of a drift in society, Cope leader Mosiuo Lekota pointed out. But the drift has turned into anarchy, he said.
Back in 2008, Mbeki addressed the nation over xenophobic attacks in the country which left the world with their heads in their hands.
Mbeki made the following promises; and next to those are our downfalls.
– As Africans we will never abandon the values of Ubuntu. We did.
– As Africans we will never become enemies of other Africans. We have become that.
– We define ourselves as Africans because we belong within the family of the billion Africans who live in Africa and the Africa Diaspora, who are linked to one another by a common destiny. We are arrogant.
– We are proudly African, not only because of our indelible contribution to human civilisation, but also because we know that the regeneration of Africa will add new humane values to human society. We have lost out pride.
– As South Africans, who fought for more than three centuries to achieve the dignity of all Africans and all human beings, regardless of race, colour, and gender, we will never allow that we fall victim to the criminal perversion of xenophobia. We have forgotten.
“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another,” late president Nelson Mandela once said.
“Again” has come.