Why Are we not Free?

 

At the Annual Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela said,

“At the southern tip of the continent of Africa, a rich reward is in the making, an invaluable gift is in the preparation, for those who suffered in the name of all humanity when they sacrificed everything — for liberty, peace, human dignity and human fulfilment.

This reward will not be measured in money. Nor can it be reckoned in the collective price of the rare metals and precious stones that rest in the bowels of the African soil we tread in the footsteps of our ancestors. It will and must be measured by the happiness and welfare of the children, at once the most vulnerable citizens in any society and the greatest of our treasures.

The children must, at last, play in the open field, no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance, molestation and abuse, and no longer required to engage in deeds whose gravity exceeds the demands of their tender years.

In front of this distinguished audience, we commit the new South Africa to the relentless pursuit of the purposes defined in the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children.

The reward of which we have spoken will and must also be measured by the happiness and welfare of the mothers and fathers of these children, who must walk the earth without fear of being robbed, killed for political or material profit, or spat upon because they are beggars.

They too must be relieved of the heavy burden of despair which they carry in their hearts, born of hunger, homelessness and unemployment.

The value of that gift to all who have suffered will and must be measured by the happiness and welfare of all the people of our country, who will have torn down the inhuman walls that divide them.

These great masses will have turned their backs on the grave insult to human dignity which described some as masters and others as servants, and transformed each into a predator whose survival depended on the destruction of the other”. 

What has happened to the aspirations of Madiba’s vision? How is it possible that in such a short period of time, after we had vowed never to return to the land labelled by racial identity and yet the very reality and tragedy of our present is having to address the racial tension which is dividing our country?

Why are we are so focused on our racial differences? Why are we so sensitive to trust or be free?

Although many have had to sacrifice for the prized Constitution South Africa portrays as the achievement yet many still believe to be imprisoned by injustice and racial inequality. I hear the Whites and the Western world so clearly reminding those who “feel” injustice that Apartheid has been dismantled and that the Law recognises that no one group enjoys privilege above all others. South Africa enjoys freedom of belief and opinion, which means that we are free to follow the dictates of conscience but in practice, how true is this?

 

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