For most non-Africans, South Africa is Africa and Africa is South Africa. Make no doubt about it, that’s as ignorant as it gets. Nonetheless, the ubiquity of this thought speaks to the prominece of Africa’s most industrialized nation. Home of Nelson Mandela.
Yet, if the events of recent days are anything to go by, Mandela must be turning in his grave. The death toll from the KwaZulu-Natal chaos keeps rising by the day. The violence, it seems, keeps metasizing. A confluence of harsh economic times, unemployment, and most importantly, deeply unresolved socio-economic wounds.
As I have written about erstwhile , South Africa was victim of one of the worst forms of British colonialism. Apartheid in South Africa, made the colonial machinery across the continent, look like child’s play. The scale of its brutality, intentionality of its racial overtones and depth of injustice is unparalleled. Decades later, South Africa is yet to heal from those scars. It’s troubled past of racial injustice, economic inequality and mental torture is screaming to be attended to.
South Africa, like most African countries, is a textbook example that nation building is marathon, not a sprint. Even in moments of hopeful progress, occasional retrogression remains its corollary.
As we pray for peace and stability in South Africa, these events offer us a moment of personal introspection. What we don’t choose to heal, we choose to perpetuate. What we ignore now, eventually catches up with us.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu encapsulated this remarkably in his memoirs No Future Without Forgiveness:
Our common experience in fact is the opposite - - that the past, far from disappearing or lying down and being quiet, has an embarrassing and persistent way of returning and haunting us unless it has been dealt with adequately. Unless we look the the beast in the eye we find it has an uncanny habit of returning to hold us hostage."
Have a good one! I wish you healing!