South Africa has developed the attitude of addressing problems by retaliating with violence and destruction that has become the norm. After weeks of demolishing historical statues representing an era of South African history, xenophobia attacks turn the tense situation into an alarming calamity among the citizens. What is next the union building and all colonial billings built before and during the apartheid era?
The rainbow nation of South Africa, is a superficial mixture of critical, white European, Indians, and Africans caught up in a romance without debating the fundamental issues. Under Mandela, who was loved and adored by the majority of South Africa, the emphasis was on reconciliation and ignoring the effects of the racial divide. Twenty-one years later the human rights debate swings into protest with students demanding change in a destructive manner. It is a critical issue and ignored for years that has tilted South Africa into a serious plight of destruction. Violence does not produce realistic solutions. Although the young activists believe their profound destructive behavior is the only way to challenge a system that has no democratic values. Spurred on to demolish historical statues by a political party incites more anger and division between communities.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) a political party of South Africa, wants change and do not consider serious debate and recommendations for a peaceful transition. The activists registered in higher learning institutions behave in a demoralizing manner causing chaos without considering the detrimental effect on society. Racial tension and hatred are evident among protests and inflame calamity that springs from destruction.
Threatened and demoralized by the destruction and removal of statues by the majority groups within the rainbow nation, the minority groups who are now divided into English and Afrikaans become weary of continuing onslaughts against the history of South Africa.
Will these current outbursts by the young blow into a dangerous situation similar to the 1976 Soweto riots. The Soweto protests started by schoolchildren with the introduction of the Afrikaans language as the medium of instruction in schools. Reports confirm the death of 176 children during this time although the figure is estimated to be as high as 700.
The action of destruction by the students is setting a precedence for future generations to follow. With no intervention by government, the students claim victory based on illegal terms. During the past weeks, the turmoil caused has been disappointing for citizens that expected the leading party the African National Congress (ANC) to intervene in an appropriate manner.
Calamity and chaos have become the norm in South Africa. Racial tension and hatred among the different ethnic groups grows and entirely destroys the trifling reconciliation that has happened over the past 21 years.
The recent xenophobia attacks continue to destabilize the country and divide the rainbow nation. The tourism and economic growth of South Africa will be affected by the rise in violence against foreigners. While there are other pressing issues for the government to resolve, the infrastructure, water, electricity crises and health care need to be addressed urgently? The EFF leader Julius Malema believes the current government is weak and is a self-serving leadership. Malema believes the current spate of violence would not have happened under a stronger government.
Malema consistently uses hate and racist speech that can incite violence. In the latest outburst Malema accuses the ANC of benefiting from selling assets, nationalized by the apartheid government. Malema raised the land issue and has told crowds that owning the resources would bring riches for the majority of South Africa.
The division within the rainbow nation of South Africa is tense, and reckless statements uttered on political platforms or by influential public figures trigger spontaneous reactions. Actions that cause hostile consequences and widen the racial gulf between different cultures. Political intolerance, crime, murders and protests do not stop escalating within the boarders of South Africa. The constant hate speech detects a spot of no emotional intelligence among the influential people of South Africa who has the platform to defuse the volatile situation. South Africa the land of many colors, the rainbow nation continues to widen the gap of cultural difference and moves away from reconciliation.
By Laura Oneale