Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
Eusebius McKaiser has an excellent piece in the Business Day this morning in which he argues that we need to talk about race, rather than avoid talking about it. Money Quote:
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[We] have an irrational fear of race discourse that must be abandoned. White South Africans, in particular, fear that mere talk about “black” and “white” implies that we cannot relate to each other as individuals. This fear is understandable. But it is also hasty.
What is beautiful about human relations is the natural curiosity we have to explore the shades of differences between ourselves — appearances, personalities, intelligence, ideologies, etc. The value pluralism on which our liberal democracy is based stems explicitly from an acceptance that differences need not be divisive.
The eruption of violence in Skielik speaks to the fact that when we let differences fester like a wound we would rather not attend to, we could lose part of our national body — like the four innocent citizens of Skielik.