chaos & crisis of identity fuels our compassion

i have overheard many conversations, even participated in a few myself, where a strange theory ..a myth, really .. seemed to always be making the rounds:

i have heard people claim south africans have ‘lost their common purpose’ and their ‘community mobilising spirit’,  since overthrowing the ghoul of apartheid in 1994. well i for one have long believed this to simply be a tale of rubbish.

but i didn’t have any proof of this  until about 12 days ago now, when some of us south africans began  maiming, raping and killing black people under the pretext that they are ‘foreigners’ who don’t belong here. this , by they way, is not the first time this sort of cruel, callous and shameful rhetoric has been spouted here. we have done this  many times over, since instituting our democratic revolution …

but it is the first time, since i can remember, that we the rest of south africa – members of civil society, volunteers, members of movements like the treatment action campaign, mamelani, affiliates of cosatu, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers – have rallied together and voiced our disgust and contempt over what has happened in (the now) seven out of nine national provinces.

these are not merely xenophobic attacks – these are flames of intolerance aimed against anything or anyone  perceived as ‘different’. there can be no excuse for this behaviour. there is no amount of righteous anger about the rampant inequality in our society that can justify what has happened.

this terror must stop! some of us have raised our voices,  proclaiming this in the streets of our townships, outside parliament, at community halls, in our homes and at the shebeen – where-ever we have found ourselves.

we are not sure if the attacks have ceased as yet … but now we know that our will and ability to stand strong and together against evil still lives. we still have it in us to stand up for what is right, what is fair and compassionate.

this truth is now out in the open again, brought to light by our current collective crisis of identity: we are asking, “how could this happen here? … we are children of the revolution sung in 4 part harmony? how could we let this happen here?”