This is the title of a book my grandfather wrote during the apartheid regime. He said South Africa belongs to us, and this for me speaks of a sense of pride and an ownership that leads to action. My grandfather was in the struggle against white supremacy, but his issue was not with the white man, it was with the inhumanity expressed by one human to another. The struggle as it were, was never about gaining a shift in supremacy, it was rather about claiming back dignity and the right to be have each one’s life viewed as valuable.
When I look around at what we call freedom, I know for sure it is not the freedom for which my grandfather lost his life, not only in death but in the time he left his family to live in other countries, fighting to gain the right to life. I look at the freedom we profess and I see no greater bondage and self-destruction.
If South Africa indeed belongs to us, why do we then treat it as we do? We might have taken back this land, but we have not treated it as its owner, we have not loved it as ones who know we own it. I would like to believe that the life that was lost was not merely so we could burn the very streets that we fought to be allowed to walk on. The freedom for which many shed blood does not look like the self-seeking parody daily displayed by what we call a governance system #LoudThought.
We act the way we do because we never fully grasped the cost of what we have, yes we have heard stories, but we do not fully know. We act the victim to a struggle that we never fought, and we refuse to accept that the battle we are now fighting is a self-inflicted battle against ourselves.
I have so many times applauded fellow South Africans for never retaliating when “peace” was declared over our country in 1994, I thought we had matured because of the past struggles, but each day that passes I seem to be proved wrong. We held hands and in one voice we sang “South Africa we love you, our beautiful land. Let’s show the whole world we can bridge the gap of hate”. I truly loved this song, and I still hold its sentiment, but I look around and the beauty about which we sang seemingly proudly, eludes me. Instead, I see a nation that is sick, a nation whose mind is still in shackles that keep tightening, not because of the crutch we have made the white man, but because we have reaped where we have not sown. Let’s forget about the misappropriation of funds, let’s forget about what government said they would give and haven’t given, but let’s begin to remember that government is people. And as a people, we have not embraced what we have, we have not taken pride in this land. That is why we are able to live in filth we create, because we cannot use the bins around town, we expect government to do it. Government is not a machine, government is not a robot that we can press and things start happening.
I wonder, if my grandfather were still alive, if those he was fighting with would see how we have turned this nation into what it is, would they still proudly say “South Africa belongs to us”. If we knew the cost of what we have, we would guard it with all diligence and make sure to preserve it for our offspring.
I said it!