I find it interesting that the title of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography is “A Long Walk to Freedom”. I’d love to have a chance to talk with him and ask if Freedom is the full extent of his Vision for South Africa.
There is no argument that with Mandela’s release from prison and the ending of Apartheid the victims of the Apartheid regime achieved Freedom and the restoration of their Human Rights. Every citizen of South Africa now has the right to vote, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and the freedom to engage in relationships or marriage with any person regardless of their race, colour or creed. These are basic Human Rights, or Freedoms, that all the citizens of the World should enjoy and which had been denied to the vast majority of the South Africa’s population by the White Afrikaner Apartheid Government. Many aspects of the Apartheid regime disgust and offend me, but the one that appalls and sickens me most is the fact that the Dutch Reformed Church not only supported the goal of the Apartheid Regime, but claimed God’s validation via their distorted interpretation of the Bible. Enough of my own personal disgust; back to the question at hand.
Is freedom enough? It probably goes without saying that my answer to this question is a resounding NO! I believe for Freedom to be complete, to be meaningful, it must include Equality. What is Equality? It is equal opportunity, equal education, and equality before the law. The end result is economic and financial opportunity and equality.
This is the basis of the Vision I think all South African’s white or black must have in order for this country to progress.
Sept. 12, 2011: I just read this quotation from Steve Biko. It was obviously made before 1994. It was amazingly prescient and supports my statements in this article.
“Yes I think there is no running away from the fact that now in South Africa, there is such an ill distribution of wealth that any form of political freedom which doesn’t touch on the proper distribution of wealth will be meaningless. If we have a mere change of face of those in governing positions what is likely to happen is that black people will continue to be poor, and you will see a few blacks filtering through into the so called bourgeoisie. Our society will be run almost as of yesterday.”
Seventeen years ago Nelson Mandela and South Africans showed the World that radical change and dramatic shifts of power can be achieved without blood shed and without revenge and retaliation. Seventeen years ago South Africa stood in a position of moral leadership in the World. Where do we stand today? If we wish to reclaim our position of leadership in the World we need to start the process from basic Freedom to Equality for all our citizens. This must be our Vision.