The reviews and tributes the past week, following former president Mandela’s death, indicate how far away we have moved in the past 15 years in South Africa from making room for one another and real reconciliation. The fact that some minorities feel alienated further confirms this.
The majority of people in South Africa want peace and a safe future for their children as well as the right to be themselves in a diverse country. Forced nation building and assimilation will not work.
“Reconciliation will follow automatically when no group or individual feels threatened, oppressed or marginalised in the country”, Dr. Pieter Mulder, leader of the FF Plus and deputy minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a speech he made near Harrismith.
“Real reconciliation lies in finding the right balance between that which we as individuals have in common and there where we differ from each other culturally. If reconciliation in South Africa means that the different peoples and cultural groups have to destroy and sacrifice that which is unique to them, then the reconciliation recipe is wrong. It is not real reconciliation but assimilation and cultural obliteration.
“In this regard, for example, Reconciliation Day and the annual commemoration of the 1838 Day of the Vow do not stand opposed to each other. It is a mistake to try and force Afrikaners to choose between the two – because both are possible,” Mulder added.
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