The ‘united’ front South Africa put on last week in the anti-corruption protests (hijacked by problematic #ZumaMustFall sentiments), conversely seemed to divide our nation.
And yet one cannot deny that the amount of people who protested and diversity thereof, was nonetheless touching or encouraging to see.
Did we do good, South Africa? Were we united? Did we do this right? Are we willing to work together from now on?
These are the kind of questions we need to ask, whether or not* we were there.
‘Beyond Today’ has an idea to encourage these sort of thoughts and to continue unity for change. The organization wrote up a document of things that can be done, ‘whites to whites’, by South Africans who want to continue constructively healing our country and its people.
- Accept that no matter how much we might know, there’s a lot we all still need to learn and unlearn.
- Accept that we each have a responsibility to seek out learning ourselves, that authentic learning is uncomfortable, and that learning should lead to action.
- Challenge racism, sexism and homophobia in your own home, workplace and online – Not supporting bigotry changes nothing unless we’re actively against it as well
- Let people who are most affected by the [above] issue lead the fight.
See the full list here as well as links to progressive media outlets and organizations, that challenge us, in order to gain a full understanding of future events and issues.
Inspired by this I have added a pledge that every South African who reads this can take to put their money where their mouth is (literally in some cases) and actually actively move forward.
The Pledge For True Unity
- I choose to apply my understanding when discussing racial/class issues, above my own perspective of these situations.
- I accept that forgiveness and acknowledgement is imperative of every future ‘march’ or movement where South Africans are called to unite.We need to ask for forgiveness, showing acknowledgement, before we expect to move on (in many more ways than just in this case, but it is a good start). To move forward we need to acknowledge that we failed to provide unity when it was called upon time and time again. We need to apologize for this.
- We need to ask for unity, not demand it.
- We need to march/protest in a respectful way of all marching, and not in a way that belittles socioeconomic issues or cultures, or is offensive to any group.
- We need to be prepared to carry on standing together, and not just when it affects us personally.
*find out why I did not protest here
Words: Zoya Pon
Feature image: Sullivan Photography