It is heartbreaking to watch as our country being torn apart by mindless violence.
Migration has been a fundamental part of South African history.
At this critical juncture we are not ‘a South Africa that belongs to all’, as aspired by the Freedom Charter but a nation whose soul is slowly fading.
Though xenophobia is common worldwide, ours seems especially virulent. While we remain a democracy envied the world over, we seem intent on striking out at the democratic values that have enabled us to survive against the odds.
The brutal violence has been overwhelming. But the spirit of ubuntu has never been more alive than now. No democracy can allow such violence. No civilised society can tolerate such wanton disregard for human lives and no state can accept such mindless discord.
The hymn, God Bless Africa, composed for the founding conference of the African National Congress in 1912, became the hymn of freedom for many nations in Southern Africa. We have betrayed the spirit of that hymn by displaying prejudice that is an insult and an affront to humanity.
The tragic and the monumental scale of wanton destruction have jolted the consciousness of the entire world. These tragic deaths became a global symbol – a symbol of the impotence. Graphic images of lifeless bodies strewn across the nation as people fled to escape the fire and fury of the land that was emancipated by beloved icon Nelson Mandela.
Our leaders have been on auto-pilot amidst this crisis that has shaken the country on a seismic scale. They remain deaf to the cries and agonies of the migrant masses fleeing their countries because of wars and instability. The deaths of many innocent people mean nothing to them. One cannot help but feel aghast, dumbfounded and shocked when one realises that people show neither restraint nor awareness of the enormity and seriousness of the bloody and destructive nature of what is unfolding before our eyes in 3D.
The graphic pictures and images of the unrest will haunt us for decades to come. This is a blistering indictment of man’s inhumanity to man.
As a society, we have acquired immunity to painful tragedies. We sadly have reached the point where we cannot gauge danger anymore. We are too disengaged to connect the dots between tragedy and its human impact.
As incredible as it seems, we have been anaesthetised to the horrors of the brutal conflicts raging out of sight. These battles have engulfed and consumed many parts of the country. It is shocking that heartbreaking tragedies no longer have the power to devastate us. We have developed a tolerance to tragedy.
Scores are dead and thousands are displaced as the anarchy and mayhem envelop cities and towns in a fog of intolerance that is rapidly devouring the innocent in an orgy of satanic unrestrained violence. The horror explodes into our living rooms as we follow these blood curling events. We sadly have become detached from death and destruction because it does not affect us. We are in denial as we witness innocent lives being butchered, killed, maimed and mutilated. Little do we realize that we are rushing headlong and plunging humanity towards annihilation.