"Our DEMOCRACY is still YOUNG and FRAGILE" Minister cautions.
Minister Collins Chabane delivered the key note speech at the President Award Dinner in Sandton last night and recalled how he became a REBEL at age 6.
He was accompanying his dad on errands one day and they encountered hoards of soldiers and with heavy guns and artillery waggons from the erstwhile South African National Defence Force (SANDF). His young mind was assailed by the sea of white faces spilled all over his native VhaVendha village covering the route to the little Afrikaans dorpie him and his father were travelling to. He stressed the sense of bewilderment produced by the sight of all those whites. (Deep. Having grown up in the 1970s in an exclusively Black neighbourhood myself.)
Six year old Colins Chabane asked his dad what was going on and informed in a hushed whisper that the vast army was searching for one man. "A REBEL named MANDELA". His dad instructed the him NEVER to utter that name again. The young chap heeded his father's counsel but later became a REBEL himself at age 13 after upon of the racial discrimination and accompanying social injustice meted against his people by the peoples protected by the SANDF now occupying his then peaceful village.
Chabane explained that he shared his childhood narrative to inspire the young youth talent that was being honored at the Awards. He said, "your experience as a young person shapes your outlook of what is to come in your life".
He enjoined the adults in the audience to sheperd the moral and citizenship development of South Africa youth well forsaking temptations to insert their own agendas into the thread of the national narrative. His delivery was slow - his words measured and the key message clearly thought-out. "[Our] society is complex. Complicated. [It] requires deep thought to keep it together [because] our society is still fragile".
The Minister cautioned that "we should not take this freedom for granted". His comments, belied the hurt the ANC and large segments of the Black population feel about "The Painting". Himself a recorded artist and founder of a marimba band, he acknowledged artists' Freedom of Expression (S16 of The Constitution Act, 1996) but appealed that it must not be used to "insult or harm the dignity of others". The mood was sombre. Those who grew up under apartheid felt the sting and pain of the cellular wounds of degradation inflicted on us.
But we were at the Award Dinner to acknowledge the talent and perservarence of the youth awardees. Most of them where being lauded for the triumph over adversity. For surmounting huge obstacles of social exclusion. Recalling his youth he observed, "with us the situation was clear. It was either black or white. Now it is not that clear. Life is harder is harder to engage for the modern youth".
He cheered up somewhat. And burst in loud ironic laughter. And we all shared in his nervous laughter even though none of us knew what had illicited it. We are a bruised nation at the moment.
Minister Chabangu called on the youth to help us heal and to chaparone us to a new race relationship paradigm. The future beyond his 40 plus generation lies with today's youth because they are better skilled at relating. The main responsibility of paradigmn shift necessitated by the democratic enterprise should not be entrusted to the older generation for many of us have learned ways which are difficult to unlearn despite our best intentions.
In conclusion, the Minister shared his theory of life, and jested that it is unscientific yet worth sharing. It goes, "You cannot use the same mindset to solve a problem as the one that you used to create it".
BreastSens Project DIGNITY and SECTION27 enjoin all South Africans, especially the poor to learn their CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES