Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Mbeki on Freedom Day
Whilst he was clearly cribbing notes from a certain 1960's US president, Mbeki's "Ask not what your country can do for you" speech at yesterday's Freedom Day celebrations was both salient and timeous. As I have been discussing recently, our country's past has seared prejudicial nuance into our daily lives, and it takes a conscious effort to change thought processes and challenge our everyday assumptions.

Mbeki said: "We should ask ourselves whether through our actions we have contributed to the transformation of our country or whether we have blocked its advance away from our apartheid past. We should ask ourselves whether we have worked towards the goal of a country whose citizens are equal or whether we have sought to entrench the inequalities of the past."

Whilst Mbeki was undoubtedly talking to those actively blocking transformation, I do believe that we all have to heed the call and make the conscious effort to consider transformation in our own minds. It's not the obvious actions that neccessarily block transformation, its the nuance of prejudice that has to be confronted, challenged and beaten if we are to move forward as a truly integrated and 'free' nation.