People think that racism died a long time ago, well sadly that’s not the case . Racism still lurks around the whole world. Some people made peace and are aware that racism is a crime and some are just ignorant and decide to tolerate it.

A lot of people have different views regarding racism and it is one of many reasons why there is still a division between certain races . When the late Nelson Mandela became President, black people had the idea that they were finally free; free from being discriminated against, abused, free from being pushed over and being treated like slaves and dogs but most of all free from ever having to obey a white person on the basis of superiority complexes. That was their idea of freedom.

My idea of being free or rather living in freedom as a black young woman in South Africa is being able to walk around not having to be looked at differently just because of how I look or perceived because of my skin colour. Whenever I make a mistake, it shouldn’t be said that “it’s because she is black, she can’t do anything right” and rather be told that “mistakes happen and everyone make mistakes”. Being able to forgive what happened in the past; and show love and respect to others regardless of how different we might look, particularly on the basis of skin colour, but most of all, being able to fight and stand against racism; advocating for togetherness as a nation without seeing the colour of our skins. If we all are committed into ending racism and not tolerate it, we will all be able to live freely and in peace .

Most black people believe that they have attained freedom and thus have the right to do whatever they wish; however it is rather unfortunate to witness that most still have their minds stuck in the times of apartheid and thus view the post 1994 period as their time to revenge, which is not how it should be. Today, some black people hate, judge and rather become stereotypical towards each and every white person that they come across because of being stuck in the past and therefore, always reacts with anger because of the unresolved emotions and lingering knowledge of how black people and other races besides white were treated during the apartheid era.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be appreciative of what happened during apartheid, in fact my view is that everyone, young or old, should be aware of the past injustices perpetrated against other race groups. South Africans should all be empowered in the right way to understand the past, so that they remain assured that the country has the potential to change for a prosperous future, where forgiveness and love, define a South African Nation.

This however will require that when young people, like myself, are taught about the ills of apartheid, we not fed false information and other questions regarding apartheid left unanswered, because that is what causes other people not to forgive but rather remain angry and continue to hate each and every white person. We shouldn’t make what happened in the apartheid times an excuse for us to not move on and live in peace, instead we should see it as an encouragement and opportunity to better our future and to make this world a better place to live in, which is racism-free.

My view is that racism in South Africa represented the thesis of a systematic oppression of a people, in a form of apartheid, which white people never experienced. Therefore based on my observation, it does seem that there are some white people who still believe that they are superior beings, and are unwilling or scared to lose that status or power because they believe that black people will take over and treat them the way the apartheid system treated black people. Honestly, that’s not the case because some of us, young black people, want to live in peace and witness good things unravel in a secure nation.

Since I am more focused on the South African experience, I hold the view that the demise of apartheid was suppose to be the beginning of a new chapter, a beginning of a new united South African nation filled with joy, love and reconciliation. As I look around and analyze how life has been after the end of apartheid, I see that not everyone is on the same page, not everyone believes in Ubuntu and not everyone wants change in our nation and because of that, I believe that if we continue in such an unreasonable manner, in a few years time, we will be witnessing somewhat the beginning of an end, a beginning of another chapter of “reconfigured” apartheid system.

There are days where I witness different races come together and becoming one, standing and fighting against racism and also not tolerating it. It is exciting and uplifting to see people come together as one because it brings hope that racism in South Africa will deteriorate and eventually  be defeated. By continuing to do the right thing and fight against racism as a nation, other countries will be encouraged to do the same and eventually the whole world.

In times like these especially for this current generation, it is very important for young people to stand against racism and continue the dialogues that teaches about tolerance and coexistence, so as to be able to identify and differentiate between what is right and wrong, particularly when it concerns human rights and fighting against discrimination and racism. If this current generation of young people are able to lead this cause, it will encourage children not to discriminate and in the future become leaders who believe in unity.

With the knowledge I’ve acquired regarding apartheid and its consequences, judging from the happenings in our country today, which defines its make-up as racism, I’ve learnt that if we are serious about changing the state of racism in our country, it needs to start with us. We need to work on ourselves first and trust in God. We must be determined and focused on change. Before we try and change our country, we should also start by dreaming of it, believing and then make it happen. We shouldn’t settle for less because if we do, less is what we will achieve, less freedom. So I say, we must commit ourselves to changing our country for the best and not tolerate racism but rather vouch for a racism-free South Africa.

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ABOUT FOUNDATION

In pursuing its core objective of deepening non-racialism, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will:

Promote the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa;

Collect, record, promote and display, through historical artefacts and contemporary material.