By Dylan Maxwell Jnr Gandiwa

Audrey Lorde once said, ”We often live in silence waiting for that luxurious moment
of fearlessness but eventually that silence will choke us,” therefore silence isn’t the
answer and the ongoing unspoken of truth should be addressed. When what we
perceive has been altered and manipulated and the fear of difference has been
instilled within us, is the adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder really true.
Contrary to this popular belief, true beauty is the harmony of details and our past is
part of our identity.
Since the dawn of the 16th century, human existence has been nothing but a box
ticking exercise. From the moment you leave your mother’s prismatic womb you are
instantly labelled black or white, male or female and by the time you reach
adolescence you are branded athlete or intellectual. But within all this structured data
there is burden on everyone which leads to fear of difference, anxiety and isolation.
Furthermore the aftermath will be an exponential growth in the need for tribalism and
a decrease in self-esteem. Although aristocratic beliefs and modern tribalism is
fundamental in building a firm society it shouldn’t be done on the basis of racial
barriers or shunning others because they are different. We must understand how our
personal operating systems can affect cultures, diversity, inclusion and the
advancement of other people.
In a world where conformity is celebrated from an early age we battle with the idea of
who we are and who the world wants us to be, I believe we are born as a whole but
instantly crushed by societal expectations and cultural norms. There is an unspoken
code of conduct that is threatened by any form of deviation. Indeed our world has
accelerated its change although we are still haunted by the same nightmares. The
society’s fear of difference has a repercussion on everyone including those who
implement them and likewise backfires on those set up to benefit from its privilege.
For example racial supremacy is there but its biggest force is not our segregated
neighbourhoods or our income statuses rather it’s the normalisation of systemic
racism. In addition there is a depressing, dividing, and self-hating subliminal
propaganda that is continuously blasted into the unaware minds of millions of
individuals every day by this repetitious pseudo-scientific theory bombardment.
Moreover the media is saturated with the negative images of stereotypical racial
ideologies and certain races are viewed as inferior while one standard of race is
valued above all others. Because of this, people of colour are self-hating, believe
that they are their own enemies and have favourable opinions of the white race.
Thirty four years post-apartheid but our country is still stuck in old ways and haunted
by the same nightmares. We are constantly caught in the confusion and crisis in the
wilderness of a broken world due to the bittersweet aftertaste of racial degradation.
We are not just dealing with the residue of systematic racism but with the long term
impact of slavery. The stealth aspect of racism is the power to hide it but if we
acknowledge that it is sown into the very fabric of who we are as a country then we
can actually do something about the intentional segregation in place and confront
this legacy of racial inferiority and dismantle its ugly effects. The real South Africa is
submerged underneath racial discrimination, the ostentatious elite and tyranny. The
real South Africa is the one that lies at the centre of the many distinct people with
different languages, cultures and identities that all name this country their home. We
are all keepers of this country’s citizens therefore its success lies in the hand of each
and every individual.
The hands of time will not slow down even by one tick and we cannot continue living
in a sugar-coated state while our lives are in agony. We must confront the reality we
hate, a truth good for everyone yet dipped in poison, the truth that we reasoned a
little too late. People of colour are wrapped up in a false sense of security and held
hostage to beautiful lies that the age of apartheid has passed and racism has come
to an end. Although there is hints of honesty hidden in this statement, it is a toxic
swirl of contradiction whereby reality and perception get misplaced. As they say we
are a future with our roots buried in the past, we must rewrite our own narrative and
control our story. This will not only change how we view the world rather this gradual
approach towards a tragedy can open gates to serenity and transforms it into hope.
For the past millennium we have been chained to this phrase of racial superiority and
it has been crippling our society and preventing our true authentic selves from
shining. We are ashamed of our “imbalances” that make us a masterpiece in our
own way, walking upon a fine thread of ironical differences. We should not hide from
the world for these flows are marks of our identity, the scars of our existence and
that which makes us noteworthy in the hierarchical structure. As a whole we should
not be married to complacency of the vile reality of ugly beauty or become wedded to
the shackles of discrimination. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link therefore
each individual must be given an opportunity to develop themselves.
Just like Kinstugi, the Japanese art of putting back broken pieces of pottery with
gold. Our nation should learn to do the same, we must learn to embrace our flows
and imperfections rather than forfeiting our identity nor renouncing our past all in the
name of fear of difference. We must let go of the fear and take a leap of faith, dive
into the endless pit of possibilities and not let the slightest piece of negativity ruin our
oodles of happiness or crush our courage. Once again our nation should let go of
fears for they help in accomplishing pessimism and are the big cause of a lack of on
one’s self-esteem.
In conclusion in order to diminish the fear of difference and create a world scented
with self-acceptance and a euphoria of living without discrimination, we must kill the
weed by reaping out its roots. This goal can only be achieved through access,
opportunity, equity, collectiveness and a shared responsibility. They say it never
comes to fruition unless the vision is crafted, as a result we can only do so by
equipping our young generation with unbreakable values and convictions, educate
them to become warriors for justice and freedom of speech. Give them the power to
determine their own future while binding the nation in unity by mending torn souls –
the victims of discrimination.

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

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