My name is Shabanna Kaylas and I am representing Daleview Secondary School in Honour of Mandela’s Day. Today I will be talking around issues of Racism and how it can be overcome.

South Africa is still suffering the after affects from apartheid, apartheid, legally segregated the the white people from people of colour. Did apartheid really end? or has it just been moved. What has this come to? Was this the end of apartheid or is it just now been practiced behind closed doors. This is my idea of RACISM and how we can try to STOP it…

In some ways, it’s simple. People learn to be whatever their society and culture teaches them. We often assume that it takes parents actively teaching their kids, for them to be racist. The truth is that unless parents actively teach kids not to be racists, they will be. This is not the product of some deep-seated, evil heart that is cultivated. It comes from the environment, the air all around us.

As an example, a 10-year-old girl has not been allowed to go to her friend’s birthday party because her friend is black. The RSVP written by the young girl says that her dad will not allow her to attend the sleepover (party) as her friend is black and that she did not intend to be racist.

This is the 21st century and we are past the apartheid error what is going on, one would think that racism is a relic of the past, but this is blatant evidence that it is still very much alive today, and it starts in our homes. Often, people do not want to talk about racism, due to fear of being offensive but if we do not address the problem then it will never be solved.

We need to understand, that some people like to live in the past, our parents are
historically close minded and as the youth we should join forces to discuss and find ways
to abolish this frame of mind.

In my view the parents of this little girl should not have enforced the fact that her friend
being of a different race was the reason she could not attend the sleepover but instead
should have just given a general response such as “I am not allowed to come to the
sleepover, sorry”. Parent are heavily influencing their children and we need to say “NO”
and be able to grow up freely, in a racist free South Africa, it is important for us the YOUTH
of South Africa to understand that the world is a diverse place and at the end of the day
everyone is equal.

I think that the only way to change bias is to change culture, you must change what is
acceptable in society to make a difference. People today complain about politically
correct culture, but what that does is provide a check on people’s outward attitude, which
in turn influences how we think about ourselves internally. Everything we’re exposed to
gives us messages about who is good and bad. I believe that that norms can serve as a
check on expression of violent racism. But to challenge the deep-seated prejudices that shape our behavior, to unlearn our implicit biases we need interaction between diverse cultures and races.

We as South Africa are already seen as one of the most progressive societies in the world, and it is only through us working through issues like apartheid and racism and stereo typing that we have come this far already working through our issues.

Yes, we have to ask the hard questions about our grandparents and parents talking about prejudice in our homes, but we have to challenge ourselves and our families first, because that is where you start fixing things IN OUR HOMES.

We want to move forward and constantly pushing and striving towards inner growth which will then lead to more understanding and tolerance towards our fellow South Africans.

Mandela taught us the power of action, but also ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those you agree with, but those who you don’t (Or Parents and Grandparents). He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet. He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and passion, but also his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement. And he learned the language and customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his.

Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa that we use — Ubuntu — this describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us. We can never know how much of this was innate in him, or how much of was shaped and burnished in a dark, solitary cell.

So, we, as the YOUTH of South Africa can use this as a tool of measure in our everyday lives with family, friends, colleagues and fellow students and even the not so friendly.

Let us as the youth make a difference and we can only start in our home by living this quote of Mahatma Ghandi “Be the change you want to see in others”

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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;

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