Today being 9 Dec, the day designated by the UN as International Anti Corruption Day, it feels appropriate to publish local headmaster Gavin Fish’s letter entitled ‘Ashamedly South African.’
Next year’s matriculants will be South Africa’s first as “born free,” born free of apartheid legislation and into a new democratic South Africa. I am critically concerned as an educator, about the South Africa we are bequeathing them.
The ANC of 1994, of Nelson Mandela, of restraint and reconciliation, of non-racialism, that so humbled and inspired me as a White South African, is fading. It has been replaced by astounding levels of corruption, tenderpreneurship, the re-racialisation of our society and now by sinister, apartheid style, legislation. How tragic that 17 years into non-racialism we are politically divided along racial lines to a greater extent than ever before. Only history will tell to what extent Julius Malema’s utterances, that were for so long “permitted,” have to blame for this.
The ANC were magnificent as a revolutionary movement, but increasingly inept and an international embarrassment, as a government. From firmly occupying the moral high ground, they seem to have lost their moral compass, kowtowing to China over the Dalai Lama, vacillating over Mugabe and Gaddafi, providing medical parole to criminals, who are clearly not terminal and pretending for more than a decade, that there is no case to answer in the Arms deal saga.
Mandela’s words of 1997 that press freedom would never be under threat in South Africa for as “long as the ANC is the majority party,” ring hollow and sad. The ANC has no-one to blame but themselves that their Protection of State Information Bill will be seen as little more than a mechanism to avoid accountability. The fact that we taxpayers continue to finance the full paid leave and legal fees of three senior members of the security establishment, while they exhaust their appeal options, is a case in point.
As Principal, I have on many occasions, applauded the actions and protected the rights of, the whistle blower. Where to now? At Valedictory this year we spoke of pride in one’s school and one’s nation being dependant less on excellence and more on simply being a part of. We speak of being Proudly South African. I can’t say that today, Black Tuesday, today I am Ashamedly South African.
Mandela’s words hang from our stage, “Education is the most powerful weapon we have to change the world.” We are trying Sir, we are trying! But the party and its principles, for which you gave your life and is now our government, is making that task increasingly difficult.
Gavin Fish (Principal)
Another outspoken South African, Ismail Mahomed, Director of the National Arts, adds his voice of protest: