July 04 2008 -For all South Africans the 1980’s and early 90’s were times of uncertainty – no-one could have envisaged just where this country was going.
The thought of an ANC led government was music to many ears but a thought too far for others. Many, both within South Africa and beyond our borders forecast bloodshed. Indeed almost every foreign media was present before the 1994 elections to witness the ‘bloodshed’ that was sure to ensue. The peaceful transition following the joyous elections surprised the world – but not South Africans. We knew, by pulling together, we could do it.
So what’s happened that has left our nation, even our ruling party, so divided and with so much hatred alive in this beautiful country? I received an email today, through SAFREA our freelance writers association asking ‘what can we, as journalists, do to help heal our country?’ My answer was quite simple – we can write about it and try and reach as many people as possible. So this is my contribution – hoping to remind people of those halcyon days after 1994 when anything seemed possible. When for the first time in a long time in this country, people were free to go where they liked, talk to and marry who they wanted to, send their children to the school of their choice. Our government tried hard to provide services such as water and electricity where none had previously been available. Plans were made to build thousands of houses and hope was high. But gradually many of these dreams have died along with the hope of many for a better life. Mistrust, jealousy and greed has bitten into the fabric of our nation. We need to look back perhaps, rather than forwards to regain a little of that Madiba magic.
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