This is in response to Mandilakhe Tshwete's article regarding the eviction of the homeless, on the front page of the Cape Argus on Thursday, May 18, 2023.
As a 50-year-old coloured South African whose family have always lived in the Cape and, as a descendant of the San and Khoekhoe people, who were the original custodians of these lands, I am dismayed by the tone of the article which implies that, somehow, the City is acting inappropriately.
Our Constitution states that every person has a right to dignity. However, this is often misinterpreted by the ill informed as “dignity’ works both ways and is achieved by letting go of the past, acting with self-respect and creating a better future for the self, with the belief that one is capable of doing so.
It is not achieved by expecting handouts from others nor by infringing on the rights of the hard-working and law-abiding citizens of this land.
What sort of message are we sending to the youth of today, by encouraging such bad behaviour and a sense of entitlement which is clearly not deserved in this case?
I speak from experience. In 1991, my parents were the first coloured people to own a property and move back into what was a whites-only area. They did this not by asking for handouts (my mother had three jobs at the time) but it took hard work, self-belief and sacrifice.
The only assistance they got was that they needed to ask the neighbours if it was okay for them to move there. This was required by law at the time as apartheid was coming to an end. The laws had not yet changed and neither had the government. The home is owned by the family, and many of our friends to this day, of various ethnic backgrounds, mention this as a remarkable achievement.
Is this not a better energy and a more beautiful and responsible message to send? The published press is seldom read these days. Newspaper stands are all but empty. Is it not time to encourage responsible articles of positivity which are well informed and consider first those who are doing things according to the law and doing good?
Wouldn't that be something?
* Keef Whiteman, Noordhoek.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.