The display of the apartheid-era South African flag must be confined to artistic, academic or journalistic expression. Collage: Elvin Nethononda
LETTER - The Equality Court’s ruling that the “gratuitous”display of the old South African flag constitutes hate speech is Orwellian, that is, destructive to the welfare of a free and open society.

“Gratuitous” means uncalled for, without reason, voluntary.

Ruling that any display of the old flag other than for artistic or academic purposes is “gratuitous” and therefore constitutes hate speech is an infringement on the right of freedom of thought and expression.

Such a ruling reflects selective historical morality.

In terms of its time frame - 1928 to 1994 - the old flag was less associated with hurt and harm than the British flag, which flew from 1806 to 1928.

Slavery occurred under that flag until 1834. From 1860 to 1911, there was indentured Indian labour.

Several wars were fought; the most notable were the destruction of the Zulu kingdom and the Boer republics.

Under Shepstone and later with Milner’s Lagden Commission (1903 to 1905), the parameters of apartheid were laid.

But the greatest hypocrisy of the court ruling is that it sees no harm in the display of the communist hammer and sickle flag.

Under that flag, more than 100 million people perished in Russia and China, at the hands of a godless totalitarian dictatorship.

Afrikaner people showed great maturity following their defeat in the Anglo-Boer War and the deaths of more than 26000 of their people in British concentration camps.

Under apartheid they never banned the display of the Union Jack.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which opposes the old South African flag, needs to grow up.

The Mercury