The columnist comes to the defence of ambassador Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane, right, after her comments on Twitter on South Africa’s land question stirred up controversy. Mandela-Hlongwane is seen here in a 2010 photo with her late mother, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. File picture: Neil Baynes African News Agency (ANA) File
There has been an expectation since 1994 that, as the generations of adults and children who lived through the awful years of apartheid, we would simply forget it all.

The expectation that Zindzi Mandela should forget that her father was ripped away from their family for 27 years and she only really set eyes on him at the age of 16 is unreasonable.

The expectation that Zindzi ­Mandela should forget the years of harassment experienced by her mother is equally unrealistic.

Each incident that was negative in the lives of the childhood of Zindzi Mandela involved white South Africans. She is a dedicated South African, giving her best service as an ambassador, but she cannot be vilified for speaking her mind.

Granted, her words were harsh and the context of their meaning was jolting to many who wish to pretend that the issue of land restitution is mere rhetoric that will go away.

The ANC has made a decision to see through land redistribution without compensation.

The ANC has also agreed that the process of changing the constitution to make this possible is the route best suited to achieve what must happen.

Zindzi has spoken out; she was rebuked by the minister of International Relations and Co-operation; she agreed to follow the decorum that is required of a diplomat. But, she cannot and should not be expected to join the chorus of neoliberals who simply want us to forget what has shaped the narrative for transformation in our country.

We can only achieve non-racialism when we let go of the pretences and speak plainly about what must change.

Our voices may speak out in anger, but we cannot pretend that all is well now. AfriForum is actively pursuing a racist agenda. The methods are well known: vilification, criminalisation, marginalisation and media support for the negative narrative and its targets.

We suffer economically because a progressive narrative that talks to radically transforming our economy on the basis of a structural imbalance that is designed to exclude black people in general, but specifically African people and black women, opens the real issue of what apartheid was: a system of capitalism deeply inspired by slavery, control of a cheap labour force and ownership of anything of true value by a minority.

The expectation is that we allow this system to continue unhindered, because it is said disturbing ownership of the minority will kill our already limping economy. But inclusion and creativity will spread the growth we need. More people who become employers will create more jobs.

It is time to allow facts to define our growth narrative, not shallow truths. We need more farmers and farmers need land.

So let Zindzi Mandela be. She is not the enemy of our country nor the architect of land dispossession; she is not holding back the growth of our economy. Before the haters say this, let me say corruption is negative; it is inspired by greed, but tainting everyone as corrupt with joining of dots does not make people corrupt.

We need courage now to stamp out the corrupt practices in the tender processes, in the price-fixing processes. We need to stamp out the networks that are indeed pervasive.

Zindzi Mandela is not the problem. AfriForum is a threat to any hope we have for truly forming a non-racial, non-sexist, united and democratic South Africa. Too many of us are silenced because of the labels we are given, labels that are convenient to silence facts. Dots are not truths.

* Duarte is the ANC deputy secretary-general. She writes in her personal capacity.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.