'Tired of racism and brutality'
Johannesburg - The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has thrown its weight behind a growing number of voices in South Africa and across the world condemning the violence and racism against black people.
This comes as the #BlackLivesMatter campaigns and marches continue in different countries across the world following the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of police last month.
Floyd, 46, suffocated to death when a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes as he was suspected of having used a counterfeit $20 (R336) note at a shop.
On Sunday, the foundation held a symbolic picket at the Hector Pieterson Memorial Site in Soweto as it highlighted both ongoing racism and police brutality in South Africa and abroad.
ANC MP Nompumelelo Mkhatshwa, who was addressing the picket, said black people were tired of calling for equality and treatment of black people with dignity.
“It is not a ‘tired’ that says you don’t want any more change or you don’t want to pick up the fights. It is a tired that says ‘what language must I speak now for you to get it’ and I think many of us in various positions of influence you get even more frustrated because you think to yourself we have been brought to the table, but your presence in that space is not enough,” Mkhatsha said.
She added that beyond advocacy, more action was needed beyond to bring racism to an end.
She slammed the violence of the country’s security forces against civilians, adding that its role had to be revisited.
The brutality showed by members of SAPS and the SA National Defence Force came under scrutiny over the deaths of several civilians, including Alexandra resident Collins Khosa, allegedly at the hands of security forces.
Mkhatshwa said there was a need for Parliament to debate the redefinition of the security cluster within a democratic South Africa, including on police interventions in protests and enforcement of government regulations.
The foundation’s Kristen Abrahams said while Struggle stalwart Kathrada and other liberation fighters of his generation fought for ideals of non-racialism and equality, these were still yet to become a reality in South Africa and around the world.
“We continue to hope for a future in which non-racialism is our value. We continue to hope for a future in which dignity and equality for all is something we are able to celebrate.”
Abrahams added that to achieve non-racialism, people had to directly confront all forms of racial prejudice and bring culprits to book.
In Cape Town, religious leaders gathered in front of St George’s Cathedral for a silent protest on Sunday.
Additional reporting by Odwa Mkentane