Politics is about perceptions. Perceptions fuel politics. If we work diligently to correct perceptions, politics will work admirably for all of us. That is what the master politician Nelson Mandela taught us so brilliantly. If we fail to do that, politics will tear us apart.
Once again, after 21 years of lull, we are at the crossroads of history. There is no separate existence for anyone of us. Neither is there a separate destiny for any group.
We need to show, in action and in words, that we, as a population, have allowed race, as a primary and narrow political consideration, to be subsumed into a larger and more selfless concern for the welfare of all. In place of any real and perceived rift, we must demonstrably show that what we want for ourselves, is exactly what we want for others as well. Radicalism is a reaction to apathy.
Marie Antoinette will posthumously testify to that. The most pertinent question we each must ask ourselves, therefore, is this: what did I do in the past 21 years to be involved in the national effort of transformation? In other words, what active and constructive role did I play in shaping a more equal and cosmopolitan South Africa?
If we had sown rapprochement, today we will have been reaping unity; if we had sown disdain, we will soon be reaping the whirlwind.
Our action and lack of action shape how we evolve as a nation. Many in my generation sacrificed extensively for a better future. We were keen on a revolution. Fortunately, the towering figure of Nelson Mandela helped us to see beyond and above the treetops.
Now, radicalism is afoot again. It will gather momentum at unbelievable speed unless we act quickly to do what is right by all South Africans. President Thabo Mbeki warned us to consider what will happen if the dream continues getting deferred.
We now know what awaits us if we do not correct perceptions and remain aloof from the task of transformation. We need to stand together and achieve social justice without any delay.
That is the imperative of the moment! Today is the time to act.
Tomorrow, otherwise, will be too late.
Article by Mosiuoa Lekota COPE – President

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