Widening the Call for Redress, Restitution and Reconciliation in South Africa: A Khulumani Call for Action
Background: Read the piece (attached) that Di Oliver, widow of Brian Bishop and friend of Molly Blackburn, contributed to the Cape Times on 24 February 2016 in response to the burning of photographs of herself and her colleague, Molly Blackburn on the UCT campus in an action of the Rhodes Must Fall movement at the university. Article link: http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/lets-heal-our-wounds-together-1989398
Khulumani expresses its deep regret at the burning of irreplaceable photographs and portraits of people who made important contributions to the struggle for justice in South Africa.
In the blind (and legitimate) rage of young people who presently highlight how much has not yet been transformed in our country, we lose evidence of a practice of non-racialism that brought together activists in apartheid South Africa to establish a foundation for joint action against the inhumanity and degradation of the apartheid regime. That space served to bridge the class, race and gender divides that existed at that time through constructing spaces in which those from privileged backgrounds could interrogate themselves in the context of a movement committed to the fundamental equality and dignity of all human beings, towards working for transformation in our society.
One such space was the National Medical and Dental Association of health care providers of all backgrounds who resigned from their professional association to take a stand against their colleagues who were implicated in denying Steve Biko access to the health care services that could have saved his life.
The present legitimate era of rage at injustice has created a momentum that Khulumani welcomes for the construction of spaces of listening and reflection on what still needs to change – what needs to be redressed and restored in a country of people who continue to carry deep pain and hurt about all that has yet to be transformed. We need to do more and to do more differently.
Ismail Lagardien speaks for many when he writes, We expected the world to stand with us against Apartheid, and now that Apartheid is gone, now that we have broken down that iniquitous system, we seem unable to build anything just in its place, we seem to be faltering, spoiling for arguments and fights with paintings, statues, sculptures, and with foreigners. (Monuments and memories: Between remembrance and forgetting, 17 April 2015, Daily Maverick)
How will we find each other in crafting an inclusive and just society, the mission of Khulumani Support Group. The absence of white contributors to the struggle for justice, redress and restitution being led by Khulumani Support Group. is noteworthy and saddening.