As IJR publishes its Reconciliation Barometer Report for 2013, Khulumani invites fellow South Africans to contribute to a ‘radical reconciliation’ through endorsing the Khulumani Proposals for the Social and Economic Inclusion of Struggle Veterans.
The Reconciliation Barometer Report for 2013, released by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation today, validates the focus of Khulumani Support Group on facilitating the promotion of reconciliation through redress, restitution, reparations and the pursuit of social justice in South Africa.
Khulumani has long used the campaign slogan, “No reconciliation without reparations” because of the almost insurmountable obstacles to the social and economic inclusion of victims of the gross human rights violations of the past in the absence of the adoption of specific measures to close the gaps of inequality and exclusion for its members for whom the past continues in the present.
Today Khulumani invites the “62% of South Africans who (according to the IJR survey) express a desire to forgive those who hurt others during Apartheid and the 64% who want the country to move forward in unity”, to support Khulumani in its lobbying for the R1,13 billion that remains in the President’s Fund to be used specifically to provide means for the bridging of the inequality gap affecting “those who struggled for freedom and justice in our country.”
Khulumani is today making public its proposals for the most effective use of The President’s Fund. Please find the proposals attached.
The IJR report explains that race relations are steadily improving while class relations are getting worse with wealth disparity happening overwhelmingly along racial lines. It reports that a higher percentage of black South Africans fall into the lowest four LSM (Living Standards Measure) groups than any other race group with 73,3% of white South Africans falling within the two highest LSM groups.
As explained in the report, “Material inequality is the biggest obstacle to national reconciliation, but the majority of the materially excluded are black South Africans”. What this means is that it is people who are materially better off who are more likely to be regularly in contact with persons of another race group. This is important because it is interracial contact and socialisation has been found to contribute most to reducing prejudice and negative stereotypes across the divisions in the country with most poor black South Africans being unable to access interracial middle-class city spaces.
Surprisingly South Africans in the middle (5–6) LSM groups report that there are no South Africans who are worse off than them, highlighting their lack of awareness of the plight of black and coloured South Africans in the lowest four LSM groups
IJR also notes an “inequality in the willingness of black and white South Africans to reach beyond racial and cultural divides.” White South Africans were found to be the least likely (27,3%) to say they wanted to learn more about the customs of others with only 11.7% of white people expressing a desire for more opportunities to talk to people of different races. When asked if “The Apartheid government wrongly oppressed the majority of South Africans”, 40% of white South Africans disagreed with the statement. Alsowhite South Africans were found to be 20–30% less likely to agree with the need to provide support to victims of apartheid or to embrace the understanding that economic re-dress is required for reconciliation.
What than can contribute to a genuine reconciliation in South Africa?
While some 62% of South Africans express a “desire to forgive those who hurt others during Apartheid and 64% want the country to move forward in unit,” the continuing obstacle to overcoming the divides in South Africa remains the attitudes and perceptions that those who remain excluded are there as a result of their own failures. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Khulumani has created extraordinary opportunities for willing South Africans to cross the continuing divides in the country and to have their lives enriched through the kinds of encounters that Khulumani is able to offer towards giving substance to the call of the IJR for the development of a radical reconciliation that would involve all South Africans in “building of bridges of understanding across lines of difference, especially where they have been reinforced by an unjust distribution of power” with exclusion being linked to imbalances in power relations.
These kinds of relationships would integrate the need for the material transformation of the lives of those still “most left out” with the promotion of psychosocial healing for people at both ends of the spectrum.
The achievement of economic justice is central to the process of reconciliation with the transformation of economic injustice requiring the building of “intersubjective awareness and social relationships across intersecting race and class boundaries.”
Khulumani has long struggled for making a radical reconciliation real in South Africa. All who wish to participate are invited to follow and to join Khulumani’s activities towards restoring the dignity of all people affected by apartheid and its structural violence. That is all of us.