Letter: Reflect now on reason for Freedom Day

I WONDER how many white people took the time yesterday to stop what they were doing and reflect on the reason for Freedom Day. Many whites would have seen yesterday as another public holiday and hoped for good weather to braai or go to the beach, and if the weather was bad, maybe a movie or the mall.

Business owners may well have seen yesterday as an interference with their income, or if they own a factory or production facility, they might have seen yesterday as a loss of output resulting in a loss of income.

How many white South Africans realise, or take the time to reflect, that yesterday, 22 years ago, all South Africans could vote in freedom for the first time in our history, something which many whites took for granted. We must remember not only the long queues of thousands of people wanting to vote, or photos of Nelson Mandela casting his vote for the first time, but we must remember the thousands of South African citizens who perished fighting for this very day to happen.

Those who fought for our freedom did not only fight the apartheid government’s ideologies, but started fighting the moment white people came from Europe in 1652 and colonised their own lands. I hope my fellow whites will reflect on indigenous people becoming slaves, literally, and being exposed to diseases and illness not of their making but brought by the Europeans.

I hope that all South Africans, of all colours, take their time to reflect that we are free to vote, that citizens of many countries in the world are not able to vote as a result of religion, gender, dictatorships, etc. I also hope that all those who are eligible to vote in the upcoming elections do so in honour of those who sacrificed so much for the opportunity for all us South Africans to stand in front of a ballot box and cast our votes.

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