On Tuesday, 19 May, The Black Sash celebrates its 60th anniversary. Started in 1955 over a cup of tea by six middle-class white women outraged by the then-government’s attempts at removing “coloured” citizens from the voter’s roll, the Black Sash developed into a powerful force for protest and change and served as a visible prod to the consciences of those who implemented and benefited from an unjust system.
Do we actually understand the consequences of xenophobia? Can our rulers even begin to fathom the cost of the breakdown of social cohesion? We must have a brutally honest discussion with ourselves as South Africans.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”