Let me start by saying I understand your frustration. Your parents and grand parents have fought Apartheid for you to have a better future and witness the beauty of life. Yet, after fifteen years of independence, freed from the oppression of the Boer, you still find yourself in the same dire situation if not worse.
You are fed up and I am with you. You wanna do something, hurt someone like you have been hurt, maybe all your life. You have been looking for the weakest enemy to do these things to. Some person the authority doesn’t know or care much about. And who would fit that profile better than migrants from neighbouring countries, whose homes have been torn down by their tragic leader. You have directed your anger to them, saying you want your country back. You have accused them of stealing your jobs. The same thing we are hearing in Europe from the natives.
From the day the Zimbabweans entered South Africa as refugees, they have become the victim of abuse, robbery and verbal assault. But if you give your actions a second thought, you will see that you are attacking the wrong enemy. Instead, you are attacking your brother. You should feel his pain and see his struggle as if it is yours. We need that bond of brotherhood, especially in these hard times. Both of your histories have so much in common. Your two countries have witnessed for a century the same struggle. Only recently you have freed yourselves from a brutal European colonist, thanks to individuals as well as both your country men and women. So it comes as a surprise to me to see you fighting amongst one and another. You are fighting your brothers and sisters, indicating to the world that there is no brotherhood.
I do not see you as a criminal or a sick person. I look at you as my brother. With a better out start through education, you were bound to be a great man. It is sad to know how many women are raped yearly. It is sad to learn that many innocent girls are being attacked on the streets and in their homes. We have cursed the white men for raping our sisters and mothers. And now you are taking that role with pride. How could you cause so much pain, emotionally and physically, to our mothers and sisters? It hurts me to see you this way. This cannot go on like this. Fight the right war, don’t fight your own.
I understand your anger. I personally know what poverty means. I have lived it and know what it does to people. I have seen how brothers killed one and another over money. I have seen how a mother sold her child to take care of her other two children. I have seen a father desperately taking the life of his only son at the request of a voodoo priest, to become wealthy. Nevertheless, we should not be discouraged. There lies a great task ahead of us. We are the sons of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. All these individuals and others have given up their freedom and lives to make sure the United Nations of Africa will rise up one day.
I was sad when I learned about the death of Lucky Dube. We killed our general, who spoke for the poor and stood up against the government. The government likes to see us turn the focus on ourselves, so he can governs without scrutiny. The time has come to find the positive in ourselves and rise up again. Let’s go out there in the streets and send a strong but united message to our leaders that we, the people, are not that ignorant. We are watching and we will remember when election comes. Instead of being hostile towards one and another, let us turn to each other and let’s do so in peace. Let us turn to each other for help, comfort and advice. Let’s not any longer turn to each other and shed blood. For we are and will always be, brothers and sisters.
I see in you the new Nelson Mandela, Stephen Biko and Desmond Tutu. I see in you a lawyer, a doctor and an architect. I see in you all, the best we have in us. And I hope starting from today you will see it too.