No Freedom When Racism Still Rears Its Ugly Head, Says Mbeki
BYLINE: CHRISTELLE TERREBLANCHE
President Thabo Mbeki has called on South Africans "to unite in action" to confront the "savagery of racism" along with the challenges of high food and fuel prices.
Mbeki stressed that even after 14 years of democracy, South Africans cannot be truly free while there are still too many poverty-stricken citizens and "insidious and blatant racism" still lingered in all sectors of society.
"Indeed, we cannot claim to be truly free when insidious and blatant racism still exist in our society; we cannot claim to be truly free when racism still rears its ugly head in our institutions of higher learning, in the media, in the private sector, in the boardrooms and with the xenophobic occurrences that we observed in some communities in recent weeks," the president said yesterday in Lansdowne in his last Freedom Day speech as president.
Mbeki said the widespread condemnation of recent acts of racism and xenophobia showed that "South Africans will not tolerate people who want to drag us back into the savagery of racism and apartheid".
He said that if people even suspected someone of attacks on foreigners, they should alert the police, and warned that they should not take the law in their own hands.
The brutalities of the past - such as detention without trial, disappearances, exile, assassinations, forced removal and the Group Areas Act - were "testimonies that our freedom was never free". …