Monday, 31 January 2011

Revising history to excuse the present

By Robin Hind

One recent example is Operation House Number, an attempt to give addresses to informal settlement dwelling, in order to make it easier for the emergency services to locate individuals rapidly.

In announcing this the South African Broadcasting Corporation stated, in its 19.00h news bulletin on 25th January, that the absence of house numbers and street names had arisen because of apartheid as people tried to protect themselves from the security forces by anonymity.

Let us leave aside a dismissal of this ludicrous statement (because those with knowledgeable perspective to argue otherwise will meet the blank wall of inflexible assertion). However, a reality which is impossible to deny is that seventeen years have passed since apartheid was abolished, effectively a whole generation, but no attempt was made in that time by the residents to identify their house number . Why? There can be no other explanation than indolence, inertia, civic incapability, and the assumption that some superior group would eventually do this for these communities. It might then be justifiably wondered if these were not the true reasons why the problem had arisen in the first instance, totally unrelated to apartheid.

Such is the glaring irrationality that one wonders if the temerity of misinformation should not be tempered with embarrassment. However, it seems that this is not the case, perhaps because state organizations in South Africa, such as the South African Broadcasting Corporation, lack the insight and comprehension capabilities to be embarrassed.

The continued obsession with disinformation in South Africa (and the national disharmony which it causes) over-rides all reason and any desire for societal reconciliation

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