It’s Freedom Day in South Africa. Our national holiday, the equivalent to the 4th of July. We had a rocky start to the year and I have had to decide whether I still believe in the things that this holiday represents. At it’s essence this holiday commemorates the advent of South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy with universal suffrage. It was when as a country we decided to take a progressive and pro-human rights stance.
For me, the South African Constitution is an amazing document, and it represents a promise of what we want to achieve. Some parts of the document, especially in the Bill of Rights are aspirational and are unlikely to be fully realized in our current economic and technological climate, but it is a commitment to our future selves and future generations. It is where we say that we will do our best to make things like universal healthcare and education a reality, where we can genuinely feel safe and become safe. It says that we promise to learn from our mistakes…to look at our history and our future and choose what is best for the country, even if it means that it may be difficult for us now. It echoes Cicero’s arguments on Good and Evil that sometimes we need to defer pleasure for a greater gain in the future.
Even though my world was shaken when my dad was murdered…when his Constitutional rights to bodily integrity, life and property were violated without any process, I believe in the importance of the Constitution. I believe that we need to keep our promises. I believe we need to look at what our freedom cost and not give it up.
I realize that this post may seem incredibly naive and yet while I type I remember my dad telling Camilla after I left the lounge sobbing after a scene in Braveheart that I am similar to my mother. I am choosing to look at how things are and how I want them to be, and choose the better path. Just like those who campaigned for South Africa’s freedom did.
Love and freedom,