The past few weeks have been an emotional time on campus. Deep wounds of discrimination, inequality and inhumanity surfaced again, to remind us of an unhappy past. Sometimes one thoughtless event is all you need to disrupt and undo all the good from the past.
I wish I could say this will never happen again. Our country bears the scars of a deeply divided past that lives on in the present, and it will be our future leaders that are currently sitting in our lecture halls that will have to work hard to close this divide effectively and create a country where people are not discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or any other source of division.
Have you ever walked in a restaurant where there are people of different races, and suddenly realised how one group ignore the other, almost as if they are not there: invisible? I have. This act of inhumanity happens in our country. Not acknowledging a person for who and what they are (a person) is nothing more than inhumane. They are black. They are white. They are coloured. Not invisible. Not ghostly figures.
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (which translates into a person is a person through other persons) is the basis of Ubuntu and should be the mantra we carry in ourselves and in the way we live. Nelson Mandela found that the power of Ubuntu, the inner core of every person's humanity, could move mountains. And so can we if we live by it.
I am confident that retired Constitutional Court Justice Sisi Khampepe's Commission of Enquiry into “Incidents of racism at the University, with reference to the recent occurrences at Huis Marais and the Faculty of Law's Law Dance" as well as “The current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the University campus culture, with specific reference to racism" will help us to understand these difficulties and will make practical recommendations to help us become the University we aspire to be.