The Importance of Speaking Up

I felt a little under qualified blogging a few weeks ago on my impressions of South Africa. I was only there for a week after all and who am I to judge the ANC’s today after such a long and painful struggle against apartheid? But I found the language used by them against Archbishop Desmond Tutu yesterday particularly interesting.

That the ANC would accuse a man of the standing of Archbishop Tutu of ‘sacrilege’ because he had the temerity to suggest that Jacob Zuma should establish his innocence through the courts rather than by political means (i.e. quashing the verdict) is quite disturbing to me and confirms some of the fears I heard expressed by South Africans in my original posting.

It is very depressing to think that one of the shining lights of African reconciliation and frankly one of the few engines of economic growth in the region is starting to shroud its politiccs in the kind of language that would not have seemed out of place in the repressive regimes of Mao and Stalin.

Archbishop Tutu is an ageing but uniquely brave and vocal figure, ‘the conscience of the nation’ as they say. I just hope there are a few more South Africans to stand in his footsteps when he can no longer play this role.


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