As we have a “free choice” week, and I am currently on holiday in my home country of South Africa, I thought I would take the theme literally and talk about freedom- specifically, a certain South African who fought for equality in a segregated country.
Nelson Mandela spent 18 years on Robben Island, 7 years in Pollsmore Prison and another 2 years as a prisoner before his release and eventual success in becoming South Africa’s first black president. Why was he arrested for so long? Because he wanted to bring an end to the apartheid.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Mandela. I’m sure you’ve heard of his book titled “Long Walk to Freedom”. The question I want to know is why it took so long for a country to realise that everybody is equal. No matter what their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion… And it’s not just South Africa. America has also been an incredibly segregated country, not only based on racial equality, but even now with same sex marriage becoming legal in all 50 states, and there are still people protesting about it. We are living in 2015, and I find it ridiculous that people still think others are inferior… It angers me.
Mandela had a dream to create “the rainbow nation”. In a sense he did, but now, as both a tourist and a local, I have seen for myself that there is still massive differences between black and white people. There are thousands of poor people, mostly black, living in townships while there are numerous white people living a life of luxury in their enormous houses and swimming pools.
I know some things are hard to change. We can’t just build giant houses for everyone. But we can at least make a start by raising awareness and telling people that racism and segregation still exist in a way. Being half South African myself, I feel like something has to be done, and I find it crazy that we haven’t sorted out this whole thing sooner.
The human race has made a lot of progress over the last 50 years. We can still do loads more to make a brighter future.