Thursday, October 25, 2007

Violent death of a reggae icon and vampires

Lucky Dube, international reggae icon, born, bred...... and died in South Africa, the latest famous, victim of our obsession with violence and blood- he has been bitten. What can ordinary street people however do to fight this foul tide. Zelda Jongbloed, in the wake of the Amabokoboko euphoria, calls (hopes) for a wave of protest against crime, others call for a return to more police 'kragdadigheid' ( strong-arm tactics) and then our Commissioner of Safety and Security is fighting (with the prez) for his public life, in the midst of rumors of involvement in the dark underground.

It seems to me that we need to acknowledge that many commentators did warn us against the unacceptable levels of economic inequality in our country. This is the breeding ground for social instability, for conflict. Then, there is also our obscene infatuation with violence and guns. It's in the movies we love, in the music we consume - I see it branded on the cell/mobile phones, drawings of our young people. Its a symbol of coming to age in our day to brandish an image of gold Glock an Uzzi and the list goes on. And then.... amidst pending legislation to protect our children against violent abuse, we fight for the right to bliksem them, to beat them up, so that they can become peace-loving adults.

I'd say, that amongst ourselves, from the smallest circle in our community we need to make a decision never to propagate or (even worse) to use violence as a means to an end. It might sound powerful (like Malcolm X) to scream, 'by all means possible !' or to have 'armourbearers' escorting us, or making public statements that police must (if need be) shoot to kill, but these actions contradicts the deepest values we yearn for. We can embody with our children, students or colleagues a spirit and practice of non-violence of restorative justice of community. This does not mean a lack of discipline or order, it does however affirm the value and dignity of life. I still hope that the legacy of violence and current idolization of the adage, 'get rich ( by all means possible)or die trying...' should not shape the values we live by... It only sustains and entrench a materialist culture of death, that sucks our lifeblood... you have been bitten by a vampire, now you're also a vampire. We need to confront the social forces lurking in the dark alleys, to feed the forces like justice and peace to shape our world.
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