Should have kept thoughts unspoken

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WITH reference to the Unspoken Thoughts column in The Herald of September 24, “‘Braai the beloved country’ on contentious day”, I wish to highlight a few statements in the article that I consider divisive rather than unifying.

My first question is what gives Kazeka Mashologu Kuse, who represents one of the many cultural groups in the country, the right to prescribe to other cultural groups what their heritage ought to be and how not to celebrate it?

Contrary to another statement of hers, nobody of the braai brigade renamed this day National Braai Day. Only the government claims the right to rename things, especially things of heritage importance to other groups.

How does an informal reference to Braai Day “reduce people’s identities and history”?

It will be interesting to know what she implies and how it is done.

She states it is “an insult to South Africa’s brand”. What South African brand? Even the government recognises that cultural diversity exists, so there can hardly be a single “brand”.

What reaction does she expect anyway? All braai stands to be destroyed, and next year we gather at concentration camp sites and embark on boycotting all future sport events with England?

No, we won’t, because we don’t look backwards as we move forward to face the challenges at hand.

I am not surprised that, as she puts it, white friends don’t share her sense of freedom when she visits the Apartheid Museum. I’m sure she would not share our sense of heritage during a visit to the Voortrekker or Taal monuments.

In reaction to the second last paragraph of the article where she discloses that “burning wors and steak on a braai stand only ends with meat down the toilet the next day”. I consider this low, hollow journalism.

She may, however, be reminded that whatever she consumed on braai day followed the same route.

In The Herald of September 25 an article and picture about black people braaiing in Motherwell was published. What now?

On the same page was an article about Heritage Day revellers booing Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in Mdantsane. What kind of unification is this within the same cultural group?

Perhaps a braai would have been the answer.

Why does Mashologu Kuse not, in her wisdom, make a serious effort to identify some common denominators?

Mother Nature and the resources she provides, for one. That is why some cultural groups embarked on olive tree planting elsewhere in the country – with a braai afterwards.

To summarise: the article carries a strong undertone of racism, hatred and resentment, and did nothing to enhance national pride and unification. On the contrary, it probably did much more damage than the braais.

B Venter, Port Elizabeth

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