Hail history, tear down corruption

THE utterances made by local UDM councillor Mongameli Bobani that the statues and monuments erected in earlier times should be demolished deserve a measured response.

I suspect that his utterances, which do nothing for reconciliation in our country, only serve to draw attention to himself and his miniscule support base.

May I suggest that he and other luddites read the book entitled They were South Africans by John Bond. I personally think it should be made compulsory reading at a senior school level.

The book was published at the height of the apartheid era when the Nats sought to smother the immense role that had been played by the English in the development of South Africa as we know it today.

In essence the book says that we must give credit where credit is due.

Who built the harbours, the first roads, the mountain passes, the railways, founded our cities, opened the gold, diamond and coal mines, established the sugar, wool, mohair and citrus industries and a multitude of other industries that today give gainful employment to thousands?

Who opened the banks and insurance companies and founded the free press so that we can read The Herald today?

And what of all the government structures that were created including our parliament, which is based on the Westminster model?

Who founded the major universities (including Fort Hare)?

We must not forget the great role played by the early missionaries who brought Christianity to our people, for besides the teachings of the Bible, they built the once great mission hospitals and schools.

As Bond says, the English missionaries had long since crossed the Orange River before the Great Trek had even commenced.

So if there are monuments and statues erected in recognition of their efforts, may I suggest that we live with them.

They are part of our history and their removal will not change our history in any way.

We now find ourselves in a new dispensation, but one that is riddled with corruption, crime, nepotism, tender rigging, our state law enforcement institutions stripped of their powers, the collapse of service provision and the enrichment of the few.

In 1994 the new regime inherited the so-called family silver. All the present government had to do was to polish and maintain it. I conclude this letter written by lamplight and rest my case.

-Ian Pringle, Lovemore Park

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