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Sat Dec 03 04:21:53 SAST 2016

Racism will continue until its roots are addressed‚ says Motlanthe

Penelope Mashego | 2016-10-18 13:13:04.0
Kgalema Motlanthe. File photo.
Image by: THULI DLAMINI

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe on Tuesday said South Africa will continue to be haunted by racism if the country does not address its material basis.

Motlanthe said legislation had been put in place to deal with racial slurs. But until its roots‚ such as infrastructure disparities in communities‚ were dealt with‚ SA will forever be in the shadow of racial discrimination.

"Truth be told‚ we will not be able to rid ourselves of racial attitudes until we close those gaps of infrastructure backlog‚" he said.

Motlanthe was speaking at a "reporting on race" conference hosted by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation‚ the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism‚ and the Canadian High Commission.

He gave the example of a rugby match held in Orlando Stadium in Soweto where Blue Bulls players found themselves celebrating their win with local black people.

He said their coming together and managing to have a good time with each other showed how having infrastructure could cut through racial lines.

The former president also said it was important for journalists reporting on race to ensure that they did so in a discerning manner.

"The race reporting toolkit should not demand conformity‚" said Motlanthe.

The High Commissioner of Canada‚ Sandra McCardell‚ who was also present at the conference‚ said her country looked at South Africa as an example of how to deal with racism because there were open‚ frank discussions about racism. She said xenophobia and racism were universal problems but the way SA had been dealing with both issues‚ gave the country a unique and credible voice.

Speaking before Motlanthe‚ singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka thanked Ahmed Kathrada‚ who was also at the conference‚ for the part he played in the liberation struggle.

"I call myself a proud South African because I’ve been given back my dignity‚" she said.

She said conversations about racism should not still be taking place in 2016 but unfortunately they had to because racism was still there and was a tool used by bullies to disrespect others.

- TMG Digital/BusinessLive

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