No easy escape from our plagues, past and present

24 May 2020 - 00:02 By SUNDAY TIMES EDITORIAL

Even in the midst of an existential crisis, the legacy of SA's racist past plagues us like a many-headed hydra. If it wasn't for apartheid, experts tell the Sunday Times today, the Covid-19 nightmare playing itself out in Khayelitsha and other townships carefully conceived to provide unhealthy living conditions would not be anywhere near as bad. Without apartheid, it's possible that two teenage aspiring beauty queens - one white, the other black - would not have used the n-word in tweets that have come back to bite them up to a decade later by providing the highly flammable tinder that social media never hesitates to douse with petrol.

It doesn't help that to a large extent sound-bites have replaced nuance and Twitter's 280-character limit has reduced every argument to black vs white. It's "the Nats built Khayelitsha, it's all their fault" vs "the ANC has had 26 years to fix it". Or "Bianca Schoombee and Oneida Cooper were impressionable teenagers, give them a break" vs "once a racist, always a racist, off with their heads"...

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