December 16: a celebration of SA’s make-believe reconciliation

13 December 2020 - 00:00

If Nelson Mandela were alive today, what would he say about the state of the nation on Reconciliation Day? Would he see a more united, more humane country than he found when he left prison 30 years ago? Or would he ponder the wreckage of a failed nation-building project, rent by racial division and economic inequality?

Since the Battle of Ncome (or Blood River) on December 16 1838, the day we now know as Reconciliation Day has evolved to reflect the nation’s power balance — between coloniser and colonised, between haves and have-nots. Today it symbolises the post-Codesa national stalemate...

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