How long must white people suffer?

Living in Alberton has taught me there is more to life than what I had perceived it to be – one major lesson I learned being, ‘suffering is relative’.

While society clearly understands the suffering of black people, we should be concerned about how local government, through its lack of implementing its policies or in some cases poor planning, continues to lessen the value of beautiful towns such as Alberton.

Thinking of the destroyed statue at the Alberton Boulevard, after a truck crashed into the iconic statue, and the Swartkoppies Bridge, one has to question government’s commitment to deliver quality services.

While others may be too quick to point out the suffering of black people, allow me to say – I am fully aware of that suffering and the extent in which they had to endure the pain. What I am addressing is the failure to encourage patriotism among the white community. It is as though we failed to uphold the legacy of Mandela.

South Africa did not become a free country so we could ‘oppress’ others. Whether we would like to admit it or not, poor services and denying white people their sense of belonging is a form of oppression.

It is what is seen as a little thing such as replacing a historic statue and failure to rebuild the bridge after countless promises were made that makes people lose hope – it is what makes them feel they are made to ‘suffer’. Granted, this suffering cannot be compared to that of what black people had to endure.

Every South African deserves to have a sense of belonging, irrespective of colour or background – we need to realise that we are all South Africans.

A black man needs to realise that his freedom means nothing if a white man’s life has become devalued in some way, as the Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mondli Gungubele would say, “Our aim is to make sure we provide equal services to everyone, we do not do so by lessening the standard of living in Alberton, but we continue to strive towards improving the lives of those in townships.”

When we speak of equality, we should not seek vengeance – rather a system that allows us to instil hope in all society, because as South Africans… we deserve better!