By: Natasha Archary
Beyond the public holiday, what does Human Rights Day mean to South Africans today? Or is it just a day we reflect on the 69 lives lost in 1960? Ignoring the current situation in our country as it stands presently?
When we talk about Human Rights Day, we always go back to the past. Rehashing the repercussions of an apartheid government who did not care about lives lost and did little for equality amongst its people.
If anything the narrative on social media on public holidays seems to drive one point home, “never forget.” Remember what our forefathers have fought for. Don’t you forget the struggle and sacrifice, the blood spilled.
Twenty five years post-apartheid the most we do to take a stand against something today, is join a hashtag movement behind our screens. We’ve become silent keyboard warriors. Faceless and often nameless, hiding behind our on-screen handles and user accounts. Is this the change we wish to be?
The current state of affairs, with threats of a nationwide blackout, weeks before the 2019 elections is the perfect example of this virtual war we seem to be waging. It’s falling on deaf ears. No one is taking our digital rants seriously.
Social media activism
With South African’s over loadshedding and threats of water restrictions as a direct result, is a tweet really all the fight we have left? Is this how we force a change for the better? Or are we so focused on the rights we were robbed of in the past that we don’t seem to care about our rights now?
Access to better education for our kids, at safer schools, with educators who have been screened. Safer streets so women can no longer feel like prey. Better public transport where vehicles are actually roadworthy and not public death traps. Free quality healthcare at state run facilities. Sustainable energy so our parastatals can stop holding us ransom because of their inability to manage funds.
Our human rights are and will continue to be violated if we are happy to appease our leaders and look the other way. Do the homeless on our streets who approach us for 10c at the traffic intersections know that 10c buys them nothing today? Are they aware that they have rights too?
Like the right not to be evicted and have their belongings tossed into trash dumps, discarded as ‘rubbish’. Or the right to dignity and adequate shelter?
Who fights for the rights of children who are abused daily? Does anyone account for the 41% of all rape cases that were reported in the country last year all of whom were defenceless children? What are we doing to enforce women’s rights issues?
Taking to Twitter, sharing the viral videos and posting a status update does nothing to make a difference.