We are not free while freedom is still locked up

In 1976 in Soweto,hundreds of school children confronted white police who opened fire on them, it was kids’ initiative and courage to act and try to bring about change. They sacrificed their lives for the state to be liberated, and many were brutally killed.

Siyabonga Memela, 2017 Activator said Freedom is a state of being able to create options and choose from those options. “Justice has not been made as well as reconciliation,” said Siya. For reconciliation to happen whites have to give back the ambitions that were stolen from black people “mostly the Azania (Land)” he added.

Siya said the freedom that the youth of 1976 were fighting for is still a vision as it is alive in words, “To me freedom is limited, for the individuals to experience freedom they need to have power – economically, culturally, politically.” Apartheid is not dead, politicians are using technics to colour-blind the black mind, they drum peoples mind to believe that they are free, while they are landless and living in slums with shortage of service delivery. He also emphasises that the SA system is promoting capitalism, most of the people who are in power see the citizens as a economic and profit motive, which is similar to the apartheid regime, “The main question I have is, we are freed from what?” People are not free while freedom is still locked up, apartheid continues by other means. Siya outlined that the education system is a stimulation of apartheid, and it brainwashes people and instils the idea of being employed and prevents the innovations that black people have.

With a bittersweet voice he mentioned that people are dying from poverty while the powered political leaders’ live luxurious lives, “It is painful to sleep with an empty stomach not knowing whether you will find something to eat or not when the sun rises.” He concluded by saying that apartheid is not dead but it was upgraded to being a psychological fight, black people have to tighten their belt and see beyond what is being presented to them, and develop their mental and physical state.



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Literary Nigerian treasure, Ben Okri, has called on South Africans to find innovative ways to heal the wounds. At his speech (click to hear podcast) at the Steve Biko memorial lecture event last year, he said that for most of his life it seemed unthinkable that Apartheid would ever end. It seemed like an unalterable fact, like fate, or the moon, or hunger. He described apartheid as a long, nightmare-laden sleep, and the democratic era as a new day.