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Zizi Kodwa: This Is Why I Wrote My #BlackMonday Letter

“We may not change those who still yearn for the past…"

10/11/2017 14:26 SAST | Updated 10/11/2017 14:50 SAST

ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says that South Africans should undermine those who still "adore" apartheid.

In an interview with HuffPost SA, Kodwa was reflecting on his personal letter penned to #BlackMonday organisers Daniel Briers and Talita Basson, in which he commended the pair's commitment to raising awareness about farm murders in South Africa.

Kodwa's letter gained immense traction on social media, because it drew focus to race relations in the country.

READ: Kodwa's Full Letter To #BlackMonday Organisers.

"I was bewildered by a young girl, 21-year-old Talita... her courage and tenacity to organise such a march over three days and the turnout for me was amazing. And I knew that there was a problem, and I knew there must be something that inspired her to do what she did," Kodwa said.

"But also, I was bewildered by what I call jiggery-pokery. Some elements who hijacked what I thought was genuine of her... that jiggery-pokery overshadowed the genuine effort by her. I wanted to get in her mind, to understand what could have bothered a 21-year-old to the extent she would organise such a march."

The #BlackMonday event saw demonstrations against farm attacks taking place in major cities across the country, but was lambasted because small groups of supporters used apartheid insignia, like the old South African flag, in their protests –– this despite organisers urging them not to before the event.

"We have a collective responsibility... There's too much negativity around us as South Africans. We are too angry with one another, and to some extent we have forgotten the objective of our collective responsibility," Kodwa said.

"There's a widening gap on the basis of race, and we define whatever is happening around us on the basis of race... What must drive us every day is that we are not replacing white domination with black domination. Over time, we need to bring back that national conversation, so that we have a national consensus on who we are."

There's too much negativity around us as South Africans. We are too angry with one another.

He said there was a danger that South Africa may be reverting back to pre-1994 in terms of race relations, and that the country should instead be angry about crime but not attribute it to race.

"There are a few incidents which may give an impression in public that we are still a racist society; we aren't. Let's deal with those elements... This is a young generation that must be inspired about their role... Our struggle was never a struggle for revenge," he said.

"The younger generation must see that in us... At times, because we are too angry, we are not talking with one another, we are talking at each other... This creates a possibility that we may not achieve the objective of a non-racial and democratic South Africa. Every group in South Africa must have a sense of belonging."

This is a young generation that must be inspired about their role... Our struggle was never a struggle for revenge.

He said the start to a process of reconciliation is eradicating inequality.

"We've got to do something about inequality, because it is exactly the social-engineered policy of apartheid, the widening gap not just between rich and poor, but between white and black. We must address that. And in addressing that, it must not be at the isolation of another group of people," Kodwa said.

"We may not change those who still yearn for the past... The present and the future might have their own challenges, but the past can't be better than what we have now. There could be people who still adore apartheid... but we must undermine them, because they are a minority. They are few. We must not exaggerate [their size]... the majority must come out and say: 'We do not support you.'"