05 July, 2009

Turn a blind eye to discrimination

By Jane Mathebula

After 15 years of democratic rule in South Africa, the impact of apartheid continues to be the biggest topic of political debates. A major concern is whether transformation has really occurred within all spheres in society and if so to what extent.

Justice of Constitutional Court of South Africa and Chairperson of the South African National Council for the blind, Zac Yacoob is certainly one of those who is unconvinced about the speed of transformation.

In a conversational session held during Think!Fest on 4 July at Rhodes, Judge Yacoob reflected on the efforts to transform South Africa post-1994. His prime concern is for people who are physically challenged. As a representative for blind people, Judge Yacoob said that although the South African constitution dictates that we’re all equal, this does not mean that we’re treated equally.

After a thoroughly enjoyable speech, I suddenly thought that when we debate the struggle for freedom, we tend to focus on racial in-equality and marginalise people who are physically challenged.

All should take into account that people with disabilities also fit in the struggle to live in a peaceful society where there is equal concern for all.

Jane Mathebul is a 2nd year Journalism student at the University of Johannesburg. She is currently participating in the Future Journalist Programme (FJP) Winter School at Rhodes University.

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