According to reporter Sara Malm, a reporter for Mail Online, a newspaper out of England (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290213/South-Africa-angry-nation-brink-dangerous-warns-Nelson-Mandelas-wife.html), the wife of former president Nelson Mandela has warned that South Africa has become an ‘angry nation’ as a result of its refusal to deal with its sordid apartheid past.
Human rights activist Graca Machel, 67, said the African nation is on the brink of ‘something very dangerous’ which it may not be able to stop.
Graca Machel is a Mozambican and the third wife of ANC icon Nelson Mandela. She was speaking at the memorial service of a taxi driver who died in police custody after officers tied his hands to the back of their van and dragged him to this death.
Machel, said South Africa is ‘bleeding and breathing pain’.
The incident occurred after a taxi driver Mido Macia was alleged to have argued over a traffic violation. The South African police handcuffed the 27-year-old man to their vehicle in front of a horrified crowd.
He was found dead two hours later in a police cell in the Daveyton township of Johannesburg days later.
At the memorial for the dead taxi driver, Mrs. Machel said South Africa’s anger came from ‘unaddressed issues’ referring to the nation’s history of apartheid, according to a report in The Telegraph.
Speaking at the funeral, Mrs. Machel, said the nation’s reluctance to deal with its past has resulted in an ‘increasing institutionalization of violence and a police force which is ‘actively aggressive’ towards the public.
Mahel stated that:
“South Africa is an angry nation. We are on the precipice of something very dangerous with the potential of not being able to stop the fall” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/9916310/South-Africa-is-an-angry-nation-on-the-brink-warns-Nelson-Mandelas-wife.html).
She went on to state that ‘the level of anger and aggression is rising. This is an expression of deeper trouble from the past that has not been addressed. We have to be more cautious about how we deal with a society that is bleeding and breathing pain.’
She spoke out as South Africa’s justice system has grown increasingly synonymous with police brutality.
This is not the first time such an incident has occurred. In 2011 a man was beaten to death by police during a peaceful protest in the Free State and last year, police opened fire on workers during a miners strike, killing 34 people.
Another recent case highlighting the nation’s culture of violence and high number of private gun owners is that of fallen Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius’s fatal shooting of his partner Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, who has been currently released on bail, argues that he accidentally shot his model girlfriend believing her to be a burglar, using one of several firearms he kept at his mansion.
Machela’s comments are likely to rattle ruling neo-liberal party, the ANC, which has ruled the blood soaked nation since the abolition of apartheid.
President Zuma, speaking to traditional leaders in parliament on Thursday of last week, commented that despite the events of recent weeks, it was wrong to paint his country as an “inherently violent place to live in’. He stated:
“South Africa is not (a) violent country. It is certain people in our country who are violent. By and large we are not; we are peace-loving people” (ibid).
Right. Meanwhile South Africa’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate reported 232 deaths in police custody and another 488 deaths as a result of police action from early 2011 to early 2012, a ten per cent drop over the previous year but still a painful reminder of continuing police violence.
If much of this sounds like the US, it should. The legacy of slavery in the US and the so-called “post racial” society is littered with police violence, especially against minorities and people of color. The fact that gun violence in post-apartheid S. Africa and heightened gun possession parallels the US should not go unnoticed.