16 October 2010

Collateral damage and the death of Ubuntu

Ubuntu is dead.

A few weeks ago my blogging friend Tom Smith wrote In memory of Martha Molaudi | Soulgardeners:
On Thursday we lost a dear friend, Martha Molaudi. Martha lived with us from 2006. To the children she was like a second mom. Martha was a remarkable woman of courage. She was the main provider for seven people. She passed away on Thursday evening due to liver failure.

The circumstances surrounding her liver failure has caused me to reflect a lot.

It failed due to the negligence of the clinic that gave her the wrong tuberculosis medication. When she was finally admitted to the hospital the staff couldn’t give her the care she needed because of the strikes that lasted for three weeks. In the space of three months the medical systems failed her miserably.

During the strike I watched an interview where they asked a hospital worker what he thinks about people who will die as a result of him striking. He mentioned the phrase, “collateral damage”. Collateral damage had a name – Martha.

"Collateral damage" is one of the most obscene phrases in the English language that I know of, and is diametrically opposed to the spirit of Ubuntu. It is a euphemism used by terrorists for their killing of civilians. It was given popular currency during the Nato (the North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation) attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999. And when it is used by strikers to justify the deaths of those who die as a result of their actions, we know that we have lost our Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is dead. That is no different from the way in which terrorists use people as human shields and hostages. When we start talking casually of "collateral damage", Ubuntu is dead.

Let no one say that South Africa's guiding philosophy is Ubuntu. It's Greed, just like the rest of the world. Ubuntu is dead.

1 comment:

Tauratinswe said...

Unfortunately, ubuntu is dying throughout Africa and the world. We're losing our humanity in exchange for the love of wealth.


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