Action speak louder than words

I think the point David McDermott Hughes was trying to make in ‘Belong Awkwardly’ (17 February, pg 36) was not understood judging by the readers’ letters published recently.

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What I think he was saying is, if you stay in a community or join a society, be careful of how you present yourself. If the perception among the society is that you were given an unfair advantage over others through more land, naturally some people are not going to like it.

Big corporate companies have shown themselves to be wiser by realising that they have a social responsibility to their communities. They do this to show that they care about the community. Many white farmers don’t care. They don’t greet the village folk and never give them a lift to town even if they know the pedestrians. Farm labourers will be piled in the back of a bakkie in the middle of winter while the family pet sits in the cabin in front.

The workers will have their own churches and schools for their ‘kind’. White farmers will host braais and not even invite the village chief or councillor. Marriage outside the racial line is sacrilegious. Indeed people are entitled to freedom of choice, association and expression. Many try to avoid the words racism and segregation nowadays.

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We can avoid saying anything, but actions speak louder than words and some people never show any humanitarian actions to others. Seeds of discord are sown by these in society and soon the whole country will be sitting on a time bomb. Relationships will deteriorate, more stock will be stolen, emotions will run high and rational thinking will become a thing of the past.

Many things could turn really nasty like they did in Zimbabwe and will result in unnecessary bloodshed. Obviously we don’t want that. These are the repercussions of segregation and David McDermott Hughes was trying to advise white farmers to tread more carefully and consciously make a deliberate effort not to antagonise blacks.