Tuesday, February 19, 2008

to pledge or not to pledge

In principle there should be no harm in our children making a pledge towards a common South African-ness. This is a good idea. Many have responded with concern over the content, others over the language, and others over the ideology behind it.

Whilst both Pres Mbeki and Me Pandor stressed that the content is up for debate, most of these reactions react to a supposed imposition on a highly diverse SA populace. The more appropriate question however seems to be: what are those values that bind us together, as South Africans and how do we package it, succinctly and on the level of our children. What make us unique and proud? Its here that the values of the constitution cuts across our differences, as the symbol of our national consensus (at least for now)

One thing we all, including our Prez etc have to remember, though is that we should not overestimate this little pledge in terms of what can achieve. As the flag, the anthem, and the constition itself, its value lies in the mythology and symbolism of representing the ideals we measure ourselves against and live for. As with the constitution, it also becomes the standard we call our leaders, including government towards, even where they are called to task.

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