Nation building isn’t something which can be enforced through legislation. It is something which has to happen voluntarily. It has to come from the heart. The ANC’s unilateral portrayal of South Africa’s history is currently creating an environment which is not conducive to nation building.
The speech that Dr. Mulder, Leader f the FF Plus delivered in the budget debate of the Department of Arts and Culture, follows below:
One of the tasks of this department is social cohesion and nation building. How is this done? Can one force nation building through legislation and obligatory actions?
No, one cannot.
People who do not want to pay tax can be forced by fining them and prosecuting them until they pay taxes.
People who do not obey road rules can be forced with fines and speed traps.
But, the previous government could not force Mr. Nelson Mandela to think like them even though they kept him in jail for decades.
In the same vain this government cannot force me or any minority group to accept a nation building recipe if we do not agree with it.
Successful nation building has to be voluntary – otherwise it will not succeed.
That is why I say that this department’s task to make social cohesion and nation building succeed is more difficult than any other department’s task.
The ANC’s struggle history is an important part of South Africa’s history. It is however only part of the history which stretches from the establishment of the ANC in 1912 to 1994. There is also the Khoi and San’s struggle history, the Griqua’s; the Afrikaner’s struggle history against the British and many more.
At present, the ANC’s struggle history is commemorated on every public holiday. We only hear about it in speeches. The rest is kept silent.
One example: In my home town Potchefstroom the city council’s policy during the last hundred years was that no street would be named after a political figure. There isn’t a Verwoerd, Vorster or PW Botha street. Only persons, who had made a contribution to the town, were named in street names. After the ANC took over, this was changed. The streets are now only named after ANC heroes. The PAC approached me and complained that their heroes, such as Robert Sobukwe, did not have streets named after them; the Khoi came to complain about Autshumao, the Afrikaners came to demand that their heroes such as Gen. De Wet or De La Rey should also have streets named after them.
The same goes for statues. It is important that statues should reflect our whole history. One cannot have only Afrikaner statues or just ANC struggle heroes and hide the rest of our history as if it did not happen at all. That is why Afrikaners left colonial statues such as the statues of Queen Victoria or Rhodes following their victory in 1948. I had proposed in 1995 on behalf of the Freedom Front in this parliament that a statue of President Mandela be added to Parliament. It was enthusiastically accepted by the ANC, but it was never done.
Now the youth, who have only been raised with ANC struggle history and heroes, is storming statues of President Kruger, my hero and other heroes from the struggle of the Afrikaners against British imperialism and European colonialism.
In this way we cannot accomplish nation building. You cannot force me and other groups with legislation or other actions to relinquish that from the past which is important to us.
You can however obtain our and other groups’ voluntary and enthusiastic cooperation if we feel there is also some space for us and for that which is important to us.
Currently this department is not succeeding in finding that nation building recipe which will lead to everyone’s voluntary cooperation.
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