The rainbow nation: conscience and self adjudication for social justice, governance and development in the New South Africa.

Author:Boaduo, Nana Adu-Pipim

The colonialists branded Africa as the Dark Continent. When they brought the sun with them to shine on the continent and the darkness was dispersed, they deliberately instituted systems of rule that propagated the dehumanization of Africans in any part of the continent that they settled; plunging Africa into further abyss of darkness, even darker than what they first came to find. The South African experience was outstanding in this plunging perspective. The philosophy of racial segregation endorsed officially by the minority Apartheid government was enforced with brutality unequal to the Hitler genocide. Through this deliberate act of dehumanization the Apartheid system created and nurtured social injustice, education inequality and socio-political segregation. The Apartheid system indoctrinated its kit and kin to falsely believe in white supremacy over other ethnic groups. The fight to end this obnoxious, unsustainable and despicable philosophy led to protracted attacks and alienation among ethnic South Africans. From 1990 to 1993 South Africa ushered in a new philosophical and political ideology of reconciliation which climaxed in 1994. Thus, this political change requires new education to humanize all South Africans. How the new education can humanize South Africans is the core purpose of this analytical paper. The author believes that all South Africans should receive a new education through institutions of learning, especially tertiary. Therefore, higher education institutions need to take a leading role and develop courses to educate, provide guiding initiatives for open consciousness and thus, change mindsets. It is when this is done that there can be self-adjudication, social justice and human rights for the economic, educational, industrial and other developments to provide for a safe life for all.

Key Concepts: Adjudication, self-adjudication, alienation, conscience, consciousness, contemporary, conscientice, dehumanize, dehumanization, development, domesticated, humanized, indoctrination, institutionalization, mindset, new education, re-education, refinement, retributive attitudes, retributive emotions, moral judgment, wretchedness.


South Africa has a problem which is not yet resolved after fifteen years of democracy. This problem is not a problem of sharing of values of either material, spiritual or cultural. It is rather a group of selfish settlers (whites) seeking to have and retain all irrespective of who is left with nothing (Motlhabi, 1987). South Africa, unlike any other country on the planet earth has had a peculiar history of racial segregation officially endorsed and enforced by the state for over half a century (Berki, 1977). This deliberate act of dehumanisation of one racial group by another has been the most inhuman act to be instituted against human beings. Apartheid can best be defined as the deliberate upliftment of the consciousness of the white South African against the deliberate down-trodding of the black South African. This act of dehumanization created and nurtured a problem in which the whole world, overtly and covertly was called upon to intervene to bring it to an end (Motlhabi, 1987; Mathonsi, 1988; Joyce, 1990; Moyana, 1989). Hence, the official institutionalisation of the apartheid policy led its adherents to psychologically indoctrinate their kit and kin to falsely believe that whites are super-human beings while blacks are sub-human (Marks & Trapido, 1987). The fight to end this obnoxious philosophy led to protracted hatred, attacks on innocent people and neighbouring countries by the apartheid fundamentalists which generated hatred among racial groups in South Africa and culminated inthe setting up of the "homelands" and the development of townships with no life supporting activities. All of this contributed to the nursing and nurturing of crime hardened individuals bent on revenge at the slightest provocation. In fact, apartheid led to the development of retributive-reactive attitudes among all population groups. And thus, the results of the dehumanization process endangered everyone in South Africa. However, apartheid's worst contribution was that it impeded the development and acquisition of worthwhile education for all South Africans including the development of segregated social, political and economic infrastructures. And indeed, as stated above, the worst of all was the nurturing of retributive reactive attitudes among all South Africans leading to all sorts of confrontations at the slightest provocation. And in fact, there had been direct relationship between having a particular emotional response to unjust treatment and properly grasping the wrongness of the wrong as well as the perpetrators' culpability and properly condemning the wrong--which was apartheid.

Philosophically, people have defended and criticised the moral value of retributive reactive attitudes. Defenders have explored their intimate connections with self-respect, resistance to justice, accountability, agency and personhood. The criticism here pertains to the deliberate human action of subjugating another group of humans to subservient position. Furthermore, some philosophers argue that we cannot understand responsibility without these emotions, and that philosophically and culturally, dissolving and overcoming these retributive emotions is both healthy and virtuous.

However, how can these be done when people who know and have power to do what is right deliberately nurture retributive reactive attitudes in an environment where injustice reigns supreme and applied to a particular section of the society? Definitely, people must liberate themselves if such social, political and educational injustices are culminating towards the welfare of only a section of society which justifies a liberation struggle for the people to liberate and free themselves from an unjust system of government.

Indeed, we are clearly aware of how the liberation struggle started and intensified and forced the apartheid political leaders of the settlers to the negotiation table in the early 1990s which finally climaxed on the 27th April 1994, leading to the birth of the New South Africa, dubbed by Archbishop Tutu as the "Rainbow Nation". This change was astounding and hailed by the world Commonwealth of Nations as the most significant development in the twentieth century. However, most of the apartheid beneficiaries saw the change as the sale of their superior race birth right by their leaders to black people; the indigenous and majority group of the country; which they felt must be resisted. Thus, the extent of their retributive emotions immediately after 1994 was judgmental which resulted in several insurgent activities organised by white extremists that caused lives to be lost; another event that impacted negatively on social and economic development, and especially foreign investment (Ball & Peters, 2000; Haywood, 1997; Calvert & Calvert, 2001).

Changing the South African Mindset with a New Education

With the birth of what Desmond Tutu called the Rainbow Nation, came the need to change the mindset of South Africans. This necessitates the call for a new education which has dawned and must be instituted without further delay. Hence, all South Africans need to change their mindset in order to change their negative retributive reactive attitudes to enhance social justice, defend the rights of the people and their property and see each other as citizens of the Rainbow Nation. Certainly, the time to humanize the dehumanized South African is going to be another protracted war; even bigger than the liberation struggle itself (Smertin, 1990). This will thus require reeducation founded on the principles of the humanist philosophy of 'Ubuntu' and 'Botho' that is humanness, love, brotherhood and respect (Ozman & Craver, 1986; Morgenthau, 1993). Our higher institutions of learning should serve as the beacon and therefore...

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