South Africa, Maverick Life

Letter to Editor: My apology to Justice Yacoob and all unsighted people

By John Matisonn 23 December 2016

Not for the first time, you have taught me something and I will treat this as a learning experience.

Dear Justice Yacoob

First, my deepest apology for offending you.

The fact that you, and other unsighted people, were offended by my reference to the SABC chairperson is sufficient proof that I was insensitive. Not for the first time, you have taught me something and I will treat this as a learning experience.

I am particularly mortified to have caused hurt because I remember with such warmth our encounter at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, when you asked me to guide you to the bathroom and we both laughed about my instinctive – and pointless – search for a light for you.

An initial draft of my article contained a paragraph referring to you with admiration as one of our most important jurists to make the point that sightedness is not relevant in making appointments. Foolishly, I cut it out.

In parliamentary hearings the SABC chairperson, Prof Obert Maguvhe, several times made the point that he could not answer MP’s questions about the SABC’s television programming because he only used the radio.

Nevertheless, my comment generalised, which I should not have done. Nothing changes the fact that I should not have written so inappropriately, and I apologise unreservedly to you and others who were offended. DM

Photo: John Matisonn.

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