Open letter to the directors of AfriForum
- Xhanti Payi
- 11 Jun 2011 (South Africa)
I must admit that I have not had the time to read and understand all the legalese related to the case, but the media reports have made it clear that you are the best people to approach. I understand that you were particularly concerned about the “injustice” of land seizures by the government from their rightful owners. I also know that you sought to make sure that such injustice did not go unrecognised and without compensation to the victims.
I wondered if you would be willing to assist my friends in a hypothetical case quite similar to the one you have just won. I am convinced that, at least in principle, you may be willing to come on board.
My friends are a lesbian couple who were dispossessed of their land some decades ago in what is now known as Western Cape in South Africa. I do not enclose all the details here as I’m concerned only to get your support in principle at this time. The lawyers will forward to you full details of the case for consideration. As I say, you only need consider the principle at the moment.
I’m quite sure you are aware that some decades ago, the government of the National Party, then in power in South Africa, as is the case with the ZANU-PF government, went on a similar property expropriation spree with some considerable brutality and grave injustices to people who were otherwise defenceless.
I must admit that I’m not as concerned about those other South Africans as I am about my two friends to whom I have a dear allegiance, and who would also fall within your target market. As I said, they are lesbians, and therefore in a minority group.
As I read on your website, it said, “AfriForum, ‘n Inisiatief van Solidariteit, will directly contribute to giving you and your community a voice in a society where minorities are increasingly being ignored. AfriForum offers a forum for…minorities to participate in public debate and action, in order to ensure a future for us in Africa.”
You would know that homosexuals are not only a minority, but are harshly persecuted in many African countries, and their collective future is under constant threat. In this country, where their rights are enshrined under our Constitution, we still hear of their brutal treatment – this past month, a lesbian was murdered for being lesbian. The current president himself has made some homophobic comments, which were considered by some as incitement to violence against homosexuals.
I know that my friends would be more than willing to join your organisation if so required. I’m also quite concerned that they are elderly and frail, and thus may never see justice done. But as I’m sure you realise one is moved by principle.
I must mention that my friends asked me not to write this letter to you and request your support since they imagine you were referring to white people only when you say “minorities”, and they are black. I was quick to draw their attention to the extract from your website which says, “AfriForum, an independent initiative of the trade union Solidarity …motivates minorities to participate constructively in public life and debate by means of campaigns, focusing on specific problem areas, e.g. the government’s growing obsession with race, political interference in sport, race-based welfare subsidies...” In this sense, I highlighted that you were entirely opposed to focusing primarily on race as the government has in its “growing obsession with race”. I also mentioned that from what they told me about their dispossession, it was unclear as to whether their land was taken because they were black or because they were lesbian. I know only that it was taken because they were not white, as they have related it to me. In this sense, therefore, you would be comfortable to support their cause as a minority.
Despite their hesitation in approaching you, my friends unreservedly celebrated your victory at the North Gauteng High Court. We believe, as you do, that law without soul and justice is quite empty.
They are doubtful of you participation in this case, but I am very confident that we will receive a very favourable reply.
Yours in justice,
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