South Africa’s Proposed Pledge of Allegiance
“We the youth of South Africa
Recognising the injustices of our past,
Honour those who suffered and sacrificed for justice and freedom.
We will respect and protect the dignity of each person,
And stand up for justice.
We sincerely declare that we shall uphold the rights and values of our Constitution
And promise to act in accordance with the duties and responsibilities
that flow from these rights.
! KE E: / XARRA // KE
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”
There is something unnerving about putting social ideals into words, especially when it’s about a country with a fairly fresh memory of an uneven and divided history. South Africa’s proposed Pledge of Allegiance, intended to be memorized and recited by millions of school children throughout the Republic, has caused a national debate over identity, inclusion and guilt.
Some say the pledge places guilt on white schoolchildren and smacks of totalitarianism, while supporters claim the Pledge engenders national pride and a clearer identity for the Rainbow Nation. Academics and linguistic experts say it is too clumsy.
Cape Town radio host Aden Thomas astutely observes that the proposed pledge has touched a nerve about the state of post-apartheid South Africa: “There’s been massive negative reaction to the pledge in some way making reference to injustices of the past,” he said. “And, perhaps that’s symptomatic of just how we are not fully dealing with many of the social problems we have in our country, where people don’t want to be reminded of it.”