Our national anthem is, indeed, a compromise – but so in many respects was our new Constitution. It was on the basis of painful compromises that all the negotiating parties had to make that we were able to reach agreement on our new society. As former President De Klerk observed on Freedom Day, “27 April did not constitute the victory of some South Africans over others. It was a glorious victory for us all. On 27 April all of us – whatever our race – enjoyed far greater rights and freedoms than any of us had previously enjoyed before.” He added, that “It was our proudest moment as South Africans – regardless of our race, our gender or our background. To the astonishment of the whole world we had succeeded in overcoming centuries of bitterness, conflict, repression and division to reach an historic agreement on the future of our country.”

Our beautiful national anthem reminds us that we were all involved in creating our new society and that, as our constitution proclaims, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.” This is evidently a truth that Mr Makhanya would rather forget.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation

Photo credit: darkroom productions / Foter /Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)