By Steve Dyer
Dear fellow humans, in these sorrow days, tears are falling with forlorn regularity.
With the fragility of life laid bare for all to see, I ask myself a question: If I were to leave tomorrow, or even today, what would my greatest regret be?
My answer to myself is this: that I have not conveyed a strong and long-lasting conviction of mine adequately, forcefully or successfully enough, which is:
That we are one human race with a huge pool of shared human emotions.
However, we insist on falsely categorising each other into different ‘race’ groups.
Often in order to develop relationships, be they on a personal or a wider level, common ground is required or looked for. A common knowledge of language, culture, place of birth, school or sports team etc, helps the formation of social bonds.
If before any interaction takes place we are categorised, and categorise each other, into different ‘races’ (a socially constructed term with no scientific validity), however consciously or not we validate the differences between us at a fundamental level.
South Africa has spent millions on a social cohesion project that is currently in ICU (intensive care). This project cannot work either in South Africa or anywhere else without a substantial paradigm shift. Currently we don’t question the damaging apartheid lexicon we use to describe ourselves that has remained largely unchanged since those draconian times.
For peace and harmony to prevail there are at least 2 prerequisites:
1 A system of governance that allows for all to have ownership of our circumstance, and to feel our personal value in making a contribution. Everybody wants to matter.
2 A focus on individuals’ healing, development and purpose from the inside out.
Remember that recognising a common and shared human ancestry and fighting prejudice in all its forms are not incompatible actions. The opposite holds true.
I have no doubt that as the world fumbles towards a much more inclusive one, with cross-cultural and ethnic relationships heralding societies that recognise the value and necessity of diversity, that future generations will bear the fruits of humane people fighting for the right of inclusion for all.
The beautiful ones are not yet born, but they will be.
.Steve Dyer is an award winning South African saxophonist. This essay is the motivation behind Revision – a music project for release in September 2021.