Our country has traded its morality for economic gain. Its sense of Ubuntu is possibly being repackaged with a ‘Made in China’ sticker as we speak. We have lost our moral compass, we have denied a man, who embodies the spirit of Ubuntu, who personifies peace, a visa. In the name of what? China? Materialism? Do we really live in a country where our biggest trade partner can bully us into a corner? And furthermore that we just comply in silence?
And what has the Dalai Lama done to offend China? During the 1959 Tibetan uprising of the feudal landlords, the Dalai Lama, who regarded this uprising as an expression of widespread discontent, fled to India where he denounced the People’s Republic and established a Tibetan government in exile. 50 years later and China is still holding a grudge. More importantly, the Dalai Lama has no intention of visiting South Africa for political reasons but rather to attend Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday. Our country, so blissfully unaware, has gone against everything our constitution stands for – equality, freedom, acceptance. What boils my blood is that it isn’t our first offence. Are we going to be the country that bans a spiritual leader from our lands, regardless of the purpose of his visit, because of trade? Because of our economy? Because China said so?
And so, South Africa’s actions have been dictated by China and our government has willingly obliged to deny a spiritual leader a visa. Alan Paton’s ‘Cry the Beloved Coutry’ could not be any more appropriate than it is now. I echo Desmond Tutu’s sentiments completely. This country represents ‘we the people’, it represents every South African, but these actions certainly do not represent mine. I’m ashamed. Ashamed that a country that struggled through oppression will not allow a man who represents peace, equality and freedom to attend his friend’s birthday. We have now become the country who wouldn’t allow two old men to celebrate together. But let us carry on, in denial, South Africa.