By Bernard Pieters
For a second year, the COVID-19 virus is affecting virtually every person in the world. It has forced us to return to our families and communities, making us realise once again what really matters in life. Less affluent countries such as South Africa have been hit harder than many Western countries ‒ countries where residents looked to their leaders for guidance during the pandemic and were not disappointed.
South Africa has also recently been hit by large-scale riots where businesses – especially those of minorities – have been targeted, looted and burnt down. The situation spiralled out of control to such an extent that the police and army were not able to restore order, and ordinary citizens were also compelled to step in to protect themselves, their families, their communities and their businesses. Currently, there are still riots and as a result, essential items such as bread and medicine are difficult to obtain in certain areas.
During this time, minorities joined hands and once again realised that the state is not able to look after them or protect them adequately. A sense of independence and cooperation resulted in the development and strengthening of community structures. A spirit of federalism and independence has been ignited. Indians, Afrikaners, Pakistanis and other minority communities stood side by side to protect each other.
Minority communities realised that the obsessively race-based legislation and restrictions applicable to minorities are harming them and the country more than ever before. However, minority communities decided that we cannot afford to maintain a victim mentality. We realised that we need to take care of ourselves. Upliftment programmes are already being established on a large scale. This brings me to the purpose of this article.
AfriForum Youth in cooperation with Solidarity Helping Hand established a study fund with the aim of uplifting people in our minority communities by means of education and training. It is especially focused on people currently living in informal settlements such as squatter camps under the ANC-SACP alliance government. Our long-term goal is that those students should be able to help their families out of the cycle of poverty and inspire the community, and thus make a positive difference in a world yearning for hope and equality. In the time of COVID-19, we need more medical staff and scientists to develop South Africa. In the aftermath of the havoc wreaked by COVID-19 and riots, we need farmers and entrepreneurs who can ensure food security and create jobs. After the large-scale riots, we need stronger and more stable communities with comprehensive training and good qualifications. The alleviation, destruction and prevention of poverty is of paramount importance for our future.
We are therefore not appealing to you for short-term humanitarian aid; we know we must solve our problems ourselves and cannot expect First World countries to do it for us. Our request is that you consider supporting the AfriForum Youth Study Fund so that we can lift ourselves out of poverty by means of training and education. We ask that you consider not giving us a fish, but instead giving us the opportunity to learn how to fish for ourselves.
The link to our study fund is https://www.givengain.com/cc/afriforum-jeugstudiefonds/.
AfriForum Youth is part of AfriForum, an NGO authorised to issue a Section 18A certificate on request to donors in South Africa to be able to claim a tax benefit. If you are unable to help with a donation at the moment, I want to thank you for reading this article anyway. Please be so kind as to share it with friends and family to enable more people to learn about our story of hope, as well as what we are trying to achieve by ourselves here in Africa.
* Bernard Pieters is Manager of AfriForum Youth.