Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Proudly South African


I haven’t lived in my home country for ten years, but I love it. I think it’s a great place, a place that’s taken a long and horrible history of repression and prejudice and has turned itself into a functioning democracy. My latest reason for being proud to be a South African is this: last week the South African parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, becoming the first African country to do so.

South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. The reality is that not all South Africans are as progressive as the constitution, and that the new democracy is a young one. However, they are trying, in every way, to leave discrimination behind them. During the parliamentary debate, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota said same-sex unions or same-sex marriages should be afforded similar space as heterosexual marriages “in the sunshine of democracy”.

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africans should continue to engage each other in a constructive way to lead the country towards “the kind of society that we all fought for as embodied within our Constitution”.

“The challenge that we shall continue to face has to do with the fact that when we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of colour, creed, culture and sex,” she said.

Viva! Let everyone live in the sunshine of democracy …

(For more, see this.)

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

8 thoughts on “Proudly South African

  1. It’s not my home country but I love it too. The democracy is so new still that it is not taken for granted. You have to be more aware of what is going on and the precariousness of it . There is no place for apathy or smugness either.

    There is so much to do on the large issues, that we gon’t get hedged in by the petty rules and regulations that seem to be taking over in Europe – mostly to keep Brussels busy it seems to me!

  2. Congratulations to South Africa!! Let’s hope the newly elected folks in my home country can take a lesson from them (and from the international reaction to them).

  3. I love that language…in the sunshine of democracy … beautiful. Incidentally, my husband studied in S.Africa for a year and he loved it and dreams of returning someday.

  4. I’m gong to echo what Courtney said above – “in the sunshine of democracy” is such a wonderful turn of phrase.

  5. It really is a victory for our Constitution. A powerful lobby group – traditional leaders who argued homosexuality is not African – tried very hard to get it chucked out. But the commitment of our Parliament to the Constitution prevailed. Not let me say without some hard loud lobbying from gay and lesbian organsations and the media who were on their side. Civil society Viva is really the message here.

  6. I’ve heard many wonderful things about the country from people who have visited it on holiday. I understand its also spectacularly beautiful.

  7. [Sniff] That is pretty amazing- especially when you think about how far South Africa has come from being such a horrible repressive Calvinist regime.

  8. That’s right, I’d forgotten about seeing this in the paper the other day. I only wish more governments–and people under their jurisdiction–would catch up with South Africa’s Enlightenment! You have much to be proud of Mrs. Otter. 🙂

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