Afriforum doesn’t want the old SA Apartheid flag banned and South Africans respond

Social media has been ablaze since news of non-governmental organisation AfriForum opposing any restriction on the display of the old South African flag as an infringement on free speech. This is after the Nelson Mandela Foundation applied to the equality court in Johannesburg to declare the gratuitous display of the old flag as hate speech, unfair discrimination and race-based harassment.

Deputy CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets, said: “The notion that you can fight ideas by banning a symbol has never worked. You should engage and debate with those people and prove to them why they are wrong. Banning it would not solve anything”

The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement saying that it believes that while the old flag is part of history, it belongs in museums, documentaries and other creative works.

“The decision to launch this application comes after years of watching public displays of the old flag and hoping that such behaviour would stop. These displays demonstrably compound the pain experienced by millions of black South Africans who suffered under apartheid and continue to struggle under its legacy. Displays of the old flag at demonstrations against farm murders on “Black Monday”, 30 October 2017, at least two of which were verified, persuaded us that the time had come to act.”

“After extensive consultation and reflection following “Black Monday”, the Foundation posed the question: ‘Is it time to criminalize displays of the old flag?’  Through public debates with AfriForum, one of the leading figures in the ‘Black Monday’ demonstrations, it became apparent to the Foundation that some South Africans do not fully appreciate that apartheid was a crime against humanity (as the United Nations declared in 1973), and that gratuitous displays of apartheid symbols, such as the old flag, are a celebration of that crime and a humiliation of its victims. During these debates AfriForum conceded that displaying the old flag was ‘unwise’ as it ‘offends some people’, but argued that it should nevertheless not be ‘unlawful’ as it was a part of history and ‘you cannot ban history’.

Here is how some people have responded on social media:






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