Unless you’ve been living under a rock or were so mesmerized by living next to one largely resembling a piece of dining room furniture, Thursday the 8th of September was a big day for South African news. Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa released crime statistics, some of which were improved, some of which were worse, and none of which took into account the FIFA Soccer World Cup and its associated Police presence. In addition President Zuma confirmed Mogoeng Mogoeng as the Chief Justice despite an outcry from many different corners of our society, including shower manufacturers who feel that you just can’t wash off the guilt of raping our constitution.
However, in amongst all of these issues which influence life in South Africa on a daily basis and are likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future, the biggest story of the day must have been Darren Scott. At least that’s how it seemed amongst the Twitterati, whom despite being called mere “shrill” voices by the Sunday Times are seemingly more and more influential in the level of exposure any particular news story will receive.
It was with much interest that I watched as the story slowly leaked yesterday and then exploded this morning with the strength of a Die Hard film trying to upstage Transformers. If you aren’t aware of the background essentially the now former Jacaranda radio DJ called a colleague the “k word” at a team building event. There are other details to the story but these are irrelevant because any argument based on prejudice is ridiculous before it even begins. There is no justification to Scott’s actions. It is as simple as that.
The response from the public was swift, with a massive wave of criticism and only a few silly individuals attempting to defend the vocabulary of Scott. Scott himself almost immediately apologised and confirmed that he had resigned from his position at Jacaranda. It would appear that both of these actions are sincere acts of contrition even though there have been attempts by commentators to say otherwise. Indeed it is remarkable that in our country with all of its challenges, not least of which are crime and a poor Chief Justice, just one pseudo celebrity can embolden so many to suddenly become such voracious blood thirsty creatures.
My opinion on the racial slur is clear but more important is my opinion on South Africa. We live in a country full of complexities. A country of different races, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, languages and so much more. There is however one common thread amongst us and that is our ability to forgive. In this example we have someone who made a terrible mistake. He has apologised and had also lost his job, a large portion of his income and undoubtedly his status in society. You don’t have to like Darren Scott, admittedly he has lost a fan in me, but a true South African forgives because as a nation built on this notion we more than most know that to err is human but to forgive is divine.