In honour of Nelson Mandela Day, we at Gucina Guesthouse embrace individuality and the diversity of our magnificent country. When visiting Johannesburg, do not hide behind the walls of a luxury guesthouse – get out there and explore your surroundings. There are wonderful sights to be seen and incredible people to meet…
Take a look around you. We live in a country full of magnificent diversity. Each person you pass on the street has something wonderfully unique and colourful about them. Let’s celebrate all our brilliant differences and at the same time, embrace our own individuality.
Historically, the differences that surround us, from different races, creeds or subcultures, have formed the basis of fear, racism and bigotry.
People fear diversity because they are familiarized with the way things are and find any sort of change extremely uncomfortable and overwhelming. If left unaddressed these fears will lead to ‘hate’, racism and bigotry; therefore people need to be educated about differences, learn to appreciate differences, and ultimately, celebrate differences!
We all live in a bubble, and it’s time that that bubble popped and we opened our eyes to the real, diverse and beautiful world.
‘There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.’ – Michel De Motaigne
Yes, one thing that we all share is diversity. So, to those who are scared of it, let me tell you that it is the one thing that makes us all the same… we are all unique… and that should be celebrated not shunned.
How dull would life be if we were all identical? There would be no space for growth, love and even conversation. By recognising our likeness and by embracing our differences we can work together in overcoming the three things that have crippled this world – prejudice, hate and fanaticism.
Stop the Stereotypes
Everyone has been stereotyped and everyone has placed a stereotype on another.
Ultimately, when we stereotype, we are placing sweeping assumptions about the character of an entire group. These generalisations are mostly negative and thus prevent people from finding out about the individual who is the victim of the stereotype.
This needs to stop. We need to stop placing people into tiny groups and branding them as just one thing. Two people may have the same skin colour, but they are two completely different people, with their own likes, dislikes and beliefs. We are all different, each and every single one of us and that needs to be celebrated and embraced. There is only one you… and no one can think otherwise.
Once society has educated its children that uniqueness and diversity is something to be celebrated and not feared, then we would be able to live in a world where self-expression isn’t thought of as a subculture or oddity – it would be something beautiful and celebrated.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk through the streets being exactly the person that you are, not worrying about judging eyes and the whispers that follow you? This can hopefully one day be achieved – but it begins with you, the individual.
It Begins Now
We need to teach our children a positive self-image, let them know that they have nothing to be ashamed of. And once our children have been brought up with a healthy identity they can learn to respect and appreciate those different from themselves.
It is perfectly healthy to be proud of your own culture and heritage but we must teach our children that theirs is not superior to others.
We need to teach the next generation to respect others, to learn from people who are deemed different to them, and we must ultimately teach children to respect people in all their colours, creeds and cultures. Maybe one day we can live in a world were tolerance and celebration of differences is the norm.