Last week, the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC) met with the Mthakazi Liberation Front, an organisation which inter alia seeks to promote public awareness of the massacres carried out against the Matabele people in Zimbabwe during the 1980s. The Board was instrumental in setting up the meeting. Since its establishment, the JHGC has played a vital role in educating the public, in particular high school learners, of the dangers of prejudice, whether based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or other such grounds, and of what the ultimate consequences of such prejudice is. It combines Holocaust education with teaching about other genocides, including those that have taken place in Africa.
Over the weekend, we received yet another painful reminder of what hatred of “the other” can lead to, with the murder of 49 people at a LGBT night club in Orlando, Florida. While this atrocity, the worst mass shooting in American history, took place on another continent, it should serve to remind us of the ongoing, and largely under-reported, attacks taking place against members of the LBGT community in our own country. We must never turn our heads against such hatred and intolerance and must stand up and oppose it with all our effort wherever and whenever it arises.