The Wounds of Apartheid

Today was the last day of the Union conference here in Cape Town. The morning included an excellent session led by Ginny Lipke and Max Meis on TB infection control.  Later on I met with Tim Rodwell, who is not only a drug-resistant TB expert but also runs a fascinating NGO, Utopia Scientific. The day ended with an amazing journey up Table Mountain with views of Robben Island and the entire city.

Today’s cross-cutting theme was the importance of understanding history, particularly apartheid, in the case of South Africa. Apartheid ended more than 20 years ago but the historical legacy remains and influences the health and well-being of all citizens. In my opinion, unless South Africans come to terms with their own painful history, reconciliation will not happen. And, drug-resistant TB will not be controlled and poverty will not be reduced. There must be an all-out effort to improve the education of South African children.

Analogously, in the United States, we must begin to teach our true history to our children; only then will everyone realize why Black Lives Matter.

Tomorrow we fly to Johannesburg and I will try to write more. I will stay there for one day before returning to Boston. There’s so much I want to write; we have urgent work in front of us.

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One thought on “The Wounds of Apartheid

  1. I appreciate your posts, and agree that, unless there is a true embracing of its horrible past, that includes forgiveness (as should occur in USA, as well, regarding civil rights!)! In a post-Mandela South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) has become a reckless den of wolves; Mandela was very committed to reconciliation, but I feel that the party itself became weak with power-striving and corrupt practices, and the inertia of an inefficient government impedes dynamic change. There is still a horrible legacy of violence and neglect of the masses under Apartheid (not unlike what we are experiencing in America!), and politics has devolved into a cynical process based on greed, and the maintenance of power (the State existing for its own purposes, not necessarily with the interests of its people!).

    On the health front, many questions remain about achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals; South Africa alone will try to put an additional 1.2 million HIV positive patients on ARVs in the next year! That alone is mind-boggling!

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