What the Aussies can learn from us

What the Aussies can learn from us

When an idealistic young South African human rights lawyer, fresh out of apartheid South Africa, arrives in the relatively tame Antipodes, what does she do with her talents ? Andrea Durbach (defence attorney in the infamous Upington 25 trial in the mid-1980s) found that  Down Under there’s still much to do on the human rights front.

“When I come back to South Africa and see how race is discussed – with such a robust understanding and a thrashing out of all the issues – I realise that Australia has a great deal to learn from South Africa.”

What she’s found on her more recent visits – in between witnessing the full range of South African issues: desperate unemployment; inequality; escalating protests; and brutal crimes – “is that at least people are thrashing out the raw issues related to race”.

By comparison, she says, Australia is a country in deep denial about its serious race issues.

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