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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

LETTER FROM MARK LOWE (article first published : 2002-04-20)

So it has finally come to this. A R40,000 bronze bust of Durban poet, Douglas Livingstone, bolted to its cement pedestal in our beloved Kwasuka Theatre, has been stolen and will probably fetch less than R1,000 when melted down as scrap!

While it may be easy to see this outrage as yet another petty theft - one in a long litany of social acts that beset our country and communities every single day - indicative of a criminal element allowed to run riot by an ANC government that has abdicated its responsibilities, I believe it goes far deeper than that.

The absurd monetary contradictions of this "transaction" aside, is this not also the pertinent indication of the depths to which we have plummeted in a country led by a government gone mad? An act of cultural rape that is the desperate end-consequence of a daily fight for survival by people in a country with a government that fails its citizens?

A government that refuses to acknowledge that HIV does cause AIDS and actively litigates against the provision of life-saving drugs that could prevent its spread and save thousands of lives. A government that says it cannot afford "the luxury" of paying a basic monthly income grant of R150 to every needy South African yet can squander nearly R70 bn on the purchase of weapons of war and over R400 million for a presidential jet?

I thought we had plumbed the depths during the reign of PW Botha's autocratic Imperial presidency. I was wrong.

Yours sincerely, Mark Lowe MP, Democratic Alliance, Berea, Durban.

NB: The Douglas Livingstone bust has since been recovered see Drama pages




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