EFF members gather outside an H&M store at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg. Picture: SUPPLIED
EFF members gather outside an H&M store at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg. Picture: SUPPLIED

The outrage of EFF members over the racist H&M advertisement was well founded; after they engaged in violent action, however, they surrendered the moral weight of their anger.

The silence of H&M and the government about the violent actions is an even more damning indictment of the country’s moral landscape. When the victims of a violent act stay silent, they sanction what is done to them and they ought not be surprised if it continues.

Perhaps the EFF’s anger will prove effective and H&M will suffer a hit to its profits. Efficacy is, however, not a measure of morality. When you use violence, any pretence of morality is thrown out of the window, because you negate the other person’s ability to engage with you rationally.

The EFF had an excellent opportunity to condemn the advert and keep its moral standing if it had conducted a protest and engaged in a boycott of H&M. The DA and the ANC also have a great opportunity to condemn the violence but their silence simply indicates what many suspect: they are devoid of moral fibre.

No matter how strongly we feel about a certain issue, morality requires that people are able to engage with each other voluntarily without the threat of violence.

Christo Hattingh
Johannesburg

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