2013/07/16

A new dawn for South Africa

Andile Mngxitama raises some notable points in his article in the M&G. Whether or not you think that the EFF (Julius Malema's new political platform) can pull off a coup in next years election aside, it is clear that as a nation there is a need, a necessity, for a clean slate. In previous blogs I have talked about "Enough" as a measure of sufficiency and that we all have the opportunity for redistribution to enhance the lives of others less fortunate. We have these "burdensome" dependents largely because of greed - materialism - if you like. The very corruption that blights our countries break and initial rise from the ashes of apartheid is born of greed. And it dwells, as Andile says, in every corner - political and corporate - of our lives.

The fact that South Africa remains a bastion of inequality is in itself reason enough to seriously consider hard edged redistribution. But we are all flawed. There are few - over the last 20 years - that have stood against the rooting of the castle. I can think of only a few who have put their very lives on the line to out the truth - Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hugh Glenister to name only a few who took on the Arms Deal. The rest of us are mostly commenting on news sites - mostly under absurd pseudonyms and hardly exposing ourselves to risk other than sheepeling along with the rest of the trolls. The kind of protests regarding service delivery, the secrecy bill and e-tolling are only the start - if Egypt and Brazil are anything to go by. And, yes, it is scary, but if we are not careful it could very well explode on our own doorstep. Hiding our heads in the sand - as South Africans are so prone to do - will not protect your from getting your bottom shot off. In the heady days of apartheid, the locals were kept isolated in mine hostels and townships. There were pass books and very little of the rioting ever spilled over into Whiteville. Now we are one nation, protagonists are everywhere and there is nowhere to hide - not even behind your electrified fences and high walls.

I don't believe that EFF is anything more than Juju's wet dream. But many of the disenfranchised may not see it with such critical eyes. Although his support may be limited to the largely unemployed youth who have nothing to lose and everything to gain, they still have a vote and one that is equal for all. Beware - a beast is rising, however slowly. Malema is not one I would place on a pedestal as the epitome of squeaky clean leadership, but once the EFF is instituted it would be easy for more credible leadership to come forward to run the show. The power and exuberance of youth over the veiled, apathetic and frustrated minds of the rest of us would something to behold. There are enough unutilised votes out there to make the status quo quiver in their pants.

My own thoughts race ahead to a South Africa where everyone is better off. There is world class health care for all, unsurpassed education and we all have a house with a bit of land to grow weeds, vegetables and a patch of grass. A South Africa where public transport and government works. Crime on the decline because there is no need to steal from another. Everyone has opportunity to learn, to work, to grow old and be happy.

Utopia realised.

But Utopia has been denied us all. Slowly and surely over the last 20 years the dreams, the hopes of a nation have been eroded by greed. Where the world once used South Africa as the benchmark for positive change, we are now just another African nation gone wrong. And maybe its wrong to limit it to Africa alone because there are countries all over the world that have fallen foul of the same corrupt fate.

It is time to reinvent ourselves. To take ownership of our country. "Government - you work for us. President Zuma, you are a public servant and we pay your salary so stop pinching from the till and get on with the job you were voted into by your people - the people of this nation".

Deep inside of me where the light still shines and the scepticism does not penetrate, I think that people like Andile really have a point and maybe Julius does too - or at least the espoused values of the EFF does. Where only truth exists in my deepest place I want to believe that there is a great future ahead of us in South Africa but there may be a great upheaval before this can happen. Sometimes before you can finish the puzzle you need to break it up a bit, you need to start again - taking only the good stuff with you. And it may hurt to get there but it will be worth it.

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