Thursday, March 25, 2010

South Africa - A dream unfulfilled

It`s been a tough few weeks in South Africa. We've had the usual Julius Malema tirades about nothing and everything, Jacob Zuma and his wives, Jacob Zuma and his kids, Premiers and their unpaid traffic fines, calls for lifestyle audits on Government Officials, Julius Malema singing "kill the boer, kill the farmer", some of the worst hate speech on his Facebook fan page, Government tenders being awarded to government ministers, the tax bill footed by the tax payers to sustain Jacob Zuma`s wives and 20 kids, protests due to non-delivery of vital services to poor communities, protests by school children outside a courthouse, etc etc etc. Sadly, it`s a very, very long list.

If we are honest with ourselves, it`s probably the worst it`s been since 1994, when the dream of the New South Africa was signed and sealed by all it`s citizens. Back then the nation was so excited for the dream to finally become a reality, it had been way too long in the making. The buzz of the New South Africa was tangible. 1995 followed and the Rugby World Cup was hosted here. A nation building exercise of the highest quality. Springbok supporters followed the progress of the team but a nation celebrated the winning of the cup. A cup that was presented by a true icon, wearing Francois Pienaar`s number 6 jersey. Nelson Mandela stood on the podium and heard a full Ellispark chant "Nelson, Nelson, Nelson". I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. Afterwards, we saw black and white dancing in the streets together, celebrating the victory by the Springboks.

The African Cup of Nations victory followed the next year. This time, white supporters embraced Bafana Bafana as their own and a nation celebrated as one once again. Neil Tovey was the Francois Pienaar this time but Nelson Mandela was once again there. The catalyst for all that was good. South Africans united and it felt right, it felt like the dream was real.

Fast forward now to current day South Africa. It`s been 14 years since the day that we won the Africa Cup of Nations. A lot has happened in that time but having said that, nothing has also happened in that time. I always think of the way people drive as an indicator of the bigger picture within a country. Next time you drive somewhere, see how many drivers use indicators or come to a complete stop at a Stop sign. See how many drivers cross solid white lines, drive in the emergency lanes, cut people off, disregard the speed limits etc. Once again, the list if very, very long. One could almost say that it`s a free for all. No rules or laws and it`s survival of the fittest (or fastest).

Now look at government. We have ministers enriching themselves, cheating, stealing and lying. Our president was in the news recently for not submitting his financial affairs, once he became head of state. This is required by law. Thabo Mbeki did it, as did Nelson Mandela. Mr Zuma then went and got legal opinion on how to circumvent this little conundrum. Something to hide maybe?
I listened to John Robbie on 702 this morning. He was interviewing the Premier of Gauteng, Mrs Nomvula Mokonyane. She has R 17, 000 in outstanding fines and 2 outstanding warrants of arrest. Surely she would see the errors of her ways? Nope, she took issue with the reporter who broke the case. That was her defence. John then asked her if she would be willing to have a lifestyle audit done on her. She was furious and could not believe that John could even fathom asking her such a thing. "Why must I have such a thing done? Why don`t you have one done?". Ummm, one small difference, John Robbie isn`t paid by the citizens of the province to make sure that they are being looked after.
We hear Julius Malema ranting and raving his little head off every single day. He spends more time in the Equality Court than at home I`m sure. Yet, we have not heard Mr Zuma tell Julius to watch his mouth. Isn`t that what a leader is supposed to do?

Before you say I`m just a normal conservative white guy, keep this in mind. Jenny Crwys Williams had a show towards the end of last year, where she invited people to call in and say what their biggest positive was of 2009. I phoned in and said that Jacob Zuma was the biggest positive for me. My point was that he had taken over amidst doom and gloom from a big portion of the population and had made work of crime and a lot of other issues. Unfortunately it looks like I might have been wrong in my assumptions.

So looking at the way people are ignoring the laws of the road and the way government and the ministers therein are ignoring the laws of the land, it is quite obvious why a comparison can be drawn between bad driving and a bad country.

Where does that leave us as a country? Does the Rainbow Nation have a future or is the dream gonna remain just that, a dream.

Look, I`m just a normal guy living his life and trying to make ends meet. All I can do is influence the people I come in contact with be it by my behaviour or my attitude. I cannot change the minds of guys like Julius Malema or Jacob Zuma but I can try to change the people around me, even if it`s just by driving properly. So, this is what I pledge to do:
  • I will always use my indicators.
  • I will always obey the speed limit.
  • I will always yield when it is my duty to.
  • I will always obey solid white lines and emergency lanes.
  • I will always say thank you if somebody lets my into the flow of traffic.
  • I will be kind to everybody around me, even if they don`t deserve it.
  • I will not read another story on Julius Malema or listen to him on the news.
  • I will be positive about my country, even when it is almost impossible to do so.
Silly and mostly mundane things you might say and they probably are but it`s a start.

Will I be able to do all this? I hope so. Most of it I do as a matter of course, like indicating and obeying the speed limit. I am however gonna try to change MY little world which surrounds me and the things I do have control over. I`ll leave the bad news for other people.

I have faith in this country and I know we can make it work. All I want to see is the dream of the Rainbow Nation, realised. A tough task no doubt but definitely possible.


cat said...

Great great post! You are speeking our minds.

Betty Bake said...

very good post. thank you. I pledge to use my indicators and be a good and polite driver too :)
thanks for writting


it is sad but true. i too fight against the negativity all the time. i have even stopped buying newspapers, because they made me depressed.

you are right, of course. i cannot control everything that goes on. but i can control what i do in my own life. just because others break the rules, doesn't mean i have to.

nice to see you blog again!

The Running Golfer said...

Hey Cat and Betty! Thank you so much for the comments, it is highly appreciated.

Hey Jacks! It was good to blog again, it`s been waaaayyyy too long! See you on Twitter... :)

Jo said...

WOW as a first timer here, what a great post. But, you are not going to like what I am going to say. I have always felt the same way about the roads funnily enough. Since leaving SA in Dec and moving to the UK I can honestly say that you have no idea how much stress you are living under, it is insane!!! It can be very boring here though LOL, and grey yes very grey!!! There are accidents on the roads here but I am yet to see one. I complain that the drivers here drive way too fast but my very south african DH says that its different because the cars are road worthy and the people have a different attitude to accidents and they are not drunk.

I have never written such a long comment and I could go on for ages. But my heart goes out to you all, SA is the best, just too many problems.

The Running Golfer said...

Hi Jo! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I trust you will be very happy in your new home but hopefully we'll see you again one day. :)

Yip, the roads are a mess here. It all comes down to attitude. Unfortunately it (aggressive driving) has become the norm and young drivers see their parents and the other drivers drive that way. It`s all out aggression. I don`t know when or where it`ll end. I suppose we need more cops on the roads and harsher penalties. If you know there will be consequences, you'll think twice before breaking the law. That is a long way off though.

Bring on the gautrain in the meantime... :)

As for the rest of the bad news around here, I have really started to NOT listen to the news. My life is so much better for it. :)

God bless.