A lot of South Africans are feeling pretty bleak at the moment. Some of the reasons:
Our electricity supplier, Eskom, has been implementing load shedding for weeks now as the system is under maintained and over demanded on. Our president blames Apartheid some 23 years after Mandela was released and 21 years since democracy landed. So, the lights are out and a lot of people feel kicked in the gut.
Our president recently built a massive homestead for some R 230 million while people are uneducated and starve in the street. He says he needed a fire pit (read pool) for security reasons and didn’t really know what was going on as he’d left the upgrades to his wife. Some architects is taking the fall – unwillingly I’m sure. The loudest opposition party want him to “pay back the money” I tend to agree with them on this point but I’m not holding my breath.
Most recently, the annual State of the Nation address turned into an absolute circus. Cellphone signals were jammed. Members of parliament were forcibly arrested – some for doing almost nothing except being part of the opposition, others for shouting “pay back the money” while the president was speaking.
It’s been nasty and your everyday citizens who have heard about this, (because, let’s face it, not everyone even has access to unbiased media- or any immediate media) are upset. This SONA has gotten more attention than just about any other one and for all the wrong reasons.
This happened on Thursday and since then it’s been part of every conversation. I’ve stopped listening because the rhetoric has just become the same. I know, and understand, that you’re unhappy, but saying the same thing ad nausium is not really going to change anything. Make a difference by leading with a good example and being kind and helpful to those around you who really need it. The true citizens of South Africa.
At times like these, it feels to me like we forget about what we really have and we forget about each other. You can’t really complain about how hard your life is when you’re sitting at a braai on a Saturday afternoon while a solar panel heats your geyser and you do own the property you live in.
I’m not saying that things are great. I’m not saying we should ignore the problems. But I also believe that we’re not the only country with problems. Things are very relative. I also believe that a lot of these problems are good for our democracy. Cellphone signals are blocked because you’re trying to hide things from an ever increasing media and literacy savvy citizenship. A citizenship you might truly be concerned about when the next voting period comes along. The government should heed its citizens, it’s healthy when turmoil erupts when things are not going well. No, I’m not encouraging a South African Spring. I’m taking note of what is happening and I’m not inclined to fret just yet.
As a 702 radio presenter put it before 6 a.m this morning “Chin up South Africa. Look out the window. The country is there. The sun is rising.”