The Optimist vs the Realist vs the uncommon Pessimist


So, like many South Africans, I’ve become completely engrossed in the Gordhan recall and what is to come next. This stop gap between the recall and anyone being told whatever reason for it, is absolutely killing me. It’s killing me because I hate waiting for anything but it’s also affecting me because I keep imagining and wondering what is happening behind the scenes.

My optimistic self imagines at least 50 business leaders and MPs making frantic phone calls to each other to try and stop the fiasco in it’s tracks. My Realist self says that this battle is epic and we the people must just wait because what else are we really going to do but things are not looking good. My pessimistic self says that the president is putting himself and his friends ahead of the country and this time he will continue no matter the consequences. The damage will be done no matter how the party reacts so I don’t think he is scared because any backlash will amount to naught. Sigh

I do believe in the greater good. And I believe in the good of our real leadership. The people who are in the trenches getting things done. I work with some of those people and I know they really want to do the right thing. So, I’m gonna back my realist self but she’s scared and will be infinitely sad and disappointed (not shocked though) if she is wrong.

I don’t know either show very well but it feels like SA are currently staring in a combination of House of Cards and The Game of Thrones, and there’s probably some Blacklist Thrown in there which is ultimately stoking the fire.

One can only hope we’ll know soon enough so that we can all know how to respond and, in my case, get back to work.

“It’s a strange strange world we live in…

…Master Jack. No hard feelings if I never come back” so philosophise Four Jacks and a Jill in a song they released during the struggle in South Africa. The song was popular internationally and locally. I suspect the local popularity might have been because people liked the tune not knowing it was a struggle tune. I’ve always liked the song and only learned about 7 years ago that it was a struggle song. It didn’t matter to me and to this day I often get it stuck in my head. I really like it.

It resonates with me today because we are still living in a strange strange world. Frankly, for the first time in maybe forever (baring the World Wars) it feel like the whole world is experiencing strange times. Some stranger than others but we’re all in some version of it globally.

Of course in SA our strange times are what I refer to as interesting times but for others they are scary times. There are lots and lots of people I know that simply say “no hard feelings if I never come back” as they starting packing theirs hearts and eventually their bags for immigration.

I don’t know how to respond to these people. In reality I want them to know that I am disappointed if they go. If I can see a future for this country why can’t they? If I can argue that every country has it’s issues (and now potentially more true than ever) and moving will only result in some other drama then why can’t they see that?

Yes, living in what some perceive as high stakes mortal danger (versus say, Canada where violent crime is rare) might seem stressful but I’d rather live in a way where I can do my best to manage my danger than potentially get killed while watching Batman in the cinema. It probably helps that I’m quite fatalistic and that I feel that dying could range from a tree falling on me (I know someone who dies like that), to being hit by car (a fear I really have) then being a victim of crime. Yes, there are preferential ways to die but either way I’ll be dead. Oh, I don’t believe in jinxing my fate either if anyone in concerned by my musings.

I know leaving is about more than just dying but for me staying is all about the living.  I choose to live in a country where  have seen people beat all the odds time after time, where I have seen altruism and gratitude. Where I have seen good win and seen good people lose with dignity and extreme victories not boasted about. I have space and freedom here, I have other South Africans and I have that African dust on my boots. These are real things and these are things worth fighting for.

So, I don’t argue with those who want to leave because they need to make their own choices. But I do hope that my example and dedication could keep more people here and at the same time help develop a country we can all be proud of. I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime (because who knows how short that will be anyway) but it will happen and I want to know I helped.