It has been a long time since I last felt so strong about this, my father’s country: South Africa.
I love South Africa, yes I do really find their brand of governance/rulership any where close to this nice word, special, but I do love the land, the climate and the variety of peoples mixed and living within these boarders. Fighting and all included.
The are however, aspects of this country I find a bit odd. Things I feel aren’t quet right with it or perhaps even too right for any good to come out of their presence. The following, though you may not agree with sily old me, are some of them, not all but certainly some of them. Namely:
· Behaving as if we wish to bury not only the hatchet but the Boere along with it
The ANCs and indeed South Africa’s freedom chatter states-amoung other things-that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. That being said I find it odd that even though this sentence entrenched there is known and indeed almost sung in the streets every other rally day seems not to sift itself down into the psych and hearts of most South Africans. I mean, if you dared to be honest enough, wouldn’t you find your land right and therefor citezenry threatened would it happen that you here a full grown sober man singing and dancing to a song that goes like “Thina sizwe esim’nyama sikhalela izwe lethu elathathwa amaBhunu…Mabawu yeke umhlaba wethu” ; loosely trancelated “We the black peoples are in grief, In grief over our beloved land taken from us by the Boerer”? I do not know about but as for me, this song would be strong enough to rattle my comfort. I would feel myself not welcome here. Why wouldn’t I? I mean the Boere did steal land from the Usuthu(King Cetshwayo of the Usuthu was made to sign a document ceding over 1.3million hectres of land to the Boer, he was sixteen at the time and the document was not in agreement put forth by the Zulu. That of only 100 Boere getting land for their helping Usuthu at war with Britains puppert, Zibhebhu). And the Boere did take the land of Sophia Town in Johanessburg under false pretence of it not being suitable for people to live in…the Boerer took much more land, they with the British stole from Swaziland, took 70% of Zulu territory for themselves and did much more of the same to others as well. So, yes out of guilt for my ancestors’ horrid doings I would feel uncomfortable here, in the land of my birth.
Given just the above picture, is it not odd that based on the Boere’s history in South Africa, we the people known for ubuntu still sing such songs and find it not wrong to do so, even though we claim we have gone through the reconciliation process and as a result have forgiven each other of our wrongs against one another.
Or have we not? If we have, why do we keep on behaving as if we wish we could bury not only just the hatchet but the Boer along with it? The recent argument arround Sir Cecil John Rhodes’ stataue at Rhode University sure points this behaviour (if not wish) out. There are many other examples as well…Have we not change Pretoria into Tswane, was it not for the same reason? Have we not changed street names to suit the new South Africa? Are we tranforming or are we simpley attempting to change how we look? Recently a there has been a cry out parliament that said that there are too many white faces in rugby…
What are we doing, was not Mandela against the changing of South Africa’s national rugby team colors in 1995, if so why then are we bold enough to want to manualy change the face of rugby? Can we not wait and let it change on its own in its own sweet time? Oh is it that the concept of Ubuntu does not apply to politics?
· Xenophobia the Masked Jelousy
We are certainly not the only country overloaded with many a people we happen not to understand when they speak, we certainly not the only country full of our sibalies (inlaws) from Mozambique, Ethiopia, Congo DRC, and yes, even Nigeria and them nice looking Somalis. Countries all over the world are facing the same challenge as we are. Hell even the ever troubled Israel is full of Somali and Ethopians wishing to excape inhumane hardships at home. Why then is it that our people seem to think the sky is falling over our heads because of the presence of asylum seekers who, to some of us, seem to be doing a good job restraining themselve from stealing even though they obviously come into South Africa so poor and verily in survival mode?
My father never taught me a thing about Somalis, not even that they are black Africans like me. Infact colour of the skin, even my own, never even register in my father’s lips. How then would I know of the Somalis? All I knew of them is they, like the Nigerians sudendly walked our streets, spoke a different toung and
were as good as the Indians in making money out of selling Banana. The Swazi are a people good in copying how to build things. We learnt much from the Mozambican’s comming into Swaziland. I now live in South Africa; they see the Somalis, pakistani, and Ethiopian as threat to their spaza shop (little shop) businessy kind of life. I can not argue against that but the idea of walking past a busy tree every day all day and-never seeing the business opportunity the tree presents and then fume in anger when the Somali sees the opportunity and not only that but uses it is really unfaire. They go to eThekwini(Duburn), buy blunkets at lower prices, co-opperate in selling them and then make good profit out of it. After all this work, we, the locals say they have taken our jobs?
Our children have a luxury kind of life compared to the rest if not most Africa. This thing they call free education. But they do not use it. It is as if it their democratic right to rid them poor arogant selves of education. This jewel we so much yern to enjoy and grow bald selling tomatoes in Swaziland just so we be able to pay E1500 worth of a term’s education. Them Somalis will not take over your spaza shops but the country as well just because we are lazy to own up and match up.
Our jelousy is ujustified if we contineu not to match up, oh and affirmative action does not work on a mind not psyched up to edure hard work! Kill Xenophobia South Africa…It is unjustifiable!
· Picketing over done
Open any news site on the web and search South Africa and you are more likely to get “South African Trade Union on Strike!”or “Marikana Massacre: where to from here” as one of the headlines running for that week. South Africa is a very strike prone country, there are many reasons this thing happens. One of them is that this country is a democracy. This is my country’s banner flag as well as its foundation: without this there is no South Africa. Unfortunately we abuse it.
Strike statistics are hard to come bye but the few I managed to find sugest that the picture isn’t as grim as the media, both internationaly and localy would like to have us believe. Yes the country is in the top twenty in the list I have managed to find. Owen Adendorff and Associates (Pty)Ltd, list South African strike action on number eleven on its “Strike days per 1 million of population-2008 analysis. Denmark is the first with its 373 820 days gone to strikes. South Africa had only 10 151 days gone to strikes that year and if their prediction is any thing to go bye, we will continue not being the strike capital of the world (for more please go to www.owenaden.co.za and look for strike a global perspective). Unfortunately the time left to go on being a moderate striking nation is fast running out. Hardly a week goes bye without us reading about or watching a violent strike poping up its ugly somewhere in coporate jungle South Africa. Medupi technicians bulding Medupi Power station left us baffled as they recently put down their tools and went on strike. The country is under siege from a battallion of strikers writes David Gleason(BD Live, www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/columnist/2013/09/10). And that is the truth, We seem to believe-we leaders- that so long as the people are as of yet not on strike then we have no reason to panic and also need not address their problems. Trade Unionist have the country under siege but it is justifiable. Our leaders do not ever listen, you have to be on strike for them to listen. It is becoming so ugly that it has now gone on to wear the horrid mask of xenophopia. Exepecially when the average over fustrasted township and slump town are involved. As is, it seems justifiable to say that as far as disasters go, Marikana masacre taught our leaders nothing.
That being said, I have come to admit that that we South Africans do too much striking for our own good. I mean whats up with the crude idea of actually draging school kids and students out of class just so you could go raze libraries, foreign owned shops and goverment building up in smoke all in the guise of a well meaning strike? The scariest part-to me any way- is that my Zimbabwen teachers tell me that this is exactely how Zim’ got itself to being the world’s ricule doll of a country. Are we sure this is the right path we’ taking?
God help us…But just in case you choose not to: I think it wise to keep my passport to Swaziland within reach-oh dear!
There is much to be said about South Africa. Universities all over the world study the countries democracy, Some have even called my father’s country “the great experiment. I hate this label but I cannot argue against its merrits. We are an experiment but there are signs that we will not be an experiment for long.
One such indicator is the current awakening as to the imageof South Africa projected by the presence of colonial South Africa’s statues. Students from UCT are demanding the removal of Sir Cecil John Rhodes’ statue from the premises. UKZN students have recetlly defaced the statue of King George 5th and are demanding its removal. Oh and EFF is offering to help the universities remove the statues “manually” and I susoect they will hastily take away bit by bit. You may get your passport if you like but we are going nowhere, the Boere Volkstraad may be seeking to cede land out of South Africa and maybe form a nicely well cooked Afrikaner Republic but the truth is that they are more African than the Deutch they come from. They are going nowhere. South Africa is only just a teenager going through one nasty identity crises phase. Who likes pimples?