Tuesday, 19 May 2015

South Africa: A land not at ease

Unease in the land
There are many things I have wanted to write about my recent trip to South Africa, many of which are quite unsettling because I did not see a country at ease with itself.
Rather, in all that on the surface would have looked like a thriving society, there was an underbelly of lack, penury, poverty and destitution.
To say the country is not in a state of constant civil unrest is to ignore the fact that there are so many strikes and protests with the sad reality that very little seems to be in place for arbitration or conciliation.
The protests seem to have a militant strain and in the two weeks that I was in South Africa, at least two protesters lost their lives to police gunshots, the police having been overwhelmed to the point that they could not retreat but attack the protesters.
Riot in the camps
The thought that civilians will die at the hands of the security forces in black majority rule South Africa in 2015 is sad, especially after the Marikana killings where 41 striking mineworkers also lost their lives at the hands of the police in 2012, leaving us to draw parallels with the Sharpeville massacre of 1960.
I felt dreadfully sorry for the fact that one can begin to draw these kind of comparisons along with the fact that the leadership seems to be rocked by scandals from all ends compromising the independence and impartiality of institutions necessary to protect the hard-earned democracy of South Africa.
I will hate to think things are coming apart at the seams, but with the recent xenophobia attacks, a lack of appreciation of history and the rise of reactionary politics used to distract the people from the failings of their leaders at the centre, we have another country with great potential that risks never being realised because it has no leaders to lead the country in mind and purpose to the “Promised Land”.
Failed on the streets
Those who live in shacks on land they risk being driven from by whim or capriciousness and those who live in well-secured compounds that boast signs of “Armed Response” as part of their security response arrangements speaks more beyond what meets the eye.
The yawning chasm between the haves and have-nots will not be bridged in a generation and probably not in many generations if South Africa is to endure the rent seeking leadership it currently has.
The African National Congress (ANC) has taken the people for granted for so long that they seemed to have lost purpose or direction. Without a doubt, it is time for the people to begin to consider alternatives, the alternatives with their interests in mind.
If change is to come to the people of South Africa and unite them in common purpose, they need greater men than these at the helm, people in the stature of Nelson Mandela or who like F. W. de Klerk realised change had to come and like Desmond Tutu who stands as a Colossus in humility and humanity. The men in charge do not have the least it takes to do the latches of the shoes of these mentioned great men of history.

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