Thursday 19 November 2015

South Africa: The bread and the spread

A communion in disparate communities
There was a time when everyone broke the bread, even though the larger part of the loaf went to the few as freshly baked and the leftover part of the loaf that went to the most was stale and barely edible.
Yet, the many were hungry and made do with the piece of bread they got whilst asking for more of the loaf and a having it fresh too.
Besides that unequal sharing of the loaf, the few that had the fresh loaf also had butter and jam to spread on their slices of bread, it was a good life for them.
The thinner spread of yummy
Then there came a more equitable sharing of the loaf, not necessarily equal, not by any stretch of the imagination, however, there was no increase in the jam and butter spread, this meant that for every slice of bread there was a thinner spread and less of a satisfactory bite for all.
Yet, to compare the confectioners before equity to those after would be to miss the point that more jam had to be made and more butter churned to give a healthier spread to all.
The scale of the problem then
That, in a nutshell, is the story of South Africa in the Apartheid times when infrastructure and services were built to serve the minority and then post-Apartheid the same infrastructure was to stretch to serve all.
It has meant the black majority government has been met with challenges of inheriting working infrastructure and scaling that up with the same standard to serve all South Africans. However, this knowledge and plausible excuse can only go on for so long, we are 21 years into black majority rule and the need for seriously noticeable change for the better for the majority cannot be overlooked.
The time for excuses is fast ending
The need for greater accountability of the leadership that has taken the larger racial constituency for granted is more pressing than ever, the opposition also needs to up their game and begin to present themselves as a real and viable alternative for leadership, government, progress and development.
South Africa has both promise and potential, it needs to touch the seemingly inconsequential that for whatever reason lives from hand to mouth, whose future only appears to extend to the next minute and it would be ambitious to see beyond the next hour.
We cannot avoid it
Those realities cannot be ignored, as we cocoon ourselves in the prosperous areas, we have to traverse the pathways between the conurbations of the privileged where we see a grimmer reality and the temptation to say, South Africa is not working for the majority.
That is the lesson I learnt from my fellow passenger as I was flying from Paris to Johannesburg.

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