Friends & Friction: SA’s saviour lurks among us

2014-10-03 06:45

“Money for food, please,” said the ­beggar on a street corner.

They say if Jesus Christ were to come back today, most religious establishments would reject him.

“Could this black man, right here on the streets of Johannesburg, be Christ?” the driver of the white Citi Golf asked himself.

“Should I give him money or not? What if I lost eternal life for failing to pay the entry fee of a lousy De Klerk? Wouldn’t I hate myself?”

Then he rolled down the window. “Are you ­Jesus Christ, by any chance?” he wanted to ask, but instead he found himself asking a different question: “How much do you make here?”

“Five hundred,” replied the beggar, with the smirk of a footballer whose multibillion-rand ­contract has just been announced to the world.

“Five hundred!” exclaimed the driver.

The beggar replied with a string of short nods.

“The whole day?”

“No, we’ve got three shifts,” the beggar ­volunteered.

“You’ve got shifts? How long is a shift?”

“I do the early morning rush. Someone else hits lunch and then another the evening rush.”

“Madoda!” the driver exclaimed. “Do the car guards make the same?” he asked.

“No, I’ve been a car guard before. They make far less. As a guard, you only get the money from the people who’ve come to park in your space, but here at the robot, it’s limitless.”

“So you make?...?R500, R1?000...”

“Two thousand five hundred rand a week, ­excluding Saturdays and Sundays,” the beggar helped the driver.

“Tax-free?”

He nodded again, looking back to check up on his customers.

“What about the future?”

“What future?”

“Don’t you want a job?”

“What for?”

“Do you mean you are going to stand at this corner until you turn grey?”

“Lots of people turn grey sitting behind their desks or standing at the [factory] line. It’s life.”

The driver shook his head.

“If you earn so much money, why do you wear such tatty clothes?”

“It’s my uniform.”

The driver shook his head again.

“Do you mean you’ll never work a day in your life. You’ll depend on hand-outs forever?”

“Yes,” replied the beggar.

A work ethic is not an instinct. It must be cultivated. It must be inspired and taught. Especially because South Africans are generally a caring bunch.

Have you seen the number of ­volunteers at homes for the chronically ill? The people, through the government, are paying grants to those who are less fortunate.

The very fact that so many beggars make so much money is a result of caring drivers who are part of a caring society.

We should never lose that trait. It is what makes us who we are.

Our leadership, which disappoints every day, may be fumbling at the sight of endless vistas of opportunity, and are foraging like insatiable elephants, but we should remain steadfast.

The signs are there that this country is ripe for a new leadership that will erupt like a volcano from unexpected quarters.

The EFF has demonstrated it is not leadership ­material.

Many current beneficiaries of BEE have also demonstrated they are better at bragging than building, so they too have failed.

But be on the lookout, the men and women who are going to deliver South Africa are lurking ­somewhere inside us.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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