Pressing Issues: Our freedom may not be perfect, but there’s a lot to be grateful for

2013-07-15 10:00

Journalist Monwabisi Jimlongo has these words as his WhatsApp status: “Inkululeko ayilolanga eligcakanyelwa ziimfene zonke.”

It is a quote from the late Kaizer Matanzima, which means: “Freedom is not like the sun that any baboon can bask in.”

While not everyone has enjoyed the fruits of our hard-won freedom, it still gives us a number of benefits worth noticing.

Sometimes I do feel that we are a bit too hard on ourselves and tend to focus too much on the negatives.

We often need to take a chill pill and follow the advice of the hymn that advises we count our blessings and we will see how many they are compared with our suffering or misfortunes.

Just today, at Loftus Versfeld, those who are able to go will be entertained by a constellation of world-renowned soccer stars such as Yaya Touré, Sergio Agüero, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart.

This in a clash between English giants Manchester City and our own SuperSport United.

On Thursday, the “noisy neighbours” will face another PSL side, AmaZulu, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in a fitting 95th birthday bash for our icon Nelson Mandela.

What a fitting tribute to the father of the nation.

It’s noteworthy that the first match will be played at a stadium named after Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, who dedicated his life to rugby, a sport blacks were not allowed anywhere near during apartheid; while the second match will be played at a stadium named after a struggle stalwart.

During the dark days of apartheid, which led to our sports stars being isolated,

we could only watch clubs like Manchester City on TV.

Why, even when Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur came to our neck of the continental woods in June 1984, South Africans had to trek to the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland to watch the two matches at the Somhlolo Stadium.

Just three years ago, a whole galaxy of world football stars were here for the biggest sporting shindig, the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

As we speak, a bunch of young, talented South African students are participating in the World Student Games in Kazan, Russia.

A fortnight ago, a sprinkling of South Africans participated in the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Just last week, we all stood and cheered in unison as Smanga Khumalo became the first black jockey to win the Vodacom Durban July; while Daryl Impey made history by becoming the first African (we also like claiming the continent when it suits us) to wear the yellow jersey at the 100th Tour de France.

These are the fruits of our freedom. Such things would not have happened without the likes of uTata uMadiba ochacha kuhle esibhedlele (who is recovering well in hospital) and, as Matanzima warned, we should take care of this freedom and not treat it as a sun that can be enjoyed by just any baboon.

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