The F-word: Be the change you’re waiting for

2012-12-23 10:00

After the ANC’s elective conference, triumphalist outpourings from those whose preferred candidates won and sorrowful wails from those whose preferred candidates lost soon followed.

It is clear from these feelings, even on the streets and from people who have never attended a political gathering in their lives, that the ANC matters deeply to South Africans.

Perhaps in keeping with this time of the year, heavily embedded in the reaction to the outcome of the presidential election, in particular, was the desire for a messianic figure to solve our problems.

While historically deserved, making the ANC the centre of all life has, on the whole, been unfortunate for South Africa.

The tragedy of the ANC’s promises and record of delivery is that it has, in some cases, disempowered those who once knew they had the mental wherewithal to survive their daily drudgery.

Men and women who lived most of their lives knowing that, regardless of who was in charge, they were their own agents of change, now helplessly throw their hands up in despair because the councillor or mayor has “forgotten them”.

Full-grown adults use open toilets because “government” did not do its job.

Instead of taking the time and effort to protect their own dignity, they would rather “expose” the state for failing them by sitting there in public doing their business.

Communities with arable land allow it to go fallow because the state has not delivered a tractor. Children go

to bed hungry because the child grant application is caught up in bureaucratic red tape, yet they play in yards that could grow potatoes and carrots.

This doesn’t deny the institutional and structural realities that underpin why our society and our economy continue to reflect the colonial and apartheid order.

Neither does it absolve the state of its responsibility to help those who cannot help themselves.

Poverty, inequality and unemployment have become depersonalised and have been made into academic or ideological constructs and, worse still, slogans.

We have to return to the time when we believed the ability to defeat social problems started with us as individuals. Our children must see it in adults who take their future into their own hands.

The belief that glory or gloom lies ahead of us because ANC delegates voted in the manner they did, thus surrendering our fate to the choices and individuals elected, strips us of the psychological edge to meet the inevitable turmoil that visits human life.

The institutional and structural realities are as true for you as they are for everyone else – and must be defeated. Until they are, South Africans must appreciate that they – not Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlanthe or Cyril Ramaphosa – are ultimately responsible for what will become of them and their families.

Being the festive season, the best gift the ANC in government can give those it governs is the sense they individually have the power to change their circumstances.

»?Follow me on Twitter @fikelelo

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Use the first part of the day to visualise your plan and later you will be able to network and delegate things to work more...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.