Chris Moerdyk

SA is still just a bewildered teenager

2012-10-22 09:48

Chris Moerdyk

When you think about it - everything that is happening in South Africa today is pretty much like a hormone-charged teenager who thinks he knows more than any adult and puts partying, money, big brands, self-adulation and materialism above all else.

And pretty much doesn't give a stuff about what’s going to happen in  the future.

Birth and formative years

It all started in 1994 when the South African democracy was born.

The new baby had a father figure who was consided the world over to be a saint, a statesman and a true leader. As the child grew up, this awesome parent gave him all sorts of things of which to to be proud. The kid flew the country’s flag with pride and everything was rainbows, prosperity and really nice warm feelings.

By the time the youngster turned 10 his hero had long been replaced by another father figure. A bit of a dreamer who didn’t really have much time to devote to setting good examples. While his predecessor took time to teach tolerance, dialogue and just about every other admirable parental trait imaginable, this new father figure spent a lot of time away from home and did some really silly things like becoming a notorious Aids denialist.

He also quite openly seemed to spend much more time protecting his brothers and sisters rather than looking after the kids.

Impressionable years

Then just as the young fellow entered his most impressionable years an uncle arrived and had a hell of dig dong figit with the father figure who, a few year earlier had thrown him out of the house. The tables were turned an the uncle took over the house.  

The impressionable teenager was patronised but mostly ignored.  His uncle was not a great listener.  

So,  there he was left pretty much alone in the wilderness, his dreams shattered and the rainbows and wonderful warm feelings of his childhood days a distant memory .
He watched his uncle and his brothers and sisters accumulating wealth right left and centre without even glancing in his direction as he tried to make sense of the waves of crime that washed over him as a desperate and increasingly dysfunctional society mercilessly mugged him at the drop of a hat.

Grown up and wide-eyed

This year he turned 18. Gaunt, wracked by poverty and crime with nowhere to turn. His father figure and all of those who moved into the house his father Nelson had built, didn’t seem to give a damn. They just kept surrounding themselves with more and more security, blue light brigades, multi-million Rand security upgrades to their increasingl bomb- proof homes and utter disdain for anyone who was  not a member of the inner circle.

This 18 year old adolescent is fast losing hope. He sees his peers and elders taking to flaunting the law, destroying property and killing people in an effort, they tell him, to earn a living wage.

He watches wide-eyed as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.


Right now South Africa is a scared, undernourished, pimply adolescent who has not the foggiest idea of what the future holds.
Right now, this troubled teenager doesn’t know whether to just forget about everything his very first father taught him about morality, respect, non-racialism and serving one’s fellow man and simply try to emulate either his present father figure or just join the growing hordes of youngsters who have decided that human life has no value and that if you kill enough people your demands will be met.

Or, of course, go into politics, choose the right party and climb aboard the fun-filled, cadre-deployed, gravy train.

One has to wonder what will happen to this this pimply teenager as he becomes a young adult and then reaches middle age. Will he eventually be able to control his raging hormones and start thinking rationally? Will he remember was he was taught as a child?

Or, will he grow old surrounded by anarchy and poverty and survive as best he can and leave nationa-building to another generation?

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

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