David Moseley

How much do you really care?

2013-02-20 08:47

David Moseley

Just off the top of my head; Marikana, Nkandla, Anene (and violence against women in general) and Oscar. These have been the major talking and tweeting points of the last few months in South Africa.

Headlines that have accompanied all of the above have ranged from "apartheid-era action" to "nation outraged". We're all apparently "riveted" by the Oscar case, and we've been "shaken into action" by the horrific rape and murder of Anene Booysen and the ongoing brutal treatment faced by our women daily.

Radio talk shows, TV news bulletin and, of course, Twitter, that first port of call for the outraged and aggrieved, have been aflame with anger and vitriol (for good reason, I might add). Foreign press outlets have labelled this time as the official end of the Rainbow Nation. International investors are said to be whisking away their pots of gold.

If you still happen to practise the quaint art of picking up a newspaper you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a country on the brink of collapse; the next Libya, the next Syria, Africa's very own Ancient Rome, the once-bright beacon burning to ashes while the president fiddles with himself.

But luckily "we're" angry. "We're" a nation demanding justice for the downtrodden, the raped, the murdered. "We've" had enough. "We're" tweeting our disdain for the state of SA. "We're" connecting to stop rape. "We're" want justice done.

Are we, though? Are we really doing anything to make sure another Nkandla isn't built, another labour massacre doesn't take place or that another teenager isn’t cut in half and left for dead. Will we be living in a better or worse South Africa in two years time? Have the last few months been a turning point in the history of this little nation that could, but then found it couldn't?

When the anger and outrage dies down, then what? The powerful attempts to highlight the rape crisis in the country were stopped dead in their tracks by the death of Reeva Steenkamp. How much do you really care?

The Oscar court case is a circus, destined to be consigned to the scrapheap of celebrity demise as soon as it's over. To be quite blunt, it's a non-issue, because everyday someone is murdered in South Africa. Yet here we are, "all" fascinated by the downfall of an "icon" (and not by the death of another woman).

So while the sharing, social networking, editorialising, opining and tweeting start the conversations for change, who finishes them? Frankly, I don't care for Oscar or his case. It's terribly awful that another South African has died. But what of the rest. How much do you really care?

We're a privileged lot, us that sit behind our desks all day, following the horrors of daily life from the safety of our office internet accounts. A quip here, an opinion there, a "share this message if you want to stop (insert cause here)" to make us feel like part of the masses.

And now. What happens when the trending stops? How much do you really care?

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  anene booysen  |  nkandla upgrade
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