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I Hope I Am Wrong

21 August 2012, 18:44

Often, when I write here, I do so out of anger. Anger at the idiocy that is driving South Africa down to new lows. Anger that people refuse to take a stand and say enough is enough.

The other day though, I realised why I am angry.

It started with a corny picture on Facebook. An African elephant, with the words 'my heart will always beat to the sound of an African drum.'

That something so simple could put tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat brought clarity - clarity that the reason for my anger is that forces outside of my control have stripped me of any hope for the country I love.

Sure, it's great to live in the first world. Things work. You can get just about anything you want any time of the day or night, and there's no need to fear crime.

But it's not home.

Unless you've done it yourself, you have no idea what it's like to wave goodbye to family, friends, and everything you have known your whole life. To fly for days around the world, into the unknown.

It's one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life, and it takes months of heartache, tears and indecision before that final step finally comes.

I am angry because as much as the Nats failed, and the ANC are failing, YOU, my fellow South Africans, are failing.

You are failing to stand up, and say with conviction that what's happening in South Africa today is not right - that it was never right, that it will never be right, and that until it is righted, you will not be silenced.

I am angry that I could not see a future for my child in the country that was built by the blood, sweat and tears of ALL our ancestors.

I am angry that I won't wake up and look out the window at Table Mountain, or body surf at Jeffrey's Bay again, and that from now on, my winters will be frozen.

Most of all, however, I hope that for all my anger, I am wrong.

I hope that a miracle will happen, that will stop the headlong slide into blood, pain, dirt and tears. That will turn things around, and stop the endless bickering about race, about the past, about who deserves what, and that South Africans will all realise, once and for all that we ALL deserve better, and that the people who have failed us are two successive small minded, greedy governments.

That enough people will realise that just because you call something progress, that doesn't mean it's any different to what it's always been, and that revenge is a pendulum that will always swing back to where it started, and then back again.

I hope that one day, I will be able to come back to South Africa, and to spend my days under an African sun. 

I hope I am wrong. That I've misread all the signs that put me on that plane in the first place. That the people of South Africa prove me wrong, and that we somehow manage to claw ourselves back from the brink.

But I don't think we will - and that makes me angry too.

I think that the steady increase in failure, bloodshed and tears will continue. That things will get a lot worse, before people realise that it takes a momentous, collective effort by ALL South Africans to turn the tide, and change the future.

Because we can't change the past - and at the rate we're going, our future looks like more of the same.

But I hope I am wrong. Because my heart does beat to the sound of African drums, and I would rather be wrong than right. 

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