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John Khulubuse Hill
 
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Is number 1 really South Africa's problem?

15 January 2014, 13:23

To open, I’d like to say I’m not a Zuma man by any stretch. I criticise him and cronies hard. In This article I’d like to explore some of the things we blame him for and how he measures up to the average Joe Public.

Jacob Zuma is the man that is at the heart of all our concern, anger, ridicule and frustration. No matter what happens he is, ultimately, accountable for things that  go wrong in South Africa. But who are we actually blaming when we blame him? We’re collectively blaming ourselves and he’s just a scapegoat for all our problems. If you were asked to give a fair representation of South Africans, think for a moment about the word you would use to describe South African people, as a collective. At the end of this article, I will ask the question again.

How often do we find ourselves in traffic and somebody has their indicator on, wanting to cross into your lane, what goes through your mind?

a.       “they can wait, I was here first” and then proceed to speed up so the person doesn’t have a gap.

b.      They cross into the space “how dare they, don’t they know this is MY LANE”. Really? If you built and paid for the road yourself, then maybe you should close it so only you can drive on it.

c.       Sitting on the person in front’s tailpipe, so nobody can join. Why? How much earlier are you going to get to your destination? How much time do you have to stop in an emergency?

d.      If you do end up rear ending them, whose fault is it for you driving so close?

Here’s an old favourite, taxis. Give the guy a break. He gets up at 2AM to get hundreds of cranky people to where they need to be. Cranky because they also had to wake up at 3AM to get to the taxi rank to wait in line for an hour to board a taxi. Not only that, the poor driver has to get his taxi back at 10PM to his boss with a full tank and 800 bucks in cash BEFORE he can think about putting food on his own table. And here you are, one person, in your air conditioned car ticked off when he cuts you off. How dare he! Does he not know that this road belongs to you!?

If that’s not enough, you get to a traffic light and there’s a beggar with a bag or a window washer, hoping that if they take your trash or wash your window, that you would show them some kindness and give them a lose coin or the sandwich you forgot to have for lunch. Because some of us are lucky enough to have so much food that we actually forget some and give it to our dog when we get home. While this poor guy is trying to do something useful and constructive only to be completely ignored or given a vicious response if they dare to touch your car.

Get stopped by the cops (how dare they!) and you have had a bit too much. Oh no! You can’t go to jail! You’ve heard what goes on there, people are never the same! So you try to reason with the cop, “can’t we work something out, officer?” Hundred bucks later and off you go. Other people do it, why can’t you? Suckers. But only cops are corrupt, right? People talk on facebook everyday about how cops try to solicit bribes from them. Outrageous! Lock the bloody lot up, they’re all corrupt! Hang on, you got stopped, the cop didn’t ask for the money. Are cops the only ones who are corrupt?

It’s a dangerous country, people need protection. So you’ve got a gun. If a burglar breaks into your house, you need to protect your family. It doesn’t matter that firing a gun in a residential is illegal, or that you’re not a trained mercenary. The chances of you or your family getting hurt are higher if you have a gun, but that doesn’t matter, this country is dangerous. You’ll show those crooks. Just like Oscar did.

You get to a nightclub and you meet a girl. She’s got the crazy eye, but she’s got her eye on you. Looking mighty fine, your beer goggles tell you. You ignore the crazy eye, if your beer goggles saw it. You end up at your place and one thing leads to another. You don’t call her, whether you’ve forgotten or not. One day, low and behold, the cops show up and you’re arrested for rape. Hang on! You had sex with her, but it was consensual as far as you remember. Well, now you have to prove it. That’s where the fun (sic) starts.

Coming back to our President, Jacob Zuma. He didn’t have any influence on the behaviours above. If he were a normal citizen, his behaviour probably wouldn’t make him stand out at all. He’s most likely just like every other South African just on a different scale. Should he be president? Maybe not, but hey, 11million people said he’s good enough to represent them. Are they that much different to him? Are we? More importantly, are you?

It’s quite easy to blame all our problems on him, but if you think about it, he’s just like most of us South Africans. If you were president, the media would most certainly have countless things to grill you on. You would be number 1. In most cases, being number 1 also means being public enemy number 1.

So how would you describe us as South Africans?

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