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The Brave, The Black & The Wealthy

10 May 2012, 11:06

Inspired by music I was listening to in the shower this morning, my BBM status was set as “Life is a stage: are you a good actor?” It was somewhat of a random thought at the time, but it grew on me through the day, and at the time of writing this article it remains in place.

A friend messaged me from her holiday in the East commenting that if you are brave enough you can write your own play and choose the actors. But is this the truth?

In my normal tongue-in-cheek way I suggested that the word “brave” be replaced with either “black” or “wealthy”: you see I joke about the obvious truth sometimes.

Let us look at some of the brave people that have chosen their story-line and their fellow players. A fine one to begin with would have to be everyone’s favorite: Sir Julius. After all, is there anybody else brave enough to say they will kill for their choice of president? To stand up and call the youth of a country to then rid the country of that same president? To mock the courts by singing outside the court, the very song that is on trial within that court? To then take his disciplinary committee to a court to reverse the disciplinary action taken against him?

Sir Julius has also shown that it has nothing at all to do with wealth. After all, he is a respected businessman that works extremely hard for every cent that he makes on numerous government tenders, and he has a charitable heart to boot: he gives some of his many friends work too!

 And who could ever say that his story was written for him because he was “black”?

Next we will have a look at someone that is not a black man (in case you thought I was being pro affirmative action for some reason). Let us take a respected white man, who is even less wealthy than Sir Julius; a man we will refer to here as Oom Derek.

Oom Derek has a history of being brave. He was arrested in the 1970’s whilst staging a sit-in against the apartheid government. He spent a couple of years in prison for his brave stand that he took. In those years anybody who stood up against the government would have to be called brave (which is most likely why it was just so much easier for us previously advantaged to go with the flow?) Anyway, when the new representative government was established back in 1994, there were a few posts that had to be filled with white people. Much the same as the South African rugby team had to have black players in those days… and some played very well, Oom Derek was given a top post in Land Affairs in 1994; a strategic move indeed: a very brave white man would be needed to start redistributing the land owned by white farmers.

Later on, Oom Derek would move to bigger things, like being kept around to fill the important roles that required a white face, like the very committee that would later decide on the fate of some wayward youth leaders. So, you may say, this man is not black. This man is not wealthier than many other hard-working men of his age who have only a few years to go before they get their pension, and who stay in their jobs for fear of losing some of that pension. No, he can be seen as brave indeed.

Not wanting to continue this study too long, I think the obvious conclusion is that it doesn’t matter if you are not black: Sir Julius has shown this. It also doesn’t matter if you are not wealthy: Oom Derek has shown this as well. So I was clearly incorrect with my tongue-in-cheek comment.  And bravery? Nope, both Sir Julius AND Oom Derek were shown to be extremely brave, and just look at them… neither can write their own story!

You see, Oom Derek’s story is now controlled by the very organization that he stood up for in the 70’s. He has become their puppet. Sir Julius? Well, he may survive forensic audits; he may survive appeals on appeals against his sentences. He may sing his racist songs. But he has no respect for anybody, including himself. And very few will want to watch his play for much longer.

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