Now, while I did not attend the contentious speech given by the President in which he made the remarks about keeping pets, I read the media commentary and discussions that followed afterwards. It would appear that during the speech the president spoke out against keeping dogs as pets and labelled it a "white culture" thing. It is especially this "white culture" comment that bothers me and which I wish to discuss with this letter.
The world has seen millions of learders arise all over it and history books are full of discriptions of different time periods which each attests to the very nature of the ruler or rulers of that specific era in that specific place. For instance you won't learn about the Nazi Germany without learning about Hitler, Apartheid without Verwoerd & Co, South Africa's 1994 peaceful transitional period without Mandela, and so on. I think these history books will reveal that the leaders that have left the worst legacies were the ones who turned against their own people, or at least against some of the people over whom it was their responsibility to govern. I call these leaders the "dividers" or "polarizer". They devide the people over whom they rule and pitch them up against each other, telling the one group how much more special they are than the other group and how they must steer away from the habits of the other group (calling them "cockroaches" as in the case of the government backed Interahamwe during the Rwandan genocide). Rwanda, Germany, South Africa and many more countries have had times like this, where the rulers divided the people.
And I regard President Zuma as one such a leader. Sure, his politics of division has not yet lead to any genocide and it's unlikely that it ever will, but none the less, the thought causes discomfort, and it isn't what South Africa needs right now.
See, when the president spoke about keeping pets as a white man's thing, the issue to be had isn't really with the discouragement of keeping of the pets (even though to have that view is nothing less than ludicrous!), it is to be had with the fact that he warns the African people against the habits of the whites. The whites over whom it was given to him to govern with equal responsibility and care. The Whites who, like it or not, form an integral part of South African society, just like the Coloureds and Indians and obviously the Blacks. Yet, come election time, you see the man trying to woo some white community somewhere in Pretoria, telling them that everything is fine and they should feel welcome in the new South Africa.
Those remarks (in my personal opinion) exposed the man for what he really is: a divider, a polarizer. A man that cares little about unity.
On many occasions the president and his colleagues (some may say "cronies", would take a swipe of the "white culture" by making remarks that they claim is actually rather a celebration of African culture. An African culture which very often is not appreciated or practised by the very African people to whom it is preached. How many Africans in 2012 with the desired educational levels, TRUELY agree with polygamy? Evidently not as many as the president thinks because all my black friends only have one wife and all the black girls I know don't want to share their husbands or boyfriends.
In fact, I find that most of the black people I know share pretty much the same interests as I. They like sport, movies and music, some like to read, some don't, and sometimes we just all want to lie on the beach or a park somewhere. In fact, there is very little white or black culture left (I'm not talking about eating habits, or cuisine). At least in the city, we all live the same way, some poor, some rich, we all desire to reach success in life and we all wish for our children to have good opportunities in life.
What our country needs is a leader that understands that. One that can see our likeness and celebrate THAT, one that can help us all reach the goals that we all persue, one that can create an environment where a South African is a person that can proudly compete and fit in with the world of the 21st century. We need a leader that can steer this country to a place where we can all enjoy the benefits and luxuries of our advanced world and, more importantly, where we can all enjoy it together, side by side, regardless of our race.
Not a president that devides us by complaining about silly whites keeping dogs.
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