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Why South Africa will not fail

11 August 2012, 23:31

I would like to respond to Claudia Meads’ article as to why SA will fail - if I may - by playing devil’s advocate and suggesting that it may well falter under the ANC but it will not fail.

First, and foremost, it must be acknowledged that South Africans are probably the most hardy, adventurous and hard-working people South Africa has ever seen. Having established – via our ancestors over a period of nearly 400 years now – from nothing, one of the best countries on the planet with indisputable beauty, breath-taking achievements and peoples who have fought wars and hardships – that they not only survived but prospered from and which would have daunted lesser mortals - they are as tough as nails. Ask any Bok front ranker if you don't believe me.

This not only attests to our survival instincts but also to our spirit. As they say, nobody can bitch like a South African who’s only happy when he’s bitching about something, or someone. We are a nation of complainers but we’re also a nation of workers and we work best when complaining the most.

In our history – our real history, not the ANC’s warped version – we’ve been ruled by the Dutch, the French – sort of, for a while – and the English and for those who think Apartheid was bad, they should see how that lot acted, and governed.

Depending on your particular roots, we’ve fought the British – the whole damned empire that is, not just the English - the Germans, the Italians, the Cubans, the Zulus – and most other southern African tribes - each other and now we’re fighting poverty, disease and stupidity.

We obviously like to fight and we also know a lot about it, it’s something we do really well.

We are a country comprised of many nations, and tribes, and yet we’ve managed to send athletes to the Olympic games, have them win medals - and hearts with the Blade Runner - show our metal and still remain individuals, no mean task when one sees how the Yanks are all Yanks, regardless of the language they speak or the colour they are. We remain steadfastly - and obstinately - individuals and therein dwells our resolve. We will not, and cannot, be assimilated as we all choose our own paths, our own ways and our own destinations. South Africans don’t ask for directions.

We expect adversity - in whatever form - to always be in our faces as we go about our daily lives. Be it criticism from others about what we’re wearing, how we talk, how we swear, how we drive or how we think, we’re so accustomed to being criticized that we take it as a compliment. We’re different and we’re proud of it.

We expect to fight the traffic in the morning, we expect strikers somewhere to be throwing bricks, or burning something or other, we expect rude civil servants, we expect people to steal from us - or hijack and murder us - we expect the banks and insurance companies to rip us off and we expect nobody to lift a finger. We fight our own fights and we never expect somebody – anybody – to stand up and assist us. We are totally surprised, even suspicious, when some stranger smiles at us, greets us and makes us feel welcome. It bothers us because we’re used to doing things the hard way, always. It’s what we live for.

Thus, I really do expect SA to survive for some time – not possibly in its current format or even as a nation, but as a country – as we’re too damned proud, difficult, obnoxious, bloody-minded and stubborn to just give up. We never give up, even when we know we can’t win because it’s not hardwired into our genes. We have been fighting virtually non-stop now since 1652 to create our own homeland – call it South Africa, or Azania, or whatever – and during that time we’ve taken on all-comers, from wherever regardless of the consequences, and that is not about to change.

We love a good fight, a good argument and even sometimes a nice war as it reinforces our feeling of being alive, and of having a job to do. We are also Africans, to the core - like the rhino, the lion, the elephant and the braaivleis - and the ANC with all its perversity, its populism and its corruption and nepotism is extremely foolish and short-sighted if it thinks that it can do anything without us.

We’re here to stay. After 360 years we’re here for the long haul.

If we can produce outstanding individuals like Oscar Pistorius, Nelson Mandela and Chris Barnard then we must also realise that we can just as easily produce mistakes like Jacob Zuma, Julius Malema and Jackie Selebi, clearly showing that we’re not only different but markedly so.

We wear shorts when it’s snowing, we drink beer at weddings - and funerals – we drive like stunt drivers, we talk funny, we bitch when it rains too much, or too little, we complain about the weather, the politicians, the banks, the prices and the state of the nation but we keep on working – it’s what we do.

We are used to working, we’ve always worked, we’ll continue working for our survival and with that kind of ethic and motivation we will not fail. The ANC are just another obstacle to overcome, nothing more.


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