The bubble has burst

2016-04-19 06:00

TODAY’S political landscape is a metaphorical reminder of Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a vain king who was so fond of new clothes and his appearance that he spent all his time and money on being well-dressed and parading himself in public, caring nothing about the state of his nation.

One day, two swindlers came to town and pretended to be able to weave the finest cloth, which couldn’t be seen by anyone who was either unfit for office, or who was unusually stupid.

The king had a suit made of this wonderful cloth and, not wanting to appear unfit to rule or stupid himself, pretended to be able to see the new clothes, as did all of his ministers and courtiers.

He paraded his new clothes through the streets and the onlookers, also not wishing to appear unfit for their positions or stupid, all admired them until a little child said: “But he hasn’t got anything on!”

Soon all the onlookers were repeating what the child said and the bubble of pretence burst while the king continued the procession, attempting to maintain his dignity by pretending nothing had happened.

Current affairs in our country give meaning to the tale’s theme of a context in which certain people are widely acclaimed and admired until someone starts to question whether what they have done or created is real or of any value.

The initial lone voice of reason, once seen for its veracity, is then rapidly taken up by others and becomes a crescendo of voices now clamouring for the obvious truth.

I will credit Julius Malema, in this instance, for being that lone voice and commend him for having the courage of his convictions to speak out and take action against President Jacob Zuma long before it was as fashionable to do so as it is increasingly today.

ALEXANDER STRACHAN

Chase Valley

Pietermaritzburg

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