The F-word: Wanted – a friend to save South Africa

2012-05-12 09:53

Spare a thought for South Africa.

Unlike Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema in their times of trouble, it has no Friends of South Africa to call on.

Poor South Africa stands alone as it is ravaged by those who claim to love it.

It is assaulted mercilessly by those who were once willing to die for it. Its wealth is being plundered without shame by, among others, those who were once willing to lay down their lives for equality.

If South Africa had loyal friends – as Zuma and Malema have (or had) in their darkest moments – perhaps they would sound a warning when South Africa is made to play second fiddle to, and is sacrificed for, the interests of the party that is in charge today as though it will be in charge forever.

If South Africa had friends as loyal as those of the ANC president and the now former president of the youth formation, these friends would hopefully whisper in the ear of the powers that be that the people are not as stupid as some of those we shall, for the purposes of this article, refer to as “leaders”.

For if the people were stupid, they would not wonder why the minister of police is acting on a letter written by the police general accused of all sorts of horrid deeds only now, some six months after the general wrote it.

With a minister of police such as the one we have, and the head of police intelligence we have, South Africa is well on its way to becoming a gangster state ruled by those with the biggest guns and the ear of the godfather.

The criminal behaviour by those who ought to keep us safe must have real career criminals suffering from existential angst about what their real purpose in life might be.

What a pity that South Africa has been abandoned by its brightest and bravest sons and daughters.

Those who have stayed either defend the indefensible or just enjoy the proximity to power that enables them to amass great wealth for themselves, while still being far enough from things not to be held accountable.

If they had played their role as keenly as FW de Klerk did, they would have to think twice about being apartheid denialists, as he has now exposed himself to be.

This week De Klerk rambled on about how misunderstood apartheid was because at its heart it sought to create a system of good neighbourliness.

You have to wonder how you make for a good neighbour when your first act as you arrive in the neighbourhood is to render your neighbours less deserving than you of their property and dignity.

With the likes of De Klerk being in denial about the effect of white racism, you can understand why pretty young women think it is not a big deal to call an obnoxious lout a kaffir and still feel no qualms about tweeting about it.

Poor South Africa has been betrayed. The nation naively believed 1994 would relieve it of this nightmare.

Alas, we now live with the reality that both racism and criminality are back with a vengeance – and this time they’re actively aided and abetted by the political elite’s indifference to anything that does not affect their immediate self-interest.

If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would have to accept that what we call the resurgence of white racism and right-wing politics is a direct result of those in power doing nothing to earn anybody’s respect.

How does anybody respect the outcomes of a struggle if those who waged it have reduced it to a jamboree that allows them to loot the state and protect their criminal friends while mouthing slogans from time to time?

South Africa is in a dire state and it needs friends now.

Like Julius and JZ in their troubled times, it needs someone who will risk speaking for it because it cannot speak for itself.

If its friends do not emerge soon, we may have to accept that its promise of 1994 was no more than a flash in the pan – that it has become a has-been before it even was.

» Follow me on Twitter @fikelelo

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