We are a nation of moaners

2009-11-19 00:00

THE older I get, the more I realise that some people will never be happy. In lounges, in newsprint, in bars and anywhere else where opinions are offered, whether they’re asked for or not, you’ll find those people who have very few positive things to say, not just about South Africa, but the world in general (but mostly about South Africa).

Sport, crime and service-delivery inefficiency get the pulses racing more than most, but you’re also likely to hear complaints of this country slipping further into lawlessness simply because Irene from next door doesn’t scoop up her dog poop as often as she should.

When the Boks lose at the end of a thoroughly demanding year, ill-informed nitwits immediately insist that heads must roll. When the Proteas hold their Duckworth-Lewis paper upside down, it’s all Mickey Arthur’s fault because he’s getting slightly pudgy.

There were reports last week that the Japanese football team had been told not to leave their hotel in Port Elizabeth in the lead up to Saturday’s friendly with Bafana Bafana. Naturally this brought all the naysayers and doom-mongers out of the woodwork to predict a kind of African Armageddon (another one) the instant a foreign football team takes to the field at 2010. Those doubters would have it that the streets of Port Elizabeth are being savaged by bloodthirsty, rampaging hordes, and that no man is safe outdoors. Well, I hate to break it to you, but those aren’t thugs, they’re just the local blue-rinses looking for a lift back to Boardwalk Casino.

Besides, I’ve seen Japanese tourists before. Those dudes don’t go anywhere unless they’re in a pack of 75 or more. I was covering the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City a few years ago and about 30 of them chased a flustered Sergio Garcia into a lift, Canon EOS’s flashing so explosively in the dim hotel corridor that it looked like someone had set off a fireworks display in a broom closet. The snap-happy tourists didn’t look like they needed much disaster relief that day, while poor Sergio hasn’t been the same since.

I don’t live in an ivory tower (all that white would be rather dazzling, though), and obviously there is a lot wrong with South Africa, but not a day that goes by where I’m not thankful for being born and raised in this country. Mostly because we were colonised by the British. And when I say British I mean English, because the nice Scots would never do anything so dastardly as to impose their will on a lovely peace-loving continent where everyone had amiable picnics together and blissfully painted rainbows in their spare time, as Africa was before Europeans arrived. Anyway, because of the capitalist imperialist gin-drinking Poms, we’re a cricket-playing nation. Thank God for that. What would we do every summer without it?

Some say spring begins around September 1. Others say you know it’s summer in South Africa when the southeaster starts howling violently in Cape Town, or when Johannesburg purges itself onto the beaches of the Cape, or when the Highveld thunderstorms start rolling in consistently. But they’re all wrong. The actual start of summer is when former Zimbabwe, Natal and Province batsman (or legend, as I like to call him) Neil Johnson walks out for SABC Sport to call passionately the first coin toss of a series.

Say what you like about the SABC, but in Neil Johnson they have the official voice of summer and great times. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious and if you’re not fired up to go out and bowl 40 overs into the wind after one of his commentary stints, then you’re no kind of cricket-lover at all. So yes, while anarchy continues unabated on the streets of South Africa, at least we have the gentlemen’s game of cricket to look forward to for the next two months. And for that, we should all be thankful. Also, you could be living in Pakistan, where they play cricket in Abu Dhabi and serve car bombs with their breakfast cereal.

— News24.

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