SA is still just a bewildered teenager

2012-10-22 09:48

Chris Moerdyk

When you think about it - everything that is happening in South Africa today is pretty much like a hormone-charged teenager who thinks he knows more than any adult and puts partying, money, big brands, self-adulation and materialism above all else.

And pretty much doesn't give a stuff about what’s going to happen in  the future.

Birth and formative years

It all started in 1994 when the South African democracy was born.

The new baby had a father figure who was consided the world over to be a saint, a statesman and a true leader. As the child grew up, this awesome parent gave him all sorts of things of which to to be proud. The kid flew the country’s flag with pride and everything was rainbows, prosperity and really nice warm feelings.

By the time the youngster turned 10 his hero had long been replaced by another father figure. A bit of a dreamer who didn’t really have much time to devote to setting good examples. While his predecessor took time to teach tolerance, dialogue and just about every other admirable parental trait imaginable, this new father figure spent a lot of time away from home and did some really silly things like becoming a notorious Aids denialist.

He also quite openly seemed to spend much more time protecting his brothers and sisters rather than looking after the kids.

Impressionable years

Then just as the young fellow entered his most impressionable years an uncle arrived and had a hell of dig dong figit with the father figure who, a few year earlier had thrown him out of the house. The tables were turned an the uncle took over the house.  

The impressionable teenager was patronised but mostly ignored.  His uncle was not a great listener.  

So,  there he was left pretty much alone in the wilderness, his dreams shattered and the rainbows and wonderful warm feelings of his childhood days a distant memory .
He watched his uncle and his brothers and sisters accumulating wealth right left and centre without even glancing in his direction as he tried to make sense of the waves of crime that washed over him as a desperate and increasingly dysfunctional society mercilessly mugged him at the drop of a hat.

Grown up and wide-eyed

This year he turned 18. Gaunt, wracked by poverty and crime with nowhere to turn. His father figure and all of those who moved into the house his father Nelson had built, didn’t seem to give a damn. They just kept surrounding themselves with more and more security, blue light brigades, multi-million Rand security upgrades to their increasingl bomb- proof homes and utter disdain for anyone who was  not a member of the inner circle.

This 18 year old adolescent is fast losing hope. He sees his peers and elders taking to flaunting the law, destroying property and killing people in an effort, they tell him, to earn a living wage.

He watches wide-eyed as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.


Right now South Africa is a scared, undernourished, pimply adolescent who has not the foggiest idea of what the future holds.
Right now, this troubled teenager doesn’t know whether to just forget about everything his very first father taught him about morality, respect, non-racialism and serving one’s fellow man and simply try to emulate either his present father figure or just join the growing hordes of youngsters who have decided that human life has no value and that if you kill enough people your demands will be met.

Or, of course, go into politics, choose the right party and climb aboard the fun-filled, cadre-deployed, gravy train.

One has to wonder what will happen to this this pimply teenager as he becomes a young adult and then reaches middle age. Will he eventually be able to control his raging hormones and start thinking rationally? Will he remember was he was taught as a child?

Or, will he grow old surrounded by anarchy and poverty and survive as best he can and leave nationa-building to another generation?

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  • bill.billy.1069020 - 2012-10-22 10:07

    News24, you rock. I know I can come here everyday and get my surfeit of badly written, over-simplified, axe-grinding drivel aimed at pleasing the lowest common denominator, that other news sites would be simply embarrassed to print. News24 - you are the stuff of legend. It is becoming hard to find anyone who does not think that News24 is simply the most hideous news service on this planet. There are tiny islands sinking into the Pacific Ocean, inhabited by 4 lame goats, a myopic turtle and some tumbleweed, who put out better quality news than you guys do.

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-10-22 13:50


      bergie.sean - 2012-10-22 14:37

      So Billy, let me get this straight, in one breath you say that News24 appeals to the lowest common denominator, and in the next breath you admit that you are in this very target group because you come here every day? What I like about you is your intelligence. - 2012-10-22 15:41

      News24 is like a pair of really stinky old shoes - you know they stink but you still going to take a sniff every now and then...

  • parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-22 10:42

    RSA might be a bewildered, albeit is very criminal inclined, teen anger, but the ANC regime is an old fox, hell-bent on eating all the chickens. The principle flaw in schemes for limiting the power of government is that legal and constitutional provisions for such limitations are to be interpreted and applied by agents of the state, namely, judges and lawyers, who possess a powerful self-interest in the expansion of the state. In other words, under a limited government the state is to police and regulate itself. The mice are to guard the cheese and the foxes are to guard the chickens. (Hoppe)

  • siyanda.kobo - 2012-10-22 12:02

    wow!!! well put

  • michael.bushes.7 - 2012-10-22 13:30

    Mr Moerdyk, You are well known to have written good quality articles but this is just plain ignorant of the realities facing this country. The problem in South Africa is something called multiculturalism, which is a dead end street. And please people, please dont compare SA to the USA by saying that it works there, because it doesnt. The USA was founded by white christian men and 70% of the USA (excluding illegal immigrants and permanent residents) are christian, a percentage which is much higher when you include catholic illegal immigrants, yet in todays USA, it is ILLEGAL to place a christian cross in a public place. If a white person assaults/kills a black person, it makes continual headlines and demonizes white americans, yet when the opposite happens, it hardly makes headlines. Just like in SA, the USA and Canada implements AA policies to benefit black people, to the detriment of whites who had nothing to do with slavery and segregation because they werent alive back then. In South Africa, we have the same problems. The problems facing blacks and indian people started before whites arived in africa and India. Blacks were oppressed by their autocratic kings while Indians suffered from the caste system at the hands of their very own indian people. As a coloured person with khoisan ancestory, we are still being discriminated against. Our full blooded khoisan cousins are not even recognised in SA and dont receive funds that the Zulu king receives as an example.

      bergie.sean - 2012-10-22 14:45

      Crikey, Michael, you missed the point, completely! Embarrassing.

  • - 2012-10-22 13:33

    Arab saying: "My father rode a camel, I drive a car, my son will fly an airplane, his son will ride a camel". This is pretty much what we see many times in well-off families. The father starts a business and works hard at establishing it and making it profitable, his son takes over and grows it further. His son in turn takes over and lives off the fruits of his predecessor's labours, partying it all out. Then his son in turn is left with nothing. This pretty much sums it all up for me - SA was established and formed by the colonial powers. The NP Government then made it work well. Now the ANC has inherited a going concern, but they are snorting it all away on their excesses. The masses will soon be left with nothing...

  • michael.bushes.7 - 2012-10-22 13:33

    Part#2 Mr Moerdyk,can you please write an aticle as to why we as coloured/khoisan people have to pay the price of exclusion when we have been and still are being pushed aside on our own native land. Whites built this country, give them the credit for that,but whereever I go, i see lots of indians and black occupying positions, while whites are being squeezed out and we excluded. Multiculturalism is what is going to bring this country to its needs, and whites and coloureds will be better off in an independent cape province.

      chris.moerdyk - 2012-10-22 16:28

      All I know is that it is a travesty of justice and despicable that any South Africans should be marginalised or excluded. But, as to why that is the case, you will need to ask the ANC.

  • binarycape - 2012-10-22 17:22

    Great subject Chris, but who did you get to write the article? A pimply teenager who cannot spell, and does no proofing, because he's confused? I know all about deadlines, but your articles are more and more giving the readers the feeling that the articles are dashed off in five minutes flat because the editor needs them in a hurry.

  • mshiniboys - 2012-10-23 08:50

    I find it funny that you use these words to refer to a country that has got one of the biggest economies in Africa.The problem is not South Africa the country but rather the people who run the country.Those people are the ones that behave like teenagers and they are rather mature criminals than teenagers.Why is it that a small company that was registered in 1994 or after that period has done way better than South Africa in terms of looking after the well being of its people and created jobs and changed many lives? why does it not behave like the "teenager" that it is? because a country that makes billions in profits can never be likened to a teenager that does not even own a house.For me, this is a wrong analogy and it can only be used as an excuse by people who want to remain stagnant, fraudulent and unproductive.

  • james.hurley.1401 - 2012-10-28 21:01

    I find it rather amusing that the writer of this opinion piece chose the metaphor of South Africa being an errant 'adolescent', when it really is the folly of older people, set in and blinkered by their traditions, which have historically caused the situation we find ourselves in. Notice also the male chauvinist representation of the country as a 'him'. Never mind 'pimply adolescents', what about the smooth-skinned adults of the past who sat comfortably in their fortresses and did little to end the injustice? It all seems like ideological escapism for the white, middle-aged male.

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