You can be free or dom - your choice

2012-05-02 07:11

Chris Moerdyk

The reason so many South Africans enjoyed a long weekend holiday is because 18 years ago we chose to become a democracy.

We celebrate this historic occasion by calling it Freedom Day - a public holiday on which politicians are free to bus in  supporters and make speeches, elite management have the day off to play golf or braai and the majority of workers in the retail sector are free to choose between a day off and making two or three times their normal daily wage, the cost of which is ultimately passed on to the consumer. Just like petrol price hikes, sin-taxes and maybe even e-tolling one day.

But, it is not about the insanity of so many public holidays that I wish to write today but the issue of freedom. Personal freedom.

To me the choice is simple. We South Africans have the constitutional right to be free or to be dom.

Being free means understanding that it is quite OK to bitch about crime, corruption, high prices, fraud, service delivery, fat cats, road deaths, unemployment and all those other  issues that have become part of the South African national conversational psyche.

But, becoming obsessive, wilfully damaging property or even killing people in exercising your rights, is just plain dom.

But most dom of all are those people who allow their dissatisfaction, resentment and frustration to ruin their lives.

Sure, we are still a relatively young democracy and haven't yet learnt how to deal with things with which we disagree.  We especially haven’t leant to deal with criticism.

Particularly our politicians who are probably the country’s worst at being singularly dom because all of them are over-defensive, over-sensitive and over-reactive.

They should have a look, for example, at the level of insult and derision that is levelled at US presidents and political leaders. It is  far worse than our leaders experience.

They just take it on the chin, do the Americans. They don’t get all huffy and start suing journalists and opposition political leaders right, left and centre.  They simply understand that in a democracy freedom  of expression sometimes completely over-reaches itself. But that is no excuse to revert to communism or apartheid era draconian laws.

Ordinary South Africans also need to decide whether to allow themselves  to be free of over-reaction, intense anger and the kind of frustration that they believe only bloodletting will appease.

South Africa is not alone in having its fair share of idiots who drive like madmen, stick their hands in the till and generally just do what the hell they want.

We are free to report bad driving, report corruption, report fraud and free to just move over and let that idiot driver go past instead of playing chicken and risking our lives just because our egos are bigger than our willpower.

It is not until we achieve freedom from our own aggression, hatred, resentment and jealousy that we will truly be free.

Until that happens, we will just remain dom.          

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  • Tc - 2012-05-02 07:37

    I think I am 'dom'. I hate the ANC for what they have done to this country. I have no further patriotic feeling for what is left of this country. I protect and care and fight for what is my own, else that will also be plundered by the ANC-establishment. If that is dom, then let me be dom.

      Edward - 2012-05-03 14:55

      A. J. MacInerney: The President doesn't answer to you, Lewis! Lewis Rothschild: Oh, yes he does A.J. I'm a citizen, this is my President. And in this country it is not only permissible to question our leaders it's our responsibility! Chris et al: The above is a quote from the movie: The American President. Another goes something like this; "democracy is hard, you've got to want it bad." Until a democracy gets to this place where they understand that it is the citizen's responsibility to criticize and hold accountable every elected official then democracy won't work. Unfortunately in countries where tribal loyalties out weigh country loyalties you will have difficulties. In countries where it is considered wrong to criticize one's elders you will have difficulties and from my observations of SA you have both. Again just my observation, until the majority of South Africans "want it bad" democracy will be difficult to achieve. Until the majority of South Africans understand that it's not just their right, but their responsibility to criticize and hold accountable their elected leaders you will struggle. And one of the worst laws that you've passed (outsider looking in) is that one that limits free speech in the press. Just my two cents.

  • Leon - 2012-05-02 07:37

    buying an e-tag was also dom

  • Bennie - 2012-05-02 07:43

    Keep voting for the ANC and expecting a different result - super dom !!!

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-05-02 07:56

    every human possesses stupidity until the day they die their human deaths, but we can eliminate it bit by bit by learning new things and gaining new understanding (growth - which we are designed to do!). Our mistakes are our biggest learning opportunities. Anyways, great read!

  • Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-02 08:06

    Yeah! And the electorate has the freedom to be dom and keep voting for the ANC. They are dom enough to keep believing that the same empty promises will somehow, by some miracle, turn into reality.

  • abner.inghels - 2012-05-02 08:13


  • Judith - 2012-05-02 08:19

    Agreed and now we need to show that we are not dom by coming together and making sure that the things we want to happen actually happen. We need the same levels of commitment in ensuring service delivery, good education and health care happen, as we have shown around the e-tolling saga. We need to display it when pressing for corruption to be rooted out.

      Stan Mathekga - 2012-05-11 18:08

      @judith well said,u put it better than chris himself who is trying to throw some racial slur....apertheid was inhuman,immoral than the current corrupt goverment

  • Blixum - 2012-05-02 08:20

    Mmmm. Dom story Chris. However, a country deserves the government it has. History has proved it. We are currently in the one man, one vote, one bantustan stage of history.

  • mastersvoice - 2012-05-02 09:01

    I agree Chris. Once we achieve the freedom you're referring to, we'll achieve true democracy too. I believe the majority of South Africans are still caught up in the past when they vote, and refuse to acknowledge their political party's failures, regardless of who the party is.

  • Rob - 2012-05-02 09:53

    Freedom is indeed a personal thing. It`s got more to do with how you find yourself than where you find yourself. You can be free in the deepest darkest dungeon. It`s a mindset. Also a mindset is the ability to accept criticism. That ability is distinguished by a developed persona. The reverse of which is the propensity to criticize the criticizers, vilify them, threaten them, humiliate them and in some cases injure or kill them. This is a primitive mind that does this. It will take generations to evolve into morally decent people for these collective folk naturally, if ever. They are to a greater or lesser degree insecure. Criticism drives human Endeavour. Many folk overlook this when they pretend to be decent, moral, Christian-like and not talk bad of anyone. usually critising the choice of language of the criticizer so as to create diversion, or point out the others aberrations. Take criticism like a man, learn from it and move on. Never mind that you were called an idiot or worse. Shove (y)our little egos and do what we are supposed to do on Earth and that is help people less fortunate than (y)ourselves from a position of strength, even if it is one person fallen by the wayside. Criticism creates strong people. It also annoys little people. Most will rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

  • Boy - 2012-05-03 16:24

    nice article cris. it is quite simple. use your common sense. everybody has it. wake up in the morning and do a meaningful days work. if you wait for a handout you will wait for ever. if you waiting for the union to get you a better work enviroment, wait till you old. no one is there to look after you. everybody is to busy looking after themselves and there families. those that play the waiting game get left in the que. people knock the politicians but please remember, they not there to look after you and me. they there for the gravy train. the days of politicians looking after the elctorate are long gone. it doesnt matter which colour rules this country. you will have to wake up in the morning and do a meaningful days work. unless you inherit a helava lot of dosh!!

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