After 1994, the average white South African could be divided into two categories, namely those who saw a future for the country and those who didn’t.
It was the start of the second “Big Trek” as many conservative whites left for Canada, Britain and Australia to get away from the governance of the ANC.
Others feared for their safety, and usually justified emigration as necessary to protect their children against an ever-rising crime rate.
However, many realised that the freedom to travel the world was never bestowed on white South Africans during the sanction years, and realised that democracy liberated everyone in the country; especially a younger generation of Afrikaners always exposed to the highly efficient propaganda machine of the apartheid regime.
Eventually, this lay the foundation for many South Africans, of all races and creeds, to work abroad without uprooting themselves from their country of birth.
The fact that the local currency also traded, and still vastly trades weaker than most of its first world counterparts, gave a massive financial incentive to become an international citizen…
Personally, I’ve never felt the need to do any of the above and not for any other reason than my complete and utter belief in South Africa as a country and nation with a future for everyone.
I’ve never considered myself overtly liberal, nor conservative, as I was 12 years old in 1994.
In fact, the only self-tag I would slap on myself is that of a logical realist. And, realistically, I’ve never doubted our ability to become the shining beacon in the world of a true multi-cultural, racial, religious and opinionated civilisation.
However, the human condition I do oppose, is ignorance. I suppose it was this uncanny will to speak my mind toward those who ignorantly divide us all, and use the ignorance of others to their own exclusive benefit which proposed my critique of politics; both by politicians and those they govern.
As a white South African I’ve heard many a tale of folk who criticize the country for all its worth, ranging from the “treason” of FW De Klerk to the “terrorism” of Nelson Mandela.
The ignorance of this kind of rhetoric infuriates me to my core, and the lawyer in me usually engages in a hardcore debate when I am confronted with such opinions.
What a bunch of idiots! I always thought...
In spite of all their criticism, I always had huge respect for Mandela and Mbeki, as presidents. The same goes for FW De Klerk, who had the most difficult presidency of any world leader in history, according to me. They were intelligent, educated people with a moral compass... something Jacob Zuma and his inner circle never possessed.
The country always had its challenges, but since the appearance of Jacob Zuma as president, the fallacy of the Emperors Invisible Robe truly became the theme of his leadership (or lack thereof).
Many analysts will refer to the complexities within the ruling party as well as the tribal element within the country, when painting the political landscape in S.A under Zuma.
Yet, this was never part of the Constitutional equation in a modern democratic society. This never stopped Zuma however, and he covered himself with the robe of African tribalism, purely for his own gain… and as South Africans know, it was a fallacy exposing his naked ignorance, and not a magical invisible robe.
Remember “the Spear”? The naked painting of Zuma which had the country in a frenzy from about ten different political perspectives?
I suppose nothing rings as true to what this article is all about, as the controversial painting itself.
Where Mandela and Mbeki did everything in their power to uphold the Constitution, Zuma is still figuring out what it is, although he tells people he was part of its creation. Hence, it was providence that the Constitutional Court recently condemned his presidency, by forcing Parliament to smell the coffee!
The president’s mandate... if ever in doubt, is to protect the Constitution of South Africa, and act in accordance to its prescriptions... to the letter.
Zuma came to power with an act that can only be associated with his actions before his famed shower, using Kgalema Mothlanthe as his spear to do so... leaving Mbeki clutching the Constitution in one hand, KY in the other, wondering “...how the hell that happened!”
South Africa went from a country filled with hope and the shining beacon in Africa, to a chaotic race cauldron, with a class war raging on the streets in the form of strikes and demonstrations under Jacob Zuma. Yet, I always knew that this would be short lived.
Two words epitomise the worst thing to hit South Africa since apartheid… Jacob Zuma.
It was not because he is a strong enough leader to have done so... in fact, quite the contrary.
Zuma snapped and attempted to rape the ethos associated with the spirit of the Constitution, and what it stands for. In a sense the Constitution started to mould the Government around it, just so he could question the judiciary, attempt to pardon himself, introduce us to the Guptas, marginalise racial divides, have the rest of the world laugh at us, and just be a Zuma!
I’m sure in the decades to come, that surname will become a synonym for destructive governance.
Zuma showed us the worst the government could become, in the absence of decent South Africans standing up against it.
Yet, South Africans have a track record for eventually rising up against evil. It is this very pluck, that allowed the demise of apartheid, whilst avoiding a civil war. Although Nelson Mandela was the catalyst to achieve this feat, he still needed the understanding of an entire nation to pull it off… which we did.
It is obvious now, that even during his years as an MK operative, Jacob Zuma never understood this complex synergy; his actions as president proves this.
Zuma ignorantly parades himself for all to see, and as naked as the emperor could ever be, with fraud, corruption and incompetence weaved in his coat, the average voter soon sees that the invisible robe, is just a naked man with his hand in the cookie jar.
The worst of all is that he was willing to destroy the cookie jar just so he could get away with it all.
To those in other countries who so blissfully criticized South Africa and its alleged loss for hope, I can only shrug my head in shame because of their cowardice.
No one gave us a chance before ’94... nor after it.
Yet here we are...
After the dawn of the new millennium, the Rand traded at nearly R 20 a Pound, and the economy was slipping into an abyss...
Yet here we are...
When Zuma upstaged Mbeki in Polokwane in 2008, and Malema seemed like the future of S.A politics, most said our time was up and that our worst nightmares are coming true...
Yet here we are...
South Africa has always been a country on the edge, and most commentators never gave us a chance, hypocritically stating that it was a matter of time before we imploded. From the Soweto uprisings in the 70’s, to the iron fist of apartheid, to the selfish and destructive presidency of Jacob Zuma.
Yet here we are, finally ready to just be South Africans and one of the great success stories in world history.