Politicians, privilege and beating the mist

Today people suffer from all sorts of privileges – pretty privilege, white privilege, black privilege … If ever there was something such as “weather privilege”, it would belong to the people of Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni.

The weather is never bad there, although, when the residents talk about it, you’d think Vosloo was an enclave of Antarctica.

They complain about the spruit that separates Spruitview from Katlehong.

If you want to enjoy a good winter’s drive, start at Lady Grey village in the Eastern Cape and go down to Mthatha.

If ever nature could be treacherous, that route would be exactly that.

On a recent trip, the sun set early on me, the mist rose and the rain started falling. The visibility was so poor, I could hardly see 10m beyond the bonnet.

Once in a while, I saw a bus flying in the opposite direction – it was travelling at such a high speed you’d swear the vehicle was fitted with a night-vision windscreen.

The sound of the wheels and the wipers boomed like a wail for my death even though I was still sitting in the driver’s seat.

Tiredness overcame me, but there was no place to stop. I was on Barkly Pass. What is that you’re saying? From the frying pan into the fire? Well, for me, it was more like from the coffin into the crematorium. I was already dead, and all that was left was for me was to choose the scene of death.

Read: White vs black privilege. An intellectual response to Zille's charge

The reasons for my death were plenty, from skidding on black ice to crashing into falling rocks or hitting a cow lying on the tarmac to get warm, or I had blacked out and gone straight over the side of the mountain, leaving no skid marks.

I kept my hands on the steering wheel and my foot softly on the accelerator.

I avoided clutching as much as possible, because it remains one of the greatest causes of accidents on treacherous roads.

So I drove mostly in first gear, tapping the brakes from time to time on the downhill.

On the uphill, I rarely went past third gear. The driving soon became a mental game, and I had to stay engaged. No room for distraction.

And then, suddenly, the mist lifted. I could see the town of Elliot with its amber lights.

It was a relief, albeit temporary, because I knew that, beyond this sleepy town, was the repeat of the torture.

Nxaa! People of Vosloorus, they complain about the fog caused by that little spruit in winter. It’s privilege, yes, weather privilege.

If you drive at night towards Mthatha, please don’t take the Ugie route, because that will take you to Maclear, which has one of the most spectacular valleys on Earth, but, at night, it is also one of the most dangerous routes – driving between Ugie and Baziya is plain suicide.

The road between Elliot and Ngcobo is called KuSathane, or Satan’s Nek Pass. Enough said.

My experience that night was so horrible that my brain has mostly blocked it out.

All I remember is feeling like I was in a torture chamber and, with every metre of the broken tarmac that I drove on, I was getting closer to my end.

I shouted at death: “Not tonight. Damn you! Not tonight.”

Bloody Vosloorusians! Bloody South Africans! You don’t appreciate your enormous privileges – a robust democracy and solid institutions.

Politicians are like bank robbers, they will always try to raid the Treasury. They do it all over the world.

US President Donald Trump is constantly attacking the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, who is the equivalent of the governor of the SA Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago.

So there is no need for fear-mongering when politicians come raiding.

Our institutions were built to withstand their vicious advances.

It is only during the storm that you get to see how robust your building is.

Likewise, our institutions were built to withstand the vices of our leaders and not their virtues.

The future is bright. Keep going.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24


Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has written a letter suspending party president Cyril Ramaphosa in apparent retaliation after he was served with a letter of suspension on Wednesday.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
He doesn't have the power
29% - 7 votes
It’s a declaration of war
21% - 5 votes
Nothing but a distraction
50% - 12 votes