David J Smith
David J Smith

The Africans are coming

No matter your feelings on it, South Africa has been obsessed with the Spear. Many see it as a slur on the dignity of black people in South Africa. While others have held it up as an icon of freedom. It has consumed our media space and been on everyone’s minds.

The whole issue has left the country divided. But if, for a second, everyone decided to look up from the presidential penis, and see the world beyond, they would realise this is not the time for division but for unity. While South Africa bickers, Africa is getting on with being awesome.

South Africa’s right to the title, “The Gateway to Africa” is under challenge. As this article in the Economist lays out in a fairly frank manner, we are under threat. I will not pretend to be an economic genius, but looking at the numbers, Nigeria and Egypt are biting at our heels. And given our current mediocrity in government, our poor education, and inability to get on, there is a good chance they are going to catch us on our massively over-sized Achilles’ Heel.

Remember District 9? It was full of Nigerians as the bad guys. It was all very fun. We could look down at our northern cousins because we were stronger than them. District 10 may well be a very different film. Set in the new capital of Africa, Lagos, with a bunch of crazed South Africans as the bad guys.

Obviously that is still hyperbole. But if we do lose our number one position, things will get tougher. Transformation will be harder. There will be fewer jobs, less opportunities, and a lot less fun times. Plus we will be lumbered with the constant regret of losing our spot as top dog.

Number two is never nice. Ask Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. After he got kicked out of the number one metal band in the world, Metallica, he spent his entire life trying to recapture that. Didn’t matter that he sold 20-million records with Megadeth, he just wanted to be back at number one – his life has been defined by that. To the point that in a meeting with Metallica, he broke down and cried, lamenting his life at number two. We don’t want to be Megadeth, we want to be Metallica. But to stay at number one, we need to act as one.

And by one, I don’t mean one love. Rather a unity of cause. An understanding of the common good that comes from working in the same direction. It’s like at work, you may have a beef with the guy next to you, but for the sake of success, you bite your lip, and get on with it. We need to be a bit more like that. And in ten years if we are still keen on fighting, we can throw cocktails on each other around the pool at the Mount Nelson.

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    • Max

      “But if, for a second, everyone decided to look up from the presidential penis, and see the world beyond, they would realise this is not the time for division but for unity. While South Africa bickers, Africa is getting on with being awesome.”

      How old are you? Twelve?

      “South Africa’s right to the title, ‘The Gateway to Africa’ is under challenge. As this article lays out, we are under threat.”

      What is this? WWE wrestling?

      “But if we do lose our number one position, things will get tougher. Transformation will be harder.There will be fewer jobs, less opportunities, and a lot less fun times. Plus we will be lumbered with the constant regret of losing our spot as top dog.”

      Thankfully then we might be spared the groaning wincing embarrassment of having to read your blog.

    • moi

      Does a blit of truth hurt, Max?

    • bernpm

      @Max: If you can, play the ball, not the man.

      The writer is trying to address a serious issue for SA’s wordl ranking while the nation is having the most ridiculous debate and asking all to apologise to all for being black or white.

    • http://www.wethepeople.org.za Sarah Britten

      Max, it has always struck me that South Africa would be dramatically improved if we got rid of all individuals lacking in a sense of humour. Starting, I would suggest, with you.

    • True

      You are right. SA is in t and he ugly position of losing positions in both world and Africa rankings. SA has slipped from the 18th world economy in the 70s to less than 30th and is falling faster every year. SA’s industrial base peaked in 1980 and has been falling ever since. Mining is in decline. The only areas growing are a bloated parasite state that consumes rather than produces and welfare. It will be the destruction of the economy, not petty racial bullshit, that finally needs all South Africans to get off their butts and start working together. Because if they don’t, this decline will continue.

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      Max, was that response your infantile attempt at insult? LOL

      David highlights a crucial point, that our government is once again distracted by our media mafia on manufactured crisis to stir up racial divisions using gutter politics they are so adept at – just like the neocons in the US Republican Party who constantly use sexuality to stir up its Christian fundamentalist base in the US.

      Government officials are constantly defending against these kinds of personal attacks launched by the usual suspects, designed to create dis-unity instead of focusing our sights along a united front on the long term vision for SA and our role in Africa. Africa continues to be plundered while the OAU is sidelined by ex-colonial powers. Even Obama reproached African leaders with their “begging bowls”, since this type of financial aid is the root cause of corruption on the African continent. Instead of playing to the media mafia’s tune and bickering over racial insults, how do we, as South Africans, assume a leadership role on the continent to help Africa take control of its own destiny?

    • MLH

      Been concerned about this for over three years already and once that concern brews, it’s really difficult to sweep aside story after story of the arrogance SA presumes. As in the present lobbying to chair the AU: if we would only set out to prove our ability to forge ahead, we’d probably automatically get that vote. Instead we dally in promoting the economy and treat fellow African countries as tho’ we want to be homecoming queen.
      One thing is obvious: SA cannot handle change successfully; it actually wants to stay in the 20th century. Any African country able to manage new finds of oil is likely to overtake our economy soon.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/davidjsmith David J Smith

      Max, unfortunately I am not twelve. And unfortunately this isn’t the WWE.

      In the WWE, we would simply get the script writers to write us an almighty comeback like they did for Dave Batista


      Watch that, and tomorrow, start to own it like the Animal, Dave Batista.

    • http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/ Garg Unzola

      Megadeth > Metallica. Always was, always will be.

    • Jan Hofmeyr

      One more blog mentions the spear and I’m never reading “thought leader” again. Seriously guys.

    • Leon

      David JS. Spot-on. Metallica rocks (or head bangs … whatever)!

      You make a great point. One just has to spend a bit of time in Lagos (and Nairobi, Accra, Abidjan, etc.) to see how hard those people work. You won’t see many people in this country run next to a vehicle for 5 minutes selling his (or her) product in the traffic. SA is fast loosing any advantage we may have had as a result of hard work, good education, work ethic, etc.

    • http://www.quantumsurfer.blogspot.com A Henry Ernst

      Well put, David. And Max, get over yourself. There is rather more “groaning wincing embarrasment” in reading your huffy comment, methinks.

    • Zola

      “The Africans are coming”
      Please explain your choice for the title. I consider myself an African and I am already in Africa which South Africa is part of.

    • http://hismastersvoice.wordpress.com/ The Creator

      Max is absolutely right; this article is nonsense, presumably based upon ignorance.

      Nigeria is a declining, corrupt kleptocracy, riddled with civil wars and utterly dependent on a dwindling supply of oil.

      Egypt is a declining, corrupt kleptocracy, utterly dependent on a dwindling supply of tourists.

      South Africa is not under any socio-economic threat from those countries. This doesn’t mean we are wonderful and cheers cheers cheers, it simply means that we should not believe all the nonsense which Western white big business pumps out in order to fool the boobs back home. We live in Africa, we know how this stuff works, we should not be fooled.

    • Peter Joffe

      Dave Harris. You ask how South Africa can take over the leadership role for the rest of Africa? Its easy – but first we have to get some leaders for South Africa as we don’t have any. Once we have those and that does not include leaders in the race to loot the treasury, we can then tell others how to do what we ourselves have done.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/davidjsmith David J Smith

      Zola, you are right, there is a flaw in the title. South Africa is part of Africa, and we are all Africans.

      I did think about that, but I chose to use it because it was a pithy way to evoke interest in the subject i wanted to speak about.

    • http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/ Garg Unzola

      But seriously, Megadeth has always been better than Metallica.

      And seriously, the Africans are coming. Maybe not Zimbabwe, but Nigeria and Zambia have both improved leaps and bounds during the past couple of years. South Africa hasn’t, we’ve only been playing catch-up with 1994 levels of development.

    • dimwit

      Did the artist ever actually confirm that it is in fact Zuma. It could be any number of men from anywhere in the world. It is obviously widely believed to be President Zuma however in full communist attire which fact goes unremarked.

    • Alois

      @David J. Smith & Zola. You state, “We (?) are all Africans.” That statement is confusing on both ethnic and cultural grounds. If one accepts your statement at face value, then how comes it that SA established a hateful binary ethnic culture that divided peoples of that country along the lines of superiority over inferiority? Wasn’t that the basis for “apart-hate.” And will you please explain why none of your leaders of European descent never extolled the beauty of God’s Design, the various colors of humankind? Even after the Biafran War in Nigeria, there developed intermarriages between former warring tribes, which you seem unable to do. So, no, Zola and David, it will take more than a self proclamation and appointment of being “African.” You see, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! Put in another vernacular, “You’ve got to show me ’cause I’m from Missouri, and people from Missouri have got to be shown.”