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SA, a place I call home

By Anthony Lekhuwana

I have nothing against the ANC. It is the party I voted for in past elections, with the hope that they would make South Africa a better place for everyone to live in. A place everyone can be proud of to call home. But some things concern me about the way they go about doing their business. They tend to deviate from the business we elected them to do. I’m a South African born man who has never left the borders of this great country (and has no intentions of ever leaving, except maybe for a holiday if I can afford one) I also have no intentions of ever leaving the country, or to migrate to another country. I love my country and intend to stay and fight for this country and to make it a better place for the next generations.

I have started to develop doubts about the captains we elected to steer this country in the right direction. I think they are messing up. How does one explain the prevailing high unemployment, crime rates, the failing education system and poor Grade 12 pass rates among other ills of this country?

As a resident of the township, I’m flabbergasted by the SAPS, which prioritises arresting people that are enjoying alcoholic beverages more than focusing on hard-core criminals who might be raping our sister, murdering our brothers for their possessions and blowing up ATMs. They are denying law-abiding citizens time to relax with a beer after a week of hard work in the office. The police holding cells on weekends are full of people whose only crime was to have a drink while chatting to a neighbour on the opposite street. When someone is in real need of the police, you’ll be told they have no vehicles to attend to you right away, so you just have to take a number and wait in the queue.

South Africa is faced with many challenges like unemployment, which has a direct link to the sickening crime rate in this country.
But it appears that crime gets rewarded in South Africa and criminals (with the right kind of connections) get all the protection they need.

Examples are galore, think of the real reason behind the demise of the Scorpions and the decision to stop the investigation into the arms deal probes.

Somewhere there’s a link and the government doesn’t seem to care what we think of it. They are so arrogant and assured of our continued support in the ballots. They don’t mind pissing on our backs and then have the audacity to tell us it’s not piss, but rain.
Most incidents relating to fraud (I’m talking about white collar crime) are committed by the same people we put in power. When they get caught, they somehow manage to escape punishment. I guess doing time is only meant for the poorest of the poor. How does anyone become a director of six companies while South Africa is facing such huge unemployment numbers. We have graduates sitting without a job and for some people to have so many positions just doesn’t make sense.

How much longer are we going to tolerate this? Are we really that ignorant to accept that all they do is in our best interest, even though it’s clear that most of them are there for self-enrichment. Most of the so-called “black diamonds” have direct connections or relations to someone who happens to be in government, or someone who’s related to a struggle veteran. What about the average Themba on the street? Does he not fall under the previous disadvantaged group. Is it a question of him not being black enough? What does one have to do to be recognised as one of those who fall in the group of those that need to be empowered. The sad thing in Themba’s case is, he used to be categorised under the previous disadvantaged group in the new South Africa after 1994, and he still finds himself under the current disadvantaged group after 16 years of liberation.

When it becomes clear that people are getting fed up by all this nonsense of corruption, non-delivery and false promises, they do a cabinet reshuffle to buy time and appear to be doing something. The reshuffle only serves as a vehicle to give other comrades a chance to get their hands on the public coffers. Not to mention the business deals and tenders that it will offer to the people connected to these individuals in the guise of BBBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment). In most cases BEE is a smokescreen and it does not empower the people it was meant to empower, but the politically connected. I’m afraid that at the pace we going, we might end up with a Zimbabwean situation.

Every generation has a revolution, maybe it’s upon us, the youth of today to take up the torch and light the way to a better future.

I appeal to our young brothers and sisters out there to stand up and be counted upon. Who will be our next heroes to fight for our economical liberation?

Whose name is going to be immortalised alongside the true heroes of the political liberation like Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Elias Motsoaledi, Elmon Malele and many others. We don’t need the wealth of this country to stay in the hands of the select few. Every South African who is willing to work hard should get a fair chance to create some wealth for himself.

As much as apartheid’s legacies still exist today, we cannot keep blaming it for all our problems. Even the ones we started having after liberation. We face current problems like economical empowerment for all South Africans and achieving pay parity according to gender and ethnicity.

According to the following article, a survey found that the average white male earned R25 093 and his black counterpart R13 684, which is kak if you ask me. The problem I have with the difference in earnings is that it creates a bad perception.

Look at this scenario:

We have two guys, one black (Sipho) and the other white (Jack). They work for the same company, do the same job and have almost similar qualifications and skills, with the only difference being their earnings. Jack stays in the suburbs in Sandton and Sipho still stays in the backroom of his mother’s RDP house in Tembisa because he cannot afford the things Jack can.

What perception will it invoke in Jack when he sees the situation in which Sipho lives? He will think Sipho is careless and irresponsible with his earnings. It perpetuates the image and stereotype of a black man not being able to use his brains. Why can’t we all be equal in this day and age? And what is the government doing about this?

A political party must be elected based on its achievements and deliveries and not just because it liberated us. Keep in mind that as much as the ANC has positioned itself as the only champion of our liberation, it is not the only political party that brought us our freedom. Other parties like the PAC, Azapo, civil organizations, normal people on the streets and the true heroes that sacrificed their lives all played an important part too. So, no one person or political party should claim credit for the liberation of the people of South Africa. It should be a collective credit. Yes, you and you, and you played a part in it.

I mean really, when are we going to wake up and hold some people accountable. We don’t need a small group of individuals that are empowered through their political connections to justify enriching themselves through BBBEE. Every time they mention BEE, it’s the same old faces that appear.

I wonder how many people still see the ANC as the champions of the poor and the guardians of our Constitution, and for how long?

Maybe people should stop voting for people out of loyalty for our liberation. We should vote for a party that will really be for the people, and not just the few politically connected individuals. Unfortunately there is still no viable political party that can be the alternative to the ANC. A party that can be the true representative of the people’s needs.

For a moment there seemed to be hope on the horizon with the birth of Cope, but Cope has revealed itself for what it really is.
Cope is about people who lost power and who will do anything to get some of that power back, at all cost. If this was not true, I suppose the mature gentlemen, who are supposed to lead the movement, would be able to put their differences aside for the sake of a greater cause that’s bigger than themselves. Mr Thabo Mbeki did himself a big favour by distancing himself from Cope, this ship would have gone down with him, as it appears it’s on its way to self-destruct. President Zuma did warn them that it would be cold and lonely out of the ANC, and they didn’t listen.

There might still be hope for Cope, but the wise men of Cope need to take a leadership stance, do the honourable thing and step down in order for new leaders to take up these positions. The current leaders of Cope have too much baggage which they inherited from the ANC. It’s quite difficult to view them as leaders who can bring about serious change to the lives of many in this country. The DA, well, that’s a topic for another day. Their failure to appeal to the normal black man on the street is going to be a problem for them for many years to come.

If there is one common goal all South Africans should strive for, it is to avoid South Africa becoming a dominant one-party state (that’s if it’s not too late already). Keep in mind that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If anyone out there knows of any good party that I and millions of others out there who want to make a difference can vote for come next election, let me know. I want to make a difference. What about you?

Will the real South Africans please stand up and make South Africa a place where all will feel proud to call home.

  • X Cepting

    “Will the real South Africans please stand up and make South Africa a place where all will feel proud to call home.”

    Amen to that brother. Perhaps we should revive a Green Party, at least the colour would not be offensive to anyone (hopefully).

  • Lucky Ntuli

    Thank you!!

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  • Greg

    @Anthony – At last a South African that is judging things based or right and wrong and not black & white…I`ll help build a country with you any day, people like you are what make me feel “proudly South AFrican”.

  • Afrikaner

    Thanks for an insightful article. Just shows you common sense and intelligent critical thought binds people across cultures.

  • Gary

    Will SA Wake UP. Everybody it appears is complacent.
    People need to look at what the current political parties are offering and which parties are actually walking the walk and making a real difference.
    Think of SA as a united people, for the people and then vote to make the difference.
    At the moment the majority vote out of loyality despite broken promises, no delivery, no education and so the list goes on.
    Wake UP it is about the future for everybody, it is not about loyality.
    Maybe the DA needs to get into power for the ANC to start walking the walk and understanding the term, government for the people.

  • EA Blair

    What about Bantu Holomisa? My only reservation is that it seems to be a one man band.

  • MLH

    Every South African willing to work hard should be able to create some wealth…you could be aiming too high. Very few of us create wealth; mostly our lives are a grim clawing to keep our heads above the AMD! The elite few seem to amass an inordinate amount of wealth, which they guard jealously (I think of Zuma’s nephew who has not paid his employees since February despite his personal wealth.) Would a real man behave in that manner?
    You quote Jack, Sipho and their salaries but don’t make it clear whether the salaries are fact or thumbsucks. There are other factors that come into play: experience, delivery, qualifications, etc. If both are equal on every level, the salary discrimination is wrong, but check it further. On R13k p/m I could certainly do far better than living in the back of my mother’s RDP house. Living standards are also of concern. We cannot all live like royalty on different salary packages; something’s got to give and it seems Sipho’s accommodation lost out to other ‘necessities’.
    Politically, it’s far more important to have a strong opposition than a perfect ruling party. No present party is all things to every thinking person. The likelihood of a new one proving to be that is nil. Were you and others prepared to put up with second best for a term, the present ruling party might begin to understand its limitations and pull its proverbial socks up!

  • ian shaw

    So who are you going to vote for the next time, bra?

  • StevieWonder

    Well Anthony you’ve surpassed me you could have made the same points in half the space. I’m far from convinced that you have a real understanding of your countries history. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that SA should follow some Eurocentric trajectory towards full employment, social and democratic harmony. It has its own trajectory its not that its ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or needs saving from itself. Its got to find its own way to live with itself and its place in the world. With that there will be great injustice wasted resources and lives, but its a process it may end in tears and regrets in the Zim sense. Or maybe it can travel another road that is more equitable to all.

  • http://mailandgaurdian riyaaz ismail

    the most important point is simply that the gini co-efficient is getting worse and is currently the worst in the world.also very importantly is that the infant mortality rate is seriously regressing.
    we require an engaging vigilant voter to question officialdom and political leadership in these forums.

  • Haiwa Tigere

    Anthony- where have you been all these years.Please read Garys reply . he suggests the DA be voted into power to teach ANC a lesson.why dont you put the fox into the henhouse while you are at it gary. we dont want the fox to tire itself out hunting them chickens
    Let me get this right Anthony.You are angry because
    1)police harrass public drinkers (you must have choked on your castle when you heard Garys suggestion)
    2)you are a full and total supporter of BEE- but it simply hasnt reached you yet.
    3)ecomomic empowerment hasnt followed political ascent.ANC has been slow in implimenting this important progression of freedom and you are looking around to see who would.You were almost sucked in by Cope but you survived.
    4)(this I note irritates you the most.)Beneficiaries of apartheid (by accident or design) are earning twice what the victims of apartheid earn-and that just the men. we have not even started on the women.
    Anthony- you are more extreme than Malema who has consistently called for economic empowerment. The man is hated here (or did you not get the memo).Your saving grace is you are dissatisfied with the ANC and are looking to exit.Your solution is to get someone with a more left wing agenda to reach economic freedom. Participants here will like ANC to do even less towards that goal .
    That is why I thought your blog was meant for another paper

  • Malcolm DB Munro

    Anthony Lekhuwana is to be commended on his forthrightness and bravery. Were all South Africans to even partially share his views, the problems of which he speaks would diminish to manageable proportions. His thoughts on flight or fight, he chooses to fight, had me expand my own thoughts about such a predicament. They may be found on my blog.

  • JAco

    I Like your thouhgts but still you thinking Black and White. For instance, you dont even consider the DA as an option for with a possible solution. Will we ever be freed from this Black-White perception in our beautifull country.

  • jack sparrow

    A good Thought Anthony but not so sure that the race card is useful. Have you compared white and black incomes in the US, Europe, Brazil etc? If you haven’t, I feel your play is largely meaningless. The Riyaaz comment is much more relevant. But unemployemnt is even more critical.

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  • Stephen Browne

    If a white man and a black man are doing the same jobs they are probably being paid the same … If they aren’t, then hire a good lawyer and get rich quick. The disparity you are referring to has more to do with the fact that most of the lowest paying jobs in this country are held by black people. Which is what you might expect in a country with a vast majority of black people. Shockingly enough, in countries where white people are the majority, most of the lowest paying jobs are held by white people!

    Damn, I know I’m being Satan’s Attorney here (yes, things aren’t nearly that simple, education, crime, etc), but use your brain?

    The article rambles, but basically what you are saying is this – people should stop voting for the ANC, they are a bunch of fat, corrupt good-for-nothing has-beens. Seemingly the only ANC comrades with their reputations still intact are the ones who were fortunate enough to die before they had a chance to duff things up.

  • Rory Short

    @Anthony I agree with you completely we all need to be working to make South Africa a place we are proud to call home. It is in the nature of things however that that work never stops. Sad to say politics always attracts its fair share of people who are purely in it for themselves and our only protection against their depredations is unceasing vigilance by the organs of civil society. Such people naturally do every thing possible to try to prevent civil society from carrying out its watchdog role and it seems to me that the current ANC has been taken over by such people.

  • Tlanch Tau

    Brilliant one Author.

    At first I was not convinced by your letter but you started raising real issues that affect the ordinary Themba out there in the townships. Now I am with you and you are right by saying “Every generation has a revolution, maybe it’s upon us, the youth of today to take up the torch and light the way to a better future.”
    We are the youth of today and we need to make it happen. Hopefully I am still a youth at age 29 .
    And yes you are right, there is no viable opposition at the moment.
    @MLH on November 13th, 2010 at 2:52 pm
    I knew people like yourself will try and defend the Sipho/Jack situation. Well guess what? This is very true about corporate SA. We really need someone to start auditing these things. We need to look at the discrimination that is still very rife in corporate SA. And yes the revolution that the author is talking about will also focus on these things.

    @Haiwa Tigere on November 13th, 2010 at 8:46 pm
    Great work in analysing him and yes you are right. And I really don’t know why people are complaining about Malema without listening to the issues that he is raising.
    @JAco on November 14th, 2010 at 9:23 am
    No, you are wrong, it’s the DA that is thinking black and white.

  • Tlanch Tau

    Oh almost forgot. If you want to please the white readers of Thought Leader you need to not mention the inequalities of the country. So as you can imagine, they are not going to be impressed.

    To me this is one of the best articles I have read in ages and hope that we can follow through and get this revolution on the way. La Lutch continua, as in the struggle continues and not the “looting continues” which seems to be the new slogan within the ANC.

  • Kwame

    @ Anthony, your article reads like a threat (to whom I wonder). I want to assure you that in our democracy you are allowed to form your own political party and win elections.

    I also get the impression that you think the challenges we face are political, and I think with time you will learn that the challenges we face are not only structural, but systemic and social. Case in point is how many rightwing minded people will agree with your sentiment of a ‘revolution’ on the basis of ‘divide and rule’ and not on addressing your concerns.

    So go-ahead and ‘burn’ the house down, just don’t wake up and find its your own house.

  • Anthony Lekhuwana

    @Haiwa Tigere
    1)I’m worried the police focus mostly on people who doesn’t pose a serious treat society. I’m a victim of a car High-jack. I’ve spend two weeks in a coma, and the culprits (Known) have not been arrested. Surely I can’t be expected to sing praises of the police when innocent people become victims of such crimes, and the criminals, menaces to society, roam the streets freely.
    2)I don’t expect to benefit from BEE. I’m able to provide for my family. I’m speaking on behalf of those who did not have opportunities.
    3)The previously disadvantaged should be empowered (Not the Zimbabwe route) through education, and the creation of opportunities. There’s graduates who cant find jobs to get the much needed start in life.
    4)I don’t have the answer to wealth redistribution in SA. I believe if the Powers that be would become colour blind, and treat all people as equals, it would be a step in the right direction. No one wants their abilities to be judged based on their skin colour. If Themba works harder than Sipho, and is more experience, and willing to spend his spare time studying to improving himself, In all fairness, he should get better rewards.
    And about me being extreme, I don’t know about that. You be the judge of that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

  • Anthony Lekhuwana

    @ Jaco We are all conditioned to think black and white. We inherited that stuff,but it’s up to us to stop that mindset. I cannot just vote DA because I want to spite the ANC. Its up to the DA to canvass for Votes in my area, and make people like me to trust them enough with our future.And to those who say I’m making treats, I’d like to state that it’s not the case. Im merely expressing myself….Freedom of speech. Remember. As long as I dont take other people,s rights away from them, I believe Im save.

  • Haiwa Tigere

    Thanks Anthony.
    Think about this. A murder investigation needs only 2-5 police officers. The murderers have long gone and the people at the scene actually want to see a policeman there. Police here gather evidence only.
    Public drinking laws are another matter. People there are hostile to police therefore police need to be there in force not just 3 or 4 who could be mauled.Public drinking laws are for a)protection of nearby licensed premises who are losing business to the bottle stores and b)for public health(people have to pee after a drink or two). I dont know which order these come in.
    remember the human being is pretty selfish. When someone picks my pocket I want the police here and now. I never think of someone being killed at the same time. There was a blog here about a bicycle being stolen in Durban and the blogger was pretty livid about it. He wanted the police there and then.
    Which laws should the police enforce.Maybe the police should employ a sangoma to predict where a serious crime is going to be committed.If the criminal is known it means he is a thug and nobody would tell tales on him and police cannot find evidence to put him away.
    I would never want to be a policeman. there is a hangover from the apartheid days when violence against police was encouraged .
    who among us would be a policeman???

  • X Cepting

    Perhaps what is needed most of all is to scrap all laws that reinforce/create inequality and for us to force the government, such as it is, to concentrate their efforts on making quality education available to all. One scantilly trained teacher that is prone to strike can ruin 40 people’s lifes forever. Education apparently have one of the largest budgets. What on Earth are the doing with the money? Is it not time we ask and be told?

    @Haiwa Tigere – Maybe more of our tax money should be spent on more, better, equiped and trained police that can deal with all crime, no matter how trivial to you. My bicycle was also stolen. It happened to be my only form of transport on the weekends (no public transport), so yes, pretty damn serious to me. What do you consider worse, stealing a poor taxpayer’s cheap cellphone or one of the five expensive jobs owned by a tax earning MP? Isn’t flagrant spending by MP’s of tax money stealing of the worst kind and in some cases murder? A badly staffed/equipped hospital does kill, you know. I wouldn’t want to be a policeman either, but it is time they get off their behinds and protest for better bosses, not higher salaries.

  • X Cepting

    @Kwame – I did not see the threat there either, it sounded more like a plea for sanity and a challenge to find solutions to ever-growing injustices under the ANC government to me.

  • Tlanch Tau

    Anthony Lekhuwana on November 15th, 2010 at 11:46 am
    Yes you are write, the previously disadvantaged needs to be empower through education, but then again remember that there is an abundance of qualified black graduates out there who are not being given opportunities in corporate SA? So it boils down to the fact that corporate SA needs to stop their passive resistance towards transformation and employ these black Sipho’s who’s English command is as good as one of a French speaking person who happens to be given opportunities in corporate SA(Me suspect because he is Caucasian).

    One thing I do not agree with you is the colour blind story there. You cannot redress the past injustices by leaving colour out of the equation. Reality is the South African demographics needs to be represented in the economy of the country. In case you didn’t know, South Africa can’t be transformed without the transformation laws being put in place. Corporate SA will not transform without these laws.

  • GarethV

    Here is a question: If a political party – a green one as suggested by another comment – ever rises to challenge the ANC rule…would the ANC ever relinquish its power?

  • Anthony Lekhuwana

    I believe we live in a democratic country.
    So if a party of the people, by the people (we can it the green party) was established, and they somehow managed to get the support of the masses in an election (Provided the elections don’t get rigged like in our neighboring countries) There is no reason the ANC would not relinquish power. Actually that would be a wake call for the ANC.
    Democracy would have spoken, and the people of Mzansi would have spoken.

  • GarethV

    Hi Anthony Lekhuwana,
    Thanks for answering my question, but I will believe it when I see it.
    You bring up voter rigging in our neighbouring countries, I am enclined to think that the ANC would do the same rather tahn give up their fancy cars, enflated salaries and big homes, and the key that gives them carte blanche – political power.
    Having said that, wouldnt it be nice to see a rival party with enough clout to serve as a wake up call for the ANC as you put it.

  • Lenny Appadoo


    “I have started to develop doubts about the captains we elected to steer this country in the right direction. I think they are messing up.”

    You think? Obviously you are still not entirely convinced. What will it take? A repeat of Zimbabwe, or worse?

  • Seripa

    A very insightful article anthony.I enjoyed reading it.It provoked my thought.

  • X Cepting

    @Anthony Lekhuwana – I don’t see why it is not possible. As a campaign strategy the Green party can promise jobs and a halt on the destruction of the environment (which will be expected of it) but most importantly to give each person the opportunity for a world-class education. After the election they create state-funded technical schools and factories producing computers and solar gadgets, in the Karoo. In effect, a combined solar/silicon valley. Voila!, jobs. If the shoe factory called Taiwan could do it, so can we. If every single bling vehicle is sold overseas and replaced with a Joul and the MP’s salaries downgraded to a cap of, say only 1000x the minimum wage, the state could easily afford to pay for this venture. Scrap the parastatal idea it just creates corruption through tenders and monopolies that fail to deliver. I could go on…

  • Kwame

    @ X Cepting, my suggestion was that Anthony is free to engage in any political expression he chooses without having to attack the ANC. If one feels disillusioned, then call it fair and square and walk. No need for a ‘screaming match’ when no one is holding you down. If u feel you can do a better job then go-ahead and do it!

    As for your assertion of ‘growing injustices under the ANC’, well you are entitled to that view. I can only suggest to you that no matter how tough the terrain or failures, the ANC will persevere. This is just the begining of very long walk, and it will require hearts and minds of gold, cause gold shines forever and does’nt rust.

    Those who thought things would be fixed in 16 years, might as well throw in the towel!!

  • X Cepting

    @kwame – none of us have to suffer for that long, we can reduce the time it takes by working more efficiently, i.e. cutting out the wasters of tax money and spending more on education. If the PAC or DA was the governing party, they would be the ones we criticise. It is the way of democracy, loyalty is for dogs and slaves. If an organisation cannot take the heat of criticism how will it cope with development? The ANC is quite clearly not coping since joblessness and the general standard of living is getting worse. This is precisely what the word “development” means: to get better, faster, more, for everyone. That means giving what has been done a critical look and going back to the drawing board when it isn’t working. Pres. Zuma himself knows this or he would not be firing ministers at present.

  • Kwame

    @ X Cepting, I’m not here to convince you otherwise or question your list of reason’s. I think we agree that in a democracy you are allowed freedom of expression and association. So I encourage you to go ahead and exercise what a lot of people have enabled you to enjoy. This of course you can do without judging or attacking anyone!


    So many truths in this article.The only way to make the ANC wake up to reality is to stop voting for them This does NOT mean to stop voting. Vote for the least important party,the one with no chances at all of winning, and this will be a vote against the ANC because it will reduce their percentage of votes in their favour, and they will know why.

  • Anthony Lekhuwana

    I agree with you on many aspects, you can check my views below:

    I think South Africans should engage in dialogue, and highlight the good, as well as the bad in the country. We cannot afford to be complacent, and think we can achieve all out ambitions just by voting people in power, and leave everything to them. They need to held accountable, and if possible, replaces by people capable of leading us into the future.

    Problems experienced in South Africa, like crime, unemployment, and affects everyone, rich, poor, black, and white, and everyone in-between.
    As long as we see it as a mutual problem, and work on finding solutions, we might just fulfill the African dream of a Rainbow Nation. If Not, that dream will remain just that. A dream.

  • moafrika

    Together we can make Azania the best place to be and we can work towards creation of a true democracy and harmonious environment to live in. However the inequalities of the past need to be redressed, as the previously disadvantaged masses of our people are undergoing economic and social deprivation of resources.

  • Koos Kombuis

    Yes, yes, I loved this blog. There is a subtle difference between previously impoverished groups (i) wanting to drag the rich down to their level and (ii) craving the equal opportunity to earn their own way to riches by honest hard work. Rightly preceived, too many BEE appointments don’t actually engage in honest work at all, they are passive recipients, mere letterheads on the stationery of the company chiefs. Anthony, you have started putting your finger right on the place where things have started going wrong. This is the real issue. This is where it hurts. This is the lie we must unravel and expose. This is the guilt trip we must freed from. This is the essence of the Biggest South African Con scheme ever devised. In the end, there should be no whites or blacks, no Afrikaners and English and Xhosas and Zulus, only South Africans. And yes, of course this is our fokking home. We ALL belong here!!!