I must admit, I’m very encouraged by what I have seen, read and heard in our beloved South Africa in the last three weeks. Ours is a blessed country with massive riches but to think of the plight of the poor who go to bed without food, proper housing, healthcare, the opportunity to get a good education, or running water, results not in only pure anger, but rage. I am however encouraged because, on a daily basis, there are more voices echoing what we all should be screaming at the top of our lungs: “Enough with the corruption, enough with the pillaging, enough with the assumption that only the ANC is the party of choice, enough with the assumption that you are owed something, therefore you shall help yourself and your connected few. There is no need for the Protection of Information Bill or the proposed tribunal.” Enough already! By your actions and statements you fat cats echo Smuts Ngonyama’s sentiments — you are all made from the same cloth.
I must also admit this is more so as the trend for pillaging and extreme thievery continues unabated. This leads to me asking the question: “Why then is this not on the 8 o’clock news?” I don’t know the answer and hope those who read these blogs will enlighten me. I’m reminded of when, as a 12-year-old, my dad, who was under surveillance, still managed to get me to a safe house in Illovo. I’m reminded of that wonderful family that hosted me, but could not openly talk about the marks of electrocution on my privates to the friends who came to visit during my stay. I’m reminded of the paediatrician who, rightfully fearing the loss of his license, did not want to put anything in writing. I’m reminded of the people who arranged for kids like me to have some kid-like activities. The two strong things had in common were their caring attitude and their despair of thinking they could not affect change.
We should continue to care and never think we cannot affect change.
The latter is what we are faced with today. I however think we can. How can we do this? I am a very simple, humble Soweto kid who has seen enough horror to last several lifetimes, but I’m not regretful. It has made me a better man.
We can affect change — by talking to our friends openly about the graft that is going on, by talking to the lady who helps raise our kids but who goes back to the township at the end of the day, or the gardener that tends my garden when I am away from home. We can talk to our neighbours about this pillaging by pigs feeding at the trough. But we cannot rid our society of these pigs. I am tired of these political hacks using all avenues to enrich themselves and their families and cronies.
I unfortunately had to listen to an audio interview of President Jacob Zuma conducted by Times Live. During the interview I was struck by how there seemed to be no sense of urgency, honesty and awareness that “things were falling apart” (not mine, but Chinua Achebe). Really! The gall of Zuma to think that the citizenry does not realize that Khulubuse Zuma and Duduzane Zuma benefited because of their connection to him? This sends my blood pressure through the roof. Why would you think that several million citizens are so stupid?
You would think this if you really thought that you are entitled, those close to you are entitled, your family is entitled, your cronies are entitled and the politically connected are entitled because they support you and can influence the outcome. The Nats at one stage thought the same. The people are getting acquainted to your ANC ways while the true ANC is long gone.
I commit to talk to the lady who takes care of the house, and the gentleman who tends to things that I cannot tend to, to ensure they go back and tell their neighbours. I commit to keep them with my family and afford them the comforts that I now enjoy so as to show and teach them that there is something better. I commit to ensure that they have their dignity and my children will never call them by their first names. I commit that if ever they need anything, I will always be there for them as they are there for me and my family. I commit to talking to their children about the graft so they know better. Most importantly, I commit to ensure they are always treated with dignity. I commit to ensuring that if I have one person’s ear to talk to about this, I will.
I do this because I believe that had the paediatrician, my keepers, their neighbors and everyone who could listen when visiting in Illovo done something and told more people, change could have come a lot sooner.