A thought for the day: When the First World War ground to a halt exactly 100 years ago, Germany was heavily penalised financially. Financial reparations to the Allies were set at 369-billion gold marks, equivalent to about 96 000 tons of gold, but after complaints that the payments were bankrupting a struggling nation the amount was reduced to 112-billion gold marks in 1929, payable over 59 years. Hitler rode to power in 1933 on the back of Germany’s deep resentment about the massive debt, and once in office cancelled the payments. When the Second World War eventually ended in 1945 payments for WWI had to be resumed, and the final instalment of $94-million was finally paid on 3 October 2010. That’s nearly 100 years after the start of all the trouble.

At the end of WW2 Germany was all but destroyed. Cities had been bombed and burnt into near extinction, millions of people were homeless and factories and entire industrial complexes were wiped off the face of the earth. Yet the German people cleared up the rubble, buried those of their their dead they could find amongst the rubble, rebuilt their homes and factories and recommenced paying their debt for WWI. Today Germany is stronger than ever.

The ANC was handed a turnkey business in SA ’94. The whole world loved us, Mandela was a saint, and every country on the planet lined up to do business with South Africa. The economy was strong and the people were happy, willing and able.



Gavin Foster

Gavin Foster

Durban photojournalist Gavin Foster writes mainly for magazines. His articles and photographs have appeared in hundreds of South African, American and British publications, and he's also instigated and...

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