Except for a brief period under the leadership of FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela, South Africa has wandered about in the wilderness for 22 years, with no direction and with the actualization of the “Promised land” receding with every passing day.
Shortly after we transitioned from ‘apartheid’ bondage, we all witnessed the miracles, of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA), of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which divined a course toward bringing into being a ‘Rainbow nation”, thereby circumventing a widely predicted civil war.
On the 4th December, 1996 we experienced our “Sinai” moment when the Constitution of South Africa was revealed and accepted and with it the Constitutional Court was inaugurated.
As a people we had every reason to be proud! From South Africa sprouted forth moral vision, tolerance and the best blueprint for conflict resolution, recorded in modern times. We were loved by the whole world and “Madiba magic” even propelled us on to win the World Rugby Cup in 1995. These were heady days and we basked in the glory of being a blessed nation commanding the moral high ground.
But as we wandered on our journey, we sought friends amongst those that did not share our values of respect for human life. We befriended leaders of the ilk of Robert Mugabe that launched a campaign of Gukurahundi genocide against the Matabele, as vicious as anything that Rhodes perpetrated.
Our leaders turned a blind eye to Mugabe’s excesses, his land invasions and his attacks on Whites, and so we merely encouraged him to continue to destroy his country. During his visits to South Africa, he was warmly received as an African hero, as someone to emulate and we enjoyed him showing his middle finger to his former colonial oppressors.
We said nothing of his personal greed, of his corrupt business practices and we forgot the lesson that if you sleep with dogs, you will attract flees. And so, we continued to befriend other “Amalek’s” such as, Muammar Gaddafi, and Omar El Bashir, Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat and from them we learned how to ignore the voices of our people. From them we learned about the abuse that absolute power brings and the pursuit of power became an all-encompassing objective.
As I write, our esteemed President, Jacob Zuma is preparing a trip to Iran, to pay homage to the arch villain of terrorism in the region, as he sells our once prized principles of caring about human rights, to the regime that stones women to death for allegedly committing adultery and hangs others for even lesser crimes.
We even squandered our opportunities in 2007/8 and again 2011/12 to show moral fibre while on the Security Council of the United Nations by voting for the military regime of Burma, by voting against imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe and by abstaining from appointing a commission to investigate the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri.
Now, as we suffer from the effects of the worst drought in a century, our leaders opt to play politics and instead of consulting the world leaders, the Israelis, in dealing with drought conditions, they invite 55 water consultants from Cuba, and even some from Denmark, at great cost to our taxpayers, to twiddle their thumbs, while people starve and animals die en-masse. Talk about visiting iniquities on oneself!
Now our divisive past has caught up with us, and racialism is consuming us. Populist politics, fomented by racist and intolerant demagogues, are gaining traction amongst the hopeless and jobless masses and we want everything to “fall”. We have embarked on a process of denial of languages, of our history and of our humanity. Into this maelstrom created by the vacuum of leadership are being sucked all the malevolent aspects of our tormented history and only the almighty can know the consequences.
Thankfully there is one leader amongst us, Pravin Gordham, who when he delivers his budget today, may prevail amongst the mayhem and madness all around him, to steer us on a course away from the abyss.