We simply need to have this conversation again and again right now

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A friend of mine living in the UK sent this link to me after the BBC Show broadcast an episode last week with a panel of South Africans in which the question was, now that Mandela is gone, what happens? The discussion quickly turns to #BOOINGGATE - addressing the issue of how the South African president, Jacob Zuma was booed during Mandela's memorial by thousands of people, including ANC supporters.  This is a very important conversation to have now. We are desperate for this and other platforms to speak about how we truly feel. This is only the first 17 minutes of this video, watch the rest of it here - it's extremely interesting and a brilliant summary of the state of affairs in this country, especially at 33.12 minutes

Honestly, I didn't want to post anything on my blog last week until I had something relevant and pertinent to say.  I couldn't eschew the magnitude of this moment as a country by posting anything that's not related to the place we find ourselves in.  The last 10 days have been difficult for us and because we were in mourning, I wanted to stay focused on the grief we are feeling, the aftermath of a watershed moment and thoughts about what is going to happen.

 I have been speaking to a lot of people whose stance on Mandela's legacy and where it should go from here, is radical to put it succinctly.  I am generally extremely emotional about the legacy of Apartheid and how we still see it everyday on the streets and talk about it almost every time we get together to eat and drink when everybody in the room can be classified as one race. We speak about it from different perspectives and with different fears.  We still have palpable racial tensions, hangups and problems we have not dealt with.  Problems that manifest themselves through the violent crimes we commit against each other.  There have been jokes about Night of The Long Knives circulating the internet and dinner tables.  That fear from whites is not actually a joke.  The anger that blacks have is not laughable. We have a leadership crisis.  E-Tolls. Nkandlagate. The Fake Interpreter and the fact that somebody that has been charged with murder, rape, kidnapping, attempted murder, house breaking and fraud was standing that close to some of the most high profile leaders in the world.  He is also schizophrenic. How did this happen? How on earth did the ANC embarrass and endanger themselves to this degree?  I was listening to a radio interview last week in which it was revealed that in the last 12 months, South African had over 2000 service delivery and protest strikes - that's more than the Arab Spring put together.

That said, we had the entire world's gaze focused on us for 10 days.  Visiting journalists, researchers and story tellers have been in our midst, telling us what they see when they come here.  They offer opposing perspectives.  They see the beauty in our frustrations, they marvel at how normal we think we are. They try to keep up with our drinking and can't.  They immerse themselves in the well of history we have to draw from.  They are jealous of our freedom to be.  African Americans and Black Britons can't believe how good we have it here, how much freedom we have to be ourselves, how platforms are desperate for our voices to be heard, how much we are seen.  South Africa is so God damn complex.  I'm proud to call it home but our home has filthy tendencies and dirt that needs cleaning up.  How does this discussion make you feel about where we are?

I'm aware that a blog such as this is supposed to be a platform to escape the daily deluge of bad news and anxieties that we face but my mind is filled with the kinds of issues discussed in BBC Question Time the panel discussion.  I'm so happy that it's the last week of work, that we will all have a little time to reflect on the last year as we prepare for the new year.  My blog turns four next year and I shall celebrate that with the look I can't wait to reveal to you in the new year. 


slomokazi said...

its not always possible to escape reality, so its great that you bring this topic up - it seems the whole country is actually discussing this. Which is actually a good step for us.
I think we can actually take this country into any direction we want it to go into, as long as we do not let ourselves be fooled into thinking we are servants of the the government. It is the other way around.
I think if we can really work at closing the poverty gap, improve education and provide facilities for the people - which is actually very possible - we can then start to grow our country.

Looking forward to the new look - will it roll over a few days into the new year r is there a new look launch date?

Zimmy** said...

Thanks for this Milli... We have so much to still address as a nation, but without a doubt, we are such a blessed and amazing country! I read a tweet today that read as follows - "Are you a South AfriCAN or South AfriCAN'T" and it really got me thinking!

Have a lovely festive season and I am DYING to see the new blog layout!!!

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