Is this really the best South Africa can do?

Nothing to do with sport, or blogging, although I’m sure that the phrase will have been used many times in these contexts.

No, while I am uploading photos from LAST weekend, and indeed this weekend, I thought that you might enjoy(?) this biting column by Mark Gevisser on the 20th anniversary of the first democratic vote in SA.

Gevisser compares Zuma and Pistorius far more incisively and accurately (for me) than Jani Allen’s pisspoor open letter managed to compare the latter with Eugene Terreblanche, and paints a damning picture of the current, rather depressing situation here.

With Nelson Mandela dead and his African National Congress increasingly troubled, Pistorius and Zuma have, distressingly, become the poster boys for South Africa’s 20 Years of Freedom celebrations.

We South Africans love an underdog, perhaps because of our history, and both Zuma and Pistorius have milked that role. From an Afrikaner Calvinist tradition, Pistorius offers a story of triumph over adversity through God-fearing hard work. Then Zuma, from a poor rural Zulu and working-class township background, presents a narrative of the cunning trickster with little formal education who always finds himself on his feet and takes what he needs with a nudge and a wink.

Both men have been breathtaking in their perseverance and achievement. Zuma stopped a bloody civil war in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. And, as an undereducated peasant who has risen to the very top, he stands as a symbol to black South Africans that they can be masters of their own destiny. Similarly, Pistorius transforms our understanding of what “able-bodied” means, even in the way he strides up to the dock.

It makes difficult reading, perhaps most worryingly because there’s nothing untrue or even vaguely hyperbolic about what he tells us. So, because I’ve apparently been quite grumpy lately (moi? grumpy?!?), I thought you might like to have a read of just how rubbish it is here right now.

It’s not really. We had a great birthday party for Alex today and there was 15kg of Lego and a chocolate fountain involved.

One thought on “Is this really the best South Africa can do?

Leave a Reply