South Africa, My Birthplace, Still Weeping (Part 1)
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 14 Aug 2023
Respectfully, Parental Guidance Is Recommended for Minors
“In the Post-Liberation Democracy in South Africa, the philosophies as espoused by Ubuntu and Batho pele remain, all, but as dreams of camaraderie now dead and interred with Madiba.” [i]
12 Aug 2023 – This paper discusses the status quo in South Africa, as it progressively sinks into a political abyss of a failed state, which history will confirm, whether it is written by the victorious or the losers. It must be stated, at the outset, that “no matter who wins, we all lose”, at the next general election in South Africa, in 2024. Noting that the phrase is not associated with a specific historical event or individual originator, instead, it has become a commonly used expression to capture the idea that some situations may have no truly positive outcome, and the emphasis is on the negative consequences that may result. The phrase has been applied to various situations over time, and its usage often reflects a sense of disillusionment or pessimism about the choices or outcomes being discussed. Such are the sentiments expressed by the intellectuals, presently in South Africa, anticipating the next general elections in 2024. Similar sentiments are pervasive, as well, in United States, if the election swings between the present President, Joe Biden and the former President Donald Trump. In South Africa, the ruling party, The African National Congress is badly wounded in terms of its political image, following the numerous corruption scandals, ranging from the Gupta State Capture, to the Eskom corruption, on a mega scale, to the general decline of law and order in the country with anarchism, gaining prominence, as evidenced by the “Taxi Strike” in western Cape. This week long strike, principally affected the image of beautiful Cape Town, the “mother city in a province, held under the political party of Democratic Alliance, the largest opposition Party in post liberation, South Africa, since 1994. While the Taxi strike and associated rampage of looting, torching of public transport buses belonging to the City Council, may have been orchestrated by certain third force factions and political parties, in which five people were killed, it clearly demonstrated the violent nature of the masses from the African townships, along the road from Cape Town International airport, where stone throwing on major freeways and placement of huge boulders on the roads, obstructing vehicles and causing fatal accidents, are the order of the day. Pleasingly, the South African National Taxi Council, for Blacks, has now called off the strike, which was in progress for eight long days, The strike, itself, was in response to the road traffic police impounding, unroadworthy taxis based on new recently passed legislation, which the Black Taxi owners, did not recognise. These unroadworthy taxis are a cause of heavy mortality and morbidity amongst South Africa public commuters and other private road users.
To further compound this state of anarchy, in South Africa, on Saturday, 29 July, 2023, South Africa’s third-largest and opposition political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), celebrated its 10th anniversary at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, with the First National Bank Stadium packed to a capacity crowd of over 95,000 supporters of the fiery leader, Julius Malema, the former leader of the ANC, youth Party , who broke away from ANC, ten years ago and formed a new party, called the EFF, which is most likely to win the general election, next year. According to a report on 10th August in the Daily Maverick, the reporter, Craig Bailie, who holds a Master’s degree in International Studies from Rhodes University and a certificate in Thought Leadership for Africa’s Renewal from the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute. He is studying towards a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership through Regent University in the US. He is the Founding Director of Bailie Leadership Consultancy. Bailie wrote: “Arguably, the most notable aspect of EFF, the celebration was party president Julius Malema’s leading of the 95,000-strong crowd in chanting an apartheid-era struggle (or liberation) song called Dubul’ ibhunu (Kill the boer, kill the farmer”). This is Malema’s “original song or slogan” which constitutes an attack on the entire social fabric of South African society, when viewed from the perspective of Ubuntu. This was not the first time that Malema or EFF members chanted “kill the boer, kill the farmer.” During his tenure as ANC Youth League president, Malema repeatedly sang the song at several youth league gatherings. After AfriForum opened a case against Malema in the Equality Court, Judge Colin Lamont gave his verdict in 2011, finding Malema guilty of hate speech. More recently, in October 2020, EFF supporters sang the same song outside the Magistrates’ Court in Senekal in the Free State amid racial tensions that ensued between the EFF and local farmers after the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner, where the two suspects were not found guilty by the curt and honourably discharged. AfriForum again opened a case in the Equality Court against the EFF and Malema. In August 2022, Judge Edwin Molahlehi ruled that “Kill the boer, kill the farmer” is not hate speech. Whatever the decisions of those presiding over South Africa’s justice system may be, there are at least five reasons that every South African, including members of the EFF, should be concerned about “Kill the boer, kill the farmer”, as it is indicative of failed nation-building and national cohesion. “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” The same applies to countries. The fact that the president and self-proclaimed commander-in-chief of South Africa’s third-largest political party can lead thousands of fanatical followers in a highly divisive chant is a sign of South Africa’s failed nation-building project. The South African Human Rights Commission’s trend analysis report for 2020/21 suggests that “racism continues to thrive in South Africa”. More recently, Dr Gregory Houston, chief research specialist with the Human Sciences Research Council, said at a dialogue on “Race and Racism in Post-apartheid South Africa” that South Africans are becoming more racist. Realistically, South Africa is experiencing a status of “Reverse Apartheid”.
However, in the vast tapestry of nations, each thread is interwoven with a unique history, culture, and identity. Among these, South Africa stands as a land of contradictions, a country both rich in potential and marred by profound struggles. Born from the cradle of mankind, literally, and an interesting cocktail of diverse cultures, South Africa is hallmarked by a legacy of resilience, as evidenced in the liberations struggle against White, minority dominance, post colonialism. As a third-generation person on Indian origins, whereby, the author’s forefathers came as business entrepreneurs in early 1900’s to South Africa and not as indentured labourers who arrived in 1860., as my home country, continues to bear the weight of its unhappy, as well as its laboured past and grapples with the complexities of its present, challenges.
As the author traces the contours of South Africa’s journey, he is confronted by a duality that has shaped its narrative. It is a story etched with the indomitable spirit of those who fought for liberation, yet it is also a story haunted by the shadows of inequality, corruption, and violence. The years leading up to the long-awaited dawn of democracy in 1994 were marked by a relentless battle against oppression. Yet, even as the shackles of apartheid were shattered, the wounds left behind remained unhealed, and the tears of a nation continued to flow, due to corruption, as illustrated by the political cartoonist Zapiro.
The Pre-liberation tears, of the majority of black, brown and so called Coloured South Africans, were the result of an ongoing and harsh realities of the struggle for freedom. This odyssey, under the segregated, apartheid government, analogous to the present regime in Israel, was marked, by murder, disappearances, formal executions by hanging, incarceration for decades on the infamous original penal colony, Robben Island, off the cost of Cape Town and almost within the shadow of the world famous, iconic Table Mountain.
The pre-liberation era was a period of profound sadness, as the soul of South Africa cried out for justice and equality. For decades, the country bore witness to the cruel dance of apartheid, a systemic oppression that tore at the physical, ethical and social fabric of South African society. As racial segregation seeped into every facet of life, the majority of South Africans were relegated to the margins, their dreams deferred by the constraints of an unjust system, which existed and progressively became more oppressive and tyrannical, as the decades marched on from 1948, when the White, Nationalist Party was elected to power, ruled the country. Until 1994, when democracy was achieved and the African National Congress eased into power in a bloodless and peaceful transformation to a democratic society. The author therefore grew up, in the formative years of his life, in the harshest possible era of apartheid, brought up under the Immorality Act, the Separate Amenities Act and separate “Group Areas Act”, whereby, each racial group was designated a separate, demarcated residential area in all the large cities and towns, based on the skin colour of a person. Naturally, the Black, Africans were allocated residential areas furthest away from the Central Business Districts, while there was a hierarchy in terms of Whites allocated the nearest, premium areas, followed by the “Coloured”, Indians and finally the Black African, who had to travel vast distances, from, their, unlit sprawling townships, to and from work, twice daily, in poorly maintained public transport, at great expense. The hotels, cinemas, universities, all schools, patients, restaurants, banks, post offices, ambulances, trains, even first class, churches, beaches, parks, entertainment, exhibitions, sports stadia, sea fishing, hospitals, all courts, jails, police station, entrances, medical consulting rooms, surgeries, holiday resorts, airport lounges, passenger access areas and even public transport were segregated, based on race of an individual South African. There was no exemption for any unabled persons, geriatrics, children of women. Segregation was even extended in death, whereby, hearses, cemeteries and funeral directors were segregated, based on the phenotype of a demised person. Needless to say, that the “non-whites” were treated worse than animals, and often public places were boldly signposted “DOGS AND NON-WHITES NOT ALLOWED”. There was even a stage, when Blacks had to walk on the gutters and roads, while the whites walked on proper pavements. Hospital residences for medical staff were segregated, with leftover food, from white quarters, with proper dining rooms, transferred to non-white feeding halls. The author recalls sleeping on bed bug infested mattresses, having no bedlinen, with mosquitoes, in the small rest room, while on 24 hours medical duties, in various “on call” rosters, or on duty in the Emergency Department, at public hospitals, in his medical career. The infrastructure in white areas was of a superior, premium quality, to that of other races. The discrimination was total and non-negotiable, which even extended to the legal system, whereby non-whites, collectively, were handed down judgements which were much severe than whites, in cases of similar criminal activities. Africans were more frequently sent to the gallows, in Pretoria for execution, often following a farcical trial. Political dissent was rapidly and brutally addressed, with scores despatched to Robben Island, like Mandela, for long term sentences, sentenced to strenuous labour.
The legacy and dismal memories of this oppressive and sad era are deeply etched in the stories of countless individuals who fought valiantly against the forces of discrimination. Activists like Nelson Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Ahmed Timol, Neil Hudson and Steve Biko, amongst countless other martyrs of apartheid, became beacons of hope, their unwavering resolve giving voice to the silenced and strength to the downtrodden. The struggle for freedom ignited a fire that could not be extinguished, a blaze fuelled by the collective yearning for a nation reborn.
Finally, in the Post-Liberation Landscape, after the initial euphoria of freedom subsided, there were tears for the “Browns” and these were the “Tears That Endures”. The achievement of democracy in 1994 was not a panacea for all South Africa’s ills. While it heralded a new era of promise, it also cast a spotlight on the complex challenges that lay ahead. The tears shed in the pre-liberation years were not wiped away; instead, they were joined by new sorrows that emerged in the light of a transformed nation., not only for the Browns, amongst the non-whites but also for the Black Africans, who remained disempowered, voiceless and worse off in terms of personal security and unemployment.
In the post-liberation landscape, the tears of South Africa took on new forms. The euphoria of liberation was tainted by the spectres of corruption, greed, and violence. Corruption erodes the trust that the public has in the public sector to act in their best interests. It is a waste of taxpayers’ funds, which could have been used for service delivery, and leads to financial loss, damage to employee morale and institutions’ reputations and leads to increased scrutiny, oversight and regulation. Corruption flourished in South Africa under former president Jacob Zuma, with his name and the surname of his friends, the Guptas, synonymous with graft. As power shifted, the promise of government for the people was clouded by the pursuit of personal gain at the expense of the very citizens it was meant to serve. Corruption, once an instrument of oppression, now threatened to undermine the foundations of democracy itself., It was only the elite Black African, who progressed in the material sense of the word, but more importantly, morally, spiritually and health wise they degenerated, affected with the rise of non-communicable diseases, such as Diabetes Mellitus, Coronary Artery Disease, Dyslipidaemia, gout, hypertension and its sequalae, morbid obesity, affecting infants through to geriatric patients, weighing up to 180 kilograms, in some cases. In addition, the new founded easy wealth, resulted in Alcoholism, Drug addiction, of epidemic proportions in the affluent Black communities, death and morbidity in high speed motor vehicle accidents, driving very expensive, fully imported hyper cars, living above the law, at all levels from presidents to school teachers, obtaining sexual favours for school grades, acquiring false university degrees, jobs for pals, nepotism and rampant corruption in every possible, profession and business opportunities, such as the construction mafia, extorting protection monies from construction companies, all due to their corrupt lifestyles and over indulgence based on a foundation of affluence. However, the masses remained impoverished, laden with the economic and health burdens of communicable diseases such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, malnutrition, Gender Based Violence, brutal crime, gangsterism in townships, shebeen shootings and unbridled taxi violence, based on supremacy within their territorial domains in a particular area and community. This scenario, increased the gap between the African Black, “Haves and Have-Nots”, while the masses were completely forgotten with no or extremely poor service delivery in terms of basic infrastructure, pension and social grant frauds, frauds in school feeding schemes, township violence, with murders, rapes, infanticide, child abuse and a general state of anarchy. These post liberation anomalies is further dividing the South Africans, especially the Blacks, into the Elite, super rich Class and the Plebeians, the super poor class. This has generated great acrimony and generalised Peace Disruption, as evidenced in the Riots of July 2021, in which properties, businesses and multitude of vehicles were torched, dozens of people died and companies were looted by criminal elements, leaving a trail of destrucytion, sadness and literally “Rivers of Tears” in various communities. The people of Indian origins were most affected as they were seen by the impoverished Africans as empowered, rich and easy, soft targets for their rampage, looting and killing activities. While all this happened, the law enforcement watched without any preventative action being taken against the rampaging mobs, especially in the larger cities as well as in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, where the effects of the riots were the greatest, in terms of an impact on the economy, human life, damage to property and generalised lawlessness, generated by “The Nation of Thieves”  To this day, the tears of sadness and disunity are the general sentiments and order of the day, with gross peace disruption.
As the unfinished, South African narrative builds up to a climatic crescendo, there develops, the scenario of an increasing possibility of a violent civil war, as in the evidenced in other African countries, hallmarked by internal peace disruption, military coups, ethnic violence with brutal killings, as it is occurring presently in Sudan Niger, Senegal, Mali, Ethiopia and in Burkina Faso. However, the possibility of such an eventuality materialising, in South Africa, as the bimodal economic and social scenario, progresses, it opens an invitation for reflection of what has South Africans, have achieved over the past 29 years since liberation, where the country is corruptly governed by a Black majority, democratically elected, causing peace disturbance within their fellow, Black citizenry, who remains impoverished, disillusioned, uneducated, fearful of personal safety and realistically still imprisoned in eternal bondage, while the Elite Class of Blacks continue with their affluent, corrupt and morally degraded lifestyles, with total indifference, noncaring attitude and blissful arrogance, in some cases looking upon the Plebeian class with great disdain.
The question often raised, both in the intellectual, as well as the plebeian circles, “Is why are the South Africa politicians and high ranking businesses corrupt in the first instance, noting that there was a “Long Walk to Freedom”, as titled in Mandela’s iconic book, glorified in several Hollywood’s, large scale, big budget and 9 by 16 format movie productions, starring Idris Alba in the title role, since 1994 and the members of the ruling party, the ANC, including the former President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma as well as his successor, Cyril Ramaphosa, have walked that arduous road. Interesting, this week, Zuma was pardoned by Ramaphosa for his 15 months jail sentence. The South African government has said it is trying to combat corruption in various ways. Among the steps taken are the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture, which exposed institutional weaknesses. Task teams have been set up in a number of provinces to deal with extortion and violence at construction sites, due to the so called “Construction Mafia” which has recently emerged as a formidable foe in the war against corruption. This relatively new crime syndicate and apparently legitimate business for a, first appeared in South Africa around 2015, mainly in the province of Kwa Zulu-Natal, and have flourished under the banner of Radical Economic Transformation. Although President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the mafias as “radical economic robbers”, they exist with the tacit approval of many of the ANC leaders. The Financial Intelligence Centre’s Fusion Centre was established to act on fraud and corruption in the procurement of Covid-related goods and services. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy has been adopted and the Political Party Funding Act will help to regulate public and private funding of political parties.
However, the impact of corruption goes beyond the institutional weaknesses, it heavily hinges on corrupt individuals. South Africa does not have effective systems in place to deal with individuals who are corrupt, hence, they continue to be in positions of power, are not prosecuted for their corrupt actions and it becomes difficult to track and recover funds that have been stolen. There are many reasons for the corruption in high government circles, but some of the possible reasons are:
Firstly, an overlooked, but possibly the most important, reason why South Africa’s politicians and leaders are corrupt is that most encountered socio-political trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of apartheid. This is a legacy issue and a spectre that is both deeply ingrained in the minds of all South Africa, including the authors who was brought up under harshest legislations of the apartheid government. Most leaders that occupy positions of power in South Africa participated in the struggle to attain democracy, which means that they were exposed to severe social and economic shocks, stress, including incarcerations and exclusion. Some of these individuals were also “Apartheid Agents” and informers for the notorious Security Branch. These individuals are still active, on the “other sid”e and have an eternal fear of being exposed for their previous betrayal of comrades in the liberation struggle.
As a coping mechanism, these leaders may engage in rent-seeking practices as ways of building personal reserve funds against economic uncertainties, especially in light of South Africa’s bad economic conditions. It may also be an ill-conceived means of improving personal sense of security and resilience against future economic shocks and stresses they once were exposed to.
According to Norman and Aviisah, political economies that appear to be in a constant state of agitation and upheaval can be a traumatising ecosystem that may produce psychosis similar to PTSD, although such conditions are modifiable over time.
Considering the systemic challenges and pressures on South Africa’s national economy, the prospects of modifying these behaviours is very low. If such is the case, then rent-seeking behaviours and corrupt practices in South Africa are poised to get worse.
Secondly, any South African politician or leader who engages in some kind of corrupt activity does so because they think they can get away with it. This is a common, brazen attitude of criminals, at all levels of the society. If they knew that they would be exposed, found out or caught and made to face the consequences of their criminal actions, they would probably think twice before trying anything corrupt. This speaks to the systems, checks and balances, and law enforcement not being effective to deal with these kinds of issues, making it open season for all those wishing to get their hands, on piles of cash, to which they are not entitled. The government needs to look at their systems and procedures to ensure that loopholes are closed and that transparency, from local to national level, is achieved. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological innovations could assist the country in closing these loopholes.
Thirdly, South African politicians and leaders engage in financial crime, fraud and corruption because of personal greed. They want more and they do not care how they get it. Acquiring more in an honest way requires a lot of hard work, risk-taking, dedication and time. For greedy people, that is too much to ask for, so they find ways to make piles of money quickly and easily, in dishonest ways. This speaks to the values of the country’s leaders, their level of honesty, sense of right and wrong, their sense of fairness, their work ethics and their moral compass. Those who lack such and other positive values are prime candidates for corrupt activities. With corruption running rampant through so many institutions, it is critical to put in place a means to identify and eliminate people during internal political party elections and voting processes. If political parties are not careful in their deployment and internal elections, they will lose public support.
Fourthly, the reality of “if you can’t beat them, join them” is something the country does not speak enough about. Leaders engage in corruption because others are doing it and getting away with it. When ethical leaders see that it’s easy to do dodgy deals and get away with it, they’re encouraged to try their luck too because ethics are difficult to maintain in a rotten system. This speaks to the culture the country has nurtured, or allowed, in the public sector. The lack of public accountability is missing to ensure that leaders uphold some form of ethics for public interest.
Finally, but not the last reason is that there are thoughts regarding the impact of power on our leaders. A simple distinction can be made between two forms of power. On the one hand, leaders use their power to get things done. Socialised power is power used to benefit others. We hope that our elected officials have this sort of power in mind and are primarily concerned with the best interests of their constituents. The other form of power is personalised power, and it entails using power for personal gain. Notably, these two forms of power are not mutually exclusive, a leader can use his or her power to benefit others, but can also gain personally. The obvious problem is when personalised power dominates and the leader’s gains are gregarious and often at the expense of those they serve. Robert Allan Caro  who is an American journalist and author known for his biographies of United States political figures outlines that “power doesn’t always corrupt … power always reveals. When you have enough power to do what you always wanted to do, then you see what the person always wanted to do”. In other words, it is about how South African leaders use authority that reveals their character, selfish leaders hoard power for personal gain, while servant leaders share power for social good. The ultimate test of character for people in power is how they treat people who lack it. South African leaders do not utilise the power and influence that they have for the greater good of the country. Corrupt individuals need to be dealt with, as opposed to generalising corruption and blaming it solely on institutional weaknesses.
The above reasons were advanced by Ms Karabo Mokgonyana , who is an award-winning legal and development practitioner, a programme director for the Sesi Fellowship and Skill Hub, a woman and youth-led organisation that provides young woman with mentorship and skills development. This excellent article was published in the Mail & Guardian on 25th March 2023.
The Bottom Line is nurturing the promise of a golden tomorrow. There is a comprehensive Annual Report 2022, published by the National Prosecuting Authority, headed by Adv. Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, which augurs well for the future of South Africa.
South Africa is in a crisis of dearth of honest and inspiring leadership. This is evidenced by the seeming inability of the state’s leadership to deal with perennial problems such as unacceptably high levels of crime and lawlessness, corruption amongst public officials, the high unemployment rate, and the collapsing infrastructure. Poor leadership is shirking the responsibility to lead and to act when the situation calls for it. While the author has presented the contrasting pre- and post-liberation narratives, although diverse, they both have one aspect of commonality and that is, there is gross peace disruption, with the South Africa, the country of the author’s birth, is still weeping and tears of unhappiness, disillusionment and underlying discontent are still flowing, with no happiness, contentment and peace on the horizon. This is caused by the emergence of an Elite Class of Black South Africans, substantially self-differentiated from the “have nots, Plebeian Class of their Black brothers and sisters. The responsibility of this dichotomy on a social level amongst the Black South African is essentially based on the dismantling of the African philosophy of Ubuntu, amongst the isiZulu speaking Africans, as well as Batho pele, based on similar principles of “I am because you are” amongst the Xhosa speaking Black African community. The essence of sharing has become null and void, as everyone, wants to amass vast sums of funds in every possible manner, legally or nefariously, in the shortest possible timeframe, irrespective of who suffers in the process of engaging in such activities. This philosophy, has resulted in the evolution of rampant, unbridled corruption in the very heart of the present government, illustrated by the examples mentioned. This extra-legal amassment of wealth, by corrupt mechanisms and means of opportunities available to the Elite Class, has left nothing or very little funds in the fiscus to ensure a proper and robust infrastructure to ensure adequate service delivery. This has eventually resulted in disenchantment of the plebeians, with the image and functioning of the ruling party, the famous, but original African National Congress and the righteous, distributive, ethos, as well as the philosophy of sharing, as envisioned by the late Madiba and other members of the old guard of the original ANC. The situation in South Africa, at present is one of insecurity, social decohesion, possibly perceived but justifiable fears of insecurity, especially amongst the minorities, most of whom have emigrated, or are in the process of doing so, to countries like Australia, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and North America. In addition, there is a concerted effort to effect the mobilisation of the masses by the radicalised rhetoric of politicians like Mr Julius Malema, who could easily sway the results of the general elections, in 2024. The author is therefore compelled to reflect on the tears that have flowed through the veins of South Africa’s history. The pre-liberation struggle and the post-democracy challenges are threads that weave together a story both heart-wrenching and hopeful. In exploring this narrative, I am called to bear witness to the ongoing journey of a nation as it navigates the complexities of nation-building, justice, and unity. While this may be a utopian line of hopeful thought, it appears to be the only strategy, which generates a sliver of illuminated hope, in a sea and wilderness of darkness, evident in a forest of darkness, compounded by viper pits, minefields, ravines, gorges, crocodiles in shallow waters and rapidly flowing deep rivers, ready to bring any human trying to navigate or even cross the setback of the flooded rivers.
In the tapestry of South Africa’s history, the threads of struggle and sorrow have woven a narrative both poignant and profound. As, South Africans, collectively, while we stand at the crossroads of a nation’s journey, it is crucial to recognise that the weeping need not define our destiny. The tears of the past, whether shed in the crucible of apartheid or in the face of post-liberation challenges, have nurtured a resolve that is capable of shaping a brighter future.
While the scars of history are indelible, they serve as a reminder of the resilience that resides within the South African spirit. The very struggles that have wracked this land have forged bonds of unity, proving that the Rainbow Nation’s strength lies in its diversity. It is through open dialogue, empathy, and understanding that we can begin to mend the wounds of the past and pave the way for a more inclusive and harmonious society. The road ahead may be arduous, and the challenges may seem insurmountable. Yet, the very act of acknowledging the tears that stain our collective history is a testament to the courage required for transformation. By harnessing the lessons of the past, we can navigate the complexities of the present with purpose and determination.
Hope lies not in the denial of South Africa’s challenges, but in the collective will to confront them. It is in the hands of the people, from all walks of life, to shape a narrative that celebrates justice, equality, and shared prosperity. By dismantling the barriers that divide us, we can build bridges that lead to a future where the tears of today water the seeds of a more equitable tomorrow. South Africa, the Rainbow Nation, stands at a pivotal juncture, with the power to rewrite its narrative. It is within our grasp to turn the weeping into a song of resilience, the pain into a driving force for change, and the sorrow into a source of unity. Together, as stewards of this land’s legacy, we can herald an era of progress, where the weeping of the past becomes the testament to our unwavering commitment to a brighter, more hopeful future.
In the following parts of this series on “South Africa is still Weeping”, the author will delve into the multifaceted layers and causes of South Africa’s weeping, by tracing the contours of its pre-liberation sorrow and examine the complexities of its post-democracy challenges. Through the lens of history, the author will seek to understand, unpack and illustrate the root causes of the tears that stain this beautiful land of South Africa. Furthermore, with a similar compass and with an unwavering gaze, the author will attempt to explore the potential pathways and redemptive strategies, in working towards a future where the Plebeians will be sharing the “pie” as it goes around, resulting in a cessation of the weeping of the country of South Africa, with its abundant natural resources, eco-friendly, renewable energy, its habitable, user friendly climate, its clean unpolluted atmosphere, its rich sea life and food security for the country and indeed the rest of the world to share and collectively enjoy. However, most importantly, the people of the Rainbow Nation, will be content, happy, united as a diverse, multicultural nation, irrespective of the race, creed, religion, social standing and phenotypes. The Weeping must be stopped and Peace with Harmony, must prevail, resulting in a socially and an economically cohesive nation. “True leadership demands complete subjugation of self, absolute honesty, integrity and uprightness of character, courage and fearlessness and above all a consuming love for one’s people.” in the words of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, who also said “There is only one Race, The Human Race” . In his speech as outgoing SRC president in October 1949 he presented a taste of things to come: “Let me plead with you, lovers of my Africa, to carry with you into the world the vision of a new Africa, an Africa reborn, an Africa rejuvenated, an Africa recreated, a young Africa. We are the first glimmers of a new dawn. And if we are persecuted for our views, we should remember, as the African saying goes, that it is darkest before dawn, and that the dying beast kicks most violently when it is giving up the ghost.” According to Thobeka Mda and Gordon Zide representing the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Trust, we should go back to basics, our founding values in the Constitution of the Republic: “[To govern] based on the will of the people [and] improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.” The Constitution binds us all. We should claim these rights and demand them from the public officials where applicable. As political leaders continue to fail us, communities, non-governmental organisations and civil society need to take charge. The people must take back their power by all means necessary to them so that South Africa gets true leaders, and the leaders it needs.
If all South Africans adopt this philosophy, as a single race of South Africans, there will be no more weeping, in the country of birth of the author.
 Personal quote by the author, August 2023
Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.
Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All
Tags: Apartheid, Corruption, Democracy, Nelson Mandela, South Africa
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Aug 2023.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: South Africa, My Birthplace, Still Weeping (Part 1), is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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