Happy Birthday South Africa !
Today you are 23 years old. How you have galloped into the future, creating history at a rapid rate.
If Life is a stage let’s take a front seat together and have a look at the South African play before us.
In 1994, though through a crucible, you were born free from the oppression of your previous history. A history that for all its intents and purposes nevertheless framed you for a better future for all. A new day had come, a new government, with new policies waiting on the horizon of the unknown. But one thing was sure, it was a delightful day of release, an expectation for some, and a dread for others. Different worlds had to come together, different histories had to fuse, different cultures had to find a way to live side by side. A tall order indeed ! – an order without a script to follow.
The honourable Nelson Mandela South Africa’s first president, set the vision in place, one South Africa for all, and all for one South Africa. The dream box was opened, and the dream floated out of injustice and into the potential of a new nation. Honour and respect were the order of the day. Even the World at large recognised its significance and regarded its highly prized Constitution. All was well, and Nelson Mandela graciously stepped aside for the next president to continue the legacy, and forge the future.
The honourable Thabi Mbeki South Africa’s second president was a man of vision too. Perhaps a little short in statue, but certainly long in vision. He saw the African Renaissance, not only a re-birth of a nation, but also of the African continent. His vision was the faint rumble of a new African-ism emerging. Whatever that entails and holds the future, in time, will tell.
Seemingly South Africa was just exiting racism, was another ism coming ? And who will be waiting in the wings of the World’s stage to influence, manipulate, access and conquer the people, and the resources, of this new nation on the southern tip of Africa.
Before the uncertain future cleared there was an interruption, and a new president pushed and jumped onto the stage for a part in the Play, and for a big slice of the wealth cake !
Mr Jacob Zuma the third president of South Africa, was by all accounts not a man of vision. Although jovial and charming, was for a time just the face for the ruling party. Leaders, good or bad, are important. Ordinary citizens like to look up at their leaders and feel secure, some even idolizing them, especially so in Africa. Mr Zuma swayed many with his charm, and then exhibited extreme cunning at staying in the power seat. He may well have just succumbed, to the irresistible call for greed, always knocking at the door of power.
I suspect, however, that being exposed to the global stage, and the greater forces in the power-play arena Mr Zuma was influenced by the dark agendas and concealed plans and visions of the greedy power mongers in a world of economics, politics and power.
Not only had the dream box released the potential of a new nation, but along with it came out the vile of politics, power-play and corruption. And although severely distasteful, I dare say necessary, for we all at some stage, have to have the courage to take a good long look at ourselves – face to face, to see the good and the bad that lingers in all of us, whether on a personal – or national level !
I don’t doubt that time will tell Mr Zuma’s story in more detail. Perhaps his best contribution to the South African story is that, by default, he exposed the resilience of the South Africa society, and its fervent need for true justice, and its ongoing striving for honour and integrity in its leaders, and in its people.
The South African Constitution Court bears clear evidence of this, and has proved to be a strong foundation-stone of this new democracy.
South Africa you have thrived on exciting and exhilarating politics these past 23 years, as the ghosts of the past have come out of your closet., and as new and entertaining players have taken to the stage with their own particular agendas, brands and personalities.
And then there is the unseen , unheralded band of caring prayer warriors who have kept the nation close to the heart of God, and under His wings South Africa has stood the test of fiery trials of corruption… and of state capture! Keeping vicious wolves at bay !!
So a caring, colourful and vibrant nation indeed you are becoming, South Africa.
But I would go as far as to say that South Africans have, these past eight years been over politicised, and have overdosed on politics ! Is it because there has been a leadership vacuum ? And of late just crisis management badly managed, halting economic development and resulting in the prospect of more poverty for the poorest in the nation.
Because of this you certainly have been stunted in your nation building, and the actual release of that people potential waiting to capture a future of progress and prosperity, for all.
For now, you are a nation on hold so to speak ! But time moves on, and the tide of politics will change, then a new day will break. When you revert to the original plan of one South Africa for all, and all for one South Africa, then that indeed will be a time to celebrate a true freedom – and a good future together as one.
Happy Birthday. May God continue to bless you as a light to the nations, and in this present world of political, economic and social turmoil.
Happy Freedom Day !