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I wrote this article last week, on Mandela Day. A day later I read newspaper headlines that Archbishop Tutu had expressed similar sentiments in a speech to university students the day before. “Mandela will weep,” he said.
How many of you fought in the struggle for democracy in this great country of ours? How many of you abhorred apartheid and yearned for its demise, believing that if the ANC took power, we would be a great land – a land where people had suffered so much, that they would make sure it would never happen again, as Madiba said.
That a freedom organisation which stood for high principles would make sure that the country was governed by those same high principles, rigidly and uncompromisingly? And how many of you have watched while those dreams have come crashing down, and been filled with a despair so profound, that it irks one's very core?
I have a large family in London. They went there in the 60s, fleeing Kenya and Uganda when the policies of those countries drove them out.
They didn't agree with apartheid but maintained that if blacks took over, South Africa would go the way of the rest of Africa (ouch). I disagreed strongly with their view.
I am now gutted that they were not far off the mark.
Do I sound too pessimistic? If so, it is because I am so disappointed, that I am angry.
It is like I was betrayed by a friend whom I believed to be true and loyal, whom I defended against all accusations.
How do I make peace with the corruption, the nepotism, the incompetence, the crime, the poverty?
How do I make peace with parastatals that were run efficiently for years under an apartheid government, being run to the ground by this one because they gave the management of these entities to people who didn't have a clue and who didn't care as long as they got their paycheck?
How do I make peace with the fact that a sound concept like affirmative action was so abused that jobs were given to people who couldn't do them while competent people were sidelined because they were the wrong colour?
How do I read with equanimity that businesses in the historical town of Pilgrim's Rest were given a month's notice to close down, and then the tenders given to people who had no capital, licences or know-how to run the businesses?
Just one more example of how infrastructure that took generations to build and maintain, will be destroyed in a few years.
And I want to ask the government, that same ANC who fought for decades, whose members lost their lives, went through untold heartbreak, what are you doing?
What did you fight for?
What legacy are you leaving for your children? Why are you doing these things that you know will ruin the country, and leave nothing for future generations?
Do you really think you are building a responsible future citizenship when you teach them that they can get everything now, without working for it, without training for it, that it is okay to sleep around as long as you use a condom?
Your leaders studied at the best universities in exile and you now have youth leaders that are so stupid, that they say the most appalling things in public and think they're making political statements.
And you don't care because they appeal to the unlearned masses whom you want to vote for you because you know the educated will soon stop.
Thank goodness we still have a free press, so I can write columns like this.
But for how long?
n Raessa Mohamed is a multi-media personality, having been active in radio, tv, film, and print for many years.