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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Building the country of our dreams: 'I want to live in a country where...'

’I want to live in a country that is a place of celebration, where old traditions make space for young ideas,’ writes Lorenzo Davids. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

’I want to live in a country that is a place of celebration, where old traditions make space for young ideas,’ writes Lorenzo Davids. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 4, 2022

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As I watched how destructive South Africa’s politics had become, I revisited words I wrote about the kind of country I want to live in.

I want to live in a country that is a place of celebration, where old traditions make space for young ideas, where innovation replaces bureaucracy and where intelligence triumphs over intransigence.

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I want to live in a country where poverty is not an out-of-control state of being but where it has a face that we seek to engage with – and we do so with the intent to solve it, not just to sermonise it. I want to live in a country where our biggest challenges are also our areas of biggest success. I want to live in a country that sets my imagination alight during the daytime and fuels my dreams at night time.

I want to live in a country where buses, trains and taxis are the public meeting places between all levels of society and where coffee shops with comrades are sought out by bureaucrats with boardrooms.

I want to live in a country where deals are made to grow our collective well-being and not someone’s personal bank balance. I want to live in a country where our current brand of collusive corruption is replaced by a new brand of proud citizenship.

I want to live in a country where waking up means falling in love with its sounds and smells every day instead of writing angry tweets.

I want to live in a country where the streets are walkways to build friendships, and its corners are lovers’ nooks, and its sidewalks are conversational classrooms and neighbourhood gathering places and loving each other is seen as national duty.

I want to live in a country where doctors are not excessively wealthy and nurses are barely making it.

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I want to live in a country where our places of worship are places of transparency and not places of hypocrisy. I want to live in a country where my neighbourhood is my sanctuary and not a serialised crime scene.

I want to live in a country where what I read in the media makes good sense and not just good sensation. I want to live in a country where politicians don’t bestow on themselves the wisdom and wealth of Solomon when they are only kings and queens with no clothes on.

I want to live in a country where children don’t die before their time but where time is a lifetime gift we give to our children. I want to live in a country where tolerance is a religion we all embrace. I want to live in a country where schools are places of exuberance and excellence. I want to live in a country where being a teacher is a position of honour in society.

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I want to live in a country where postal delivery work is regarded as a noble profession, and garbage removal workers are given annual awards for protecting cities against pandemics.

I want to live in a country where politicians live among us instead of apart from us, and where they shop in our shops and attend our schools and walk in our streets – and no one makes any special concessions for them. I want to live in a country where progress is not determined by political connections but by the fact that we have policies that work for everyone.

I want to live in a country where I no longer see your indulgence because you’re a politician but your intelligence as a public representative.

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I want to live in a country that governs with justice for all. I want to live in a country where my children believe we live in the greatest country on earth, and my grandchildren will never want to leave this great country.

I want that country to be my country, my South Africa.

* Lorenzo A Davids.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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