Columnists won’t admit to it, but they feed off each other in order to maintain a relevant and meaningful level of discourse via their home newspapers or rival publications.
I am very comfortable in the company of the many opinion-givers that ensure the Argus its place as a forum for intelligent interchange of notions.
One of our senior columnists mooted a notion a short while ago, where he considered whether one would be justified in calling the ANC a gang.
That idea stuck in my mind, so I decided to explore the idea, the relevance and reason for that nomenclature, and what can come from a discussion around that semantic construct.
The blandest dictionary definition defines a gang as an assembly of people with a common interest. They are an organised group of like-minded persons. A gang can also refer to a set of switches, sockets or other electrical or mechanical devices grouped together. In these instances, the word functions both as a noun and a verb.
However, we are agreed that these days the word has negative connotations, having undergone pejoration. The semantic shift swept away positive definitions like company, crowd, crew, party, set, clique and coterie.
A gang nowadays refers to like-minded individuals of foul intent, who group together to increase their efficiency at whatever is ungodly. But before we examine the context of my fellow-columnist’s notion, allow me to remind you that “gang” in Scottish also means “to go or proceed”.
The seventh stanza in Robert Burns’s delightful apology for unearthing a mouse’s nest with a plough reminds us that “… the best laid schemes of Mice and Men/Gang aft agley/And lea’e us nought but grief and pain, for promised joy”.
Now there is a legitimate hook if ever I needed one. The tendency to use the word gang in the pejorative sense can be applied if one observes how the governing party of this country seems intent on breaking every rule of decency.
This political party is responsible for the most irresponsible legislation and (the) legitimation of ungodly behaviour.
The word “rights” is one example of misguided governance that has opened a Pandora’s box of social and moral aberrations.
Psychologists keep an open mind and argue that belonging to a gang is part of the rites of passage that the young must experience. They argue that it provides camaraderie, recognition, self-actualisation and all the other intellectual perorations that justify just about every act under a crumbling moral fabric.
The ANC inherited the governance of this country for the good of all the people who reside in the RSA. Instead, they purloinedall the nefarious strategies that created millionaires overnight, guaranteed jobs for family (nepotism) and ensuring that inner-circle cadre land lucrative and fiscus-crippling tenders.
There can be no question that these characteristics fit the definition of a gang that drives illegal actions, fights turf wars, closes ranks when they feel threatened and threaten mayhem if brought to order.
So there is my response to a notion posited by a colleague. By all definitions, the fractured ANC is nothing but a gang. Their morality is questionable, their good intentions non-existent. Let us examine our situation within the pejorative (negative) ethos of the word gang and see where we land.
We need a serious dismantling process at the polls to state that this country should be governed by people who are honest, of sound morality and, as an afterthought, honourable men and women who speak for every citizen.
My suggestion points towards equity on all levels. It pleads for integrity. That is the way to go.
* Literally Yours is a weekly column by Cape Argus reader Alex Tabisher. He can be contacted on email by [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.
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