Imagine a 25-year-old enfant terrible. Still learning to walk. Still undergoing potty training and generally way underdeveloped for a 25-year-old.
Cries all day. Always hungry. Clamouring for attention. You name it...
Any of this sound familiar?
It should. Said child's name is South, surname Africa. In theory there is absolutely nothing wrong with this child. No birth defects, no disabilities but it does suffer from acute transgenerational trauma of the past the parents endured.
How is it that this child is so underdeveloped at such an advanced age though?
It was raised by a single mother called Ancy and has gone through four stepfathers so far. All of these men have a long history with the mother, except maybe the latest one who was into union stuff and only knew Ancy later in life.
All these men know Ancy's painful past and her struggle, they know and admire the child's late father who spent a good 27 years in jail. They always promise to be the best stepfathers that will even potty train this 25-year-old.
Strangely they all somehow leave having made little to no difference; having paid no attention to Ancy's ideas of raising this child well. Some went as far as corrupting and distorting her ideas.
For some odd reason the child had taken a liking to all these different men it had seen come and go. A majority of its heart still had a place for them.
Over the years the child developed what Dr Freud dubbed as an Oedipus complex; it liked the men in the mother’s life, especially the latest one. But it had developed anger, resentment and hate towards the mother.
This anger and hate towards the mother led to this child spending nights out; flirting with different men. If said child was developed enough it would have easily left Ancy for a live-in partner. The options were aplenty.
Take for example Mr D Adamant; always promising this child a job, free comprehensive higher education, a grant that increases in line with inflation as the fiscus stabilises.
Then there is Mr EF Fright; he promises no job but will nationalise almost everything for the child, give it free decolonial education until the first degree. He will even throw in a free computer tablet and above all with double whatever child has been receiving as a grant.
There is also Oom VF Plus; he says he is going to lower personal and company tax, promote a culture of entrepreneurship in the child, privatise state-owned enterprises. Promises no free education, just good old fashion hard work and honesty. No grants.
Another one is Mr IF Phandle; he once promised this 25-year-old "child" that he will build it a department for youth jobs, give free education until tertiary, free scholar transport, he will also provide a grant and even go as far as fighting gangsters.
The poor child has even flirted with the likes of the militant UD Madala; he promised to create jobs, improve the child’s entrepreneurial and business skills, cut VAT rate back to 14% and provide free tertiary education. He would even bring back school inspectors and reopen teacher training colleges. All of this for the child.
There are many other men. Like uncle ACD Priest who promised to instil Christian values in this child while fighting crime and corruption. Mr Paco wanted to give this poor child land. Mr BL Fluff made all manner of death threats for land to be given to this child. Uncle Cope promised free electricity and housing support to the child. The new neighbour, Mr AT Monk, wanted people to go to church while promising to hang anyone who messes with the child.
If Aunty Good wasn't always tied up in legal wrangles with Mr D Adamant she would be a good foster parent; she, in passing, once promised the child social and economic justice.
Poor child! I digress!
And here I was thinking I am going to write about how I do not know who to vote for. I still don’t know actually. The ANC is still going to win but it will be interesting to see which parties grow. Perhaps I should focus my energies on growing these other parties or have faith that President Cyril Ramaphosa can make a difference given a longer period of time. I don’t know. Should fence-sitting journalists even be voting on these things?
* Unathi Kondile is the editor of I'solezwe lesiXhosa.