DEAR SOUTH AFRICA: PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA IS YOUR CREATION.  

South African President Jacob Zuma.
South African President Jacob Zuma.

Dear Mr President...

There are many people wishing to write open letters to register their discontent with the state of the nation which South African President Jacob Zuma represents. In fact there are a few enraged open letters to the president making their rounds on the web as we speak, there are many letters of people with broken hearts about the new democracy, people who feel betrayed by the ANC, the struggle and  this and that. Radio and television personality Gareth Cliff’s wrote his and it was published this week, so has poet Nsiki Mazwaai. Still many have intimated that they are largely disappointed with the kind of political discourse populating South African Media these days. All of it they say, is just too polite. No one has so far spoken with conviction and authority regarding the state of the nation or the (un)suitability of Mr Jacob Zuma as a leader or President. Any other self-respecting President in any other country would have resigned following the damning report by the Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela (who by the way many of you have commended her on her ‘bravery” – I will expand on this concept later) you say.  Here’s the thing: President Jacob Zuma represents you and I. He is the symbol of South Africa. And by South African I don’t mean the country’s beautiful landscapes and nature. I mean people, you, human beings who call themselves South Africans by birth, marriage, ancestry or choice. He is the towering glowing example of who we are as a nation. He embodies our present day character, values, principles, our abilities, our hopes and dreams, flaws, leadership abilities, decision making abilities etc. President Jacob Zuma is you and I South Africa. We cannot conveniently distance ourselves from him and this truth. Yes, he is responsible in part for the state of our nation, but we are all ultimately responsible for what Zuma is or as some erroneously believe has become. We created him and the current state of our nation. President Jacob Zuma encapsulates what it means to be a South African today, he exemplifies the character of the majority of the country’s citizenry if not all. In other words we are all complicit in the Nkandla/Rape/Corruption scandals surrounding the President whether we choose to acknowledge this fact or not.

PRESIDENT ZUMA IS RIGHT: IT’S NOT HIS FAULT

The truth is: when we went to the polls in 2009 to elect a new president we knew the calibre of President Jacob Zuma. He was unapologetic in his much publicized rape trial about his decision to have consensual sex (in his words) with his best friend’s HIV positive daughter. Though he apologized – his words rang hallow as the complainant was assaulted and vilified by hundreds of men and women outside the Johannesburg high court, while he danced and sang bring me back me my machine gun. The courts accepted his version of events and so did the nation. We accepted this. Even when his financial advisor and close friend Shabir Shaik was convicted of corruption in a case which implicated the president with corruption which led to his dismissal as the deputy president of the country, we agreed with the courts’ not guilty verdict. We went to the polls and put an x next to his face on the ballot accepting him as our leader with without conditions – for better or worse. Once president we accepted the prisons version that Shabir Shaik was terminally ill and allowed him to be released from prison barely serving his ten-year prison sentence. We agreed with the president’s version of events. The presidents’ comments on Africa also reflect popular opinions among many of us, “let them go back to their countries – what are they doing here?” think Xenophobia 2008. Then came Gupta-gate   and now Nkandla. We never took to the streets in protest, we never called for the president to step down, account or be impeached. We sat and watched shook our heads and said such is politics and such is life and went on with our daily lives. We did nothing and therefore we are by all accounts and purposes  complicit.

WHY THE SILENCE ?

Because we are the same – we act and behave in our own private lives just like our dear president  does in public for all to see. We all want the good life, we all engage in corruption and support corrupt activities and organizations in our daily lives, we give and take bribes. We accept things we know we shouldn’t. We all want to drive expensive cars, live the lavish life, eat sushi on naked bodies, we all want to live in palaces and be kings of our respective Nkandla’s. We all are greedy, we want more and more, more irrespective of who suffers. We all want to do as little work as possible and get the highest reward for doing nothing. We force ourselves on women in private, we engage in risky sexual activities i.e. have sex without condoms. We all cheat on our partners, have multiple concurrent relationships, given the chance we’d all have many, many, many wives. We all just want to party, dance and have a good time while those who serve us starve. We all don’t want to accept responsibility for our actions. It’s not our fault that others live in poverty, it’s not our fault that we have friends in high places who can give us tenders, jobs, cut-backs, after all that’s what the struggle was about. We all aspire to be Jacob Zuma’s in our own lives. It’s not our fault that we have money and can buy justice and fund corruption. If we do not actively participate in  corrupt acts  we turn a blind eye to them, “it’s none of our business” we say. We remain silent. Why do we expect President Zuma to be any different from us? Why should he accept responsibility and take the high and noble road when we are not willing to risk positions of power and privilege for the same principles we expect President Jacob Zuma to uphold? Why should he stand for truth, justice, fairness when we do everything in our power to protect our lies /lives at all costs? We have remained silent because we are guilty of the same offense. We have remained silent because ultimately we also want the power he has. We want to do the same things we accuse him of doing  with impunity.

President Jacob Zuma never lied. He has remained consistent through-out his term in office. Doing everything that we knew he was capable of doing since he was elected as president: as promised. We cannot pretend we didn’t know who he was, we cannot say he changed – he has stayed true to himself.  When will you be true? Stop blaming the President for doing what you elected him to do. It truly is not his fault. The same goes for Oscar Prestorious, he represents all of us.

Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela was not brave, she did what any true friend would do, tell the truth without fear.

To thy own self be true. If you don’t like something change it.

It begins with you and I.

Advertisements

TRUST YOURSELF: SA ELECTIONS 2014

Trust Yourself.
Trust Yourself.

I WISH I COULD TELL YOU IT GETS BETTER WITH AGE.

Last night at dinner my teenage brother started giggling and smiling widely exclaiming “ah teenage problems!”  While fiddling on his phone. I looked up from my plate of rice curious to find out what the source of such an “adult” statement was. “You know” he said looking at me with a bright smile. “Yes…?’ I asked quizzically. “You’ve watched enough movies on this subject” he said.  “Teenage crushes?” I guessed.  He nodded in agreement. “I wish I could tell you it gets better with age” I replied with a sigh. “I know. It doesn’t” he replied with confidence while shaking his head from side to side and returning to his mobile phone where the real action was happening.

CRUSHED: CRAZY, STUPID,  LOVE

This conversation is a good analogy for what I have been thinking about for the past few days, months and maybe even years. I think it also serves as a good example for the state we are in as a nation. There’s so much at stake for a teenager with a crush. It’s very awkward, all-consuming, the most important thing in your entire life, and the subject of every conversation or secret diary entries, endless doodles on desks, skin, paper, in fact any surface. I mean a crush is a serious thing. And can get friends, families and teachers even the entire community involved.  But there is one element about crushes which I want to highlight in this conversation. Crushes do by their very nature almost always, with very few documented cases, cast a negative focus on the beholder of the crush, a self-imposed negative  self-image not based in reality.  The person who has a crush on the other does not feel worthy of said object of affection.  The person one has a crush on assumes a Godly, Idolized status in one’s eyes and can never do wrong. They are holy, perfect and indestructible. Even all the things that would make a sober person  a little circumspect  are cute to the one with a crush. Crushes as I am sure we can all remember – can be quite painful and humiliating,  a source of much scorn, embarrassment and jokes at school or at home. It’s generally a painful state to be in – being in a crush. It is simply not sustainable: it’s a place of enormous tension and struggle especially within the mind and heart of person with a crush. Should I tell or shouldn’t I, does s/he love me?  Does s/he love me not?  Should I write to them? say hello? How? When? What will they think? Oh is s/he looking at me? Oh my GOD s/he smiled at me! Oh No it was for someone else etc. Until one finally gets to the conclusion that: “I can’t keep these feelings in anymore!!!”  Something has to be done.

A FORK IN THE ROAD

In order for something to happen (for action to take place), one must make a decision, a choice.  One must choose between knowing (if the crush feels the same way?) or not knowing (deciding not to pursue the issue) remain stagnant.  Sometimes, as in a fork in the road, the choice or decision is by all accounts and purposes not an easy one to make. As in a crush, the decision is daunting and has consequences one invariably does not wish to confront: you discover your crush likes someone else, does not feel the same way about you, considered you for a split second and decided you’re not worth the trouble, doesn’t even know you exist, uses you and discards you or worse they like you too and have been just as afraid as you were to tell you – so what now?  The consequences are so grave they can make one freeze, in a state of panic unable to make a decision either way. So how does one know how to make a decision that would have the best outcome for all concerned, especially you?

CONSULT YOU: WHAT DO YOU THINK?

I have been thinking quite loudly about my decision-making processes over the last decade. And I have made a startling discovery. Many of the decisions I made, I used “someone else”as the reason.  I made someone else take the “fall”, I made someone else the main reason or foundation on which to base that decision. i.e. I came back to SA because I wanted to be with my mother or my mother missed me;  He or she didn’t love me, like me, wasn’t there, didn’t support me, I didn’t have money, it was too hot, my sister said so, they chased me away, she said she needed me etc.  All of the reasons given most probably are valid and true but ultimately it is not my mother or anyone else who made the decision. I chose to come back. I made the decision to book my ticket and took all the necessary steps to make that decision a reality. I simply used my mother as a mitigating/aggravating circumstance among other reasons in my argument. What is startling for me is that I didn’t realize how afraid I had been of making decisions and being personally held accountable to myself for the consequences that came with them.  My mother may have given some advice, provided some support, influenced my decision but she did not by any stretch of the imagination force me or could not force me to leave or to come back. I was the one responsible for all my decisions and consequently the actions and reactions that occurred after that.

But it’s easy to have someone else to blame other than yourself. In fact  it’s comforting to know that there’s another person who will take the fall or stand with you or by your side for decisions you took or failed to take  on your own behalf. It’s harder to say yes, I alone and no one else did it, and I alone and no one else  will accept all the consequences that come with my choices/actions. I stand by my decision. Instead of owning up and being accountable we look for any and every reasonable argument to take the decision process out of our hands. We want to “share” the responsibility of making decisions at best or simply abandon  the responsibility altogether by making someone else in one way or the other make the decision for us  and ultimately be the one(s) responsible for the state we are in.  She said, he did this, they didn’t do that, so I did this because of that.

I based my decisions on what I thought others wanted, desired, or expected of me, hoping to please them. It all came from a genuinely good place, I honestly meant well, and thought I was doing what is “right” and responsible.  However noble and understandable my reasons were/ are, the truth is,   I am, was and always will be the one who decides.

MAKE ME AN OFFER I CAN’T REFUSE.

So I have been speaking to voters during the municipal by-elections held in  KwaMashu KwaZulu Natal this week. I asked them as they walked out of the voting booth – why  it was important for them to vote.   Their initial responses  obfuscated any form of responsibility:

Q: Why was it important for you  vote today:

“I don’t really know why it’s important to vote– but I vote because it’s important, they say it’s important” said one IFP member.

“It’s important to vote because I will get a house, and all my needs will be met” said a mother.

“I’m not really sure why I vote really, because nothing has changed in my life, I just know that I have to vote, why I don’t know” said a pregnant widow

On further probing… Q: Why was it important for you to vote today?

“ I voted because I need a job, I work part-time jobs, sometimes there’s no work for long periods, I am a father with children I have to support, so I’m voting so I can get a job, I vote for those I think will help me” said the IFP member

“ I think if you vote you will have services delivered to you. Like now I’m waiting for a house, I don’t have a house I live in a room with three people so If I vote I stand a better chance to get what I want” said the mother

“ I think I’m voting to promote those already in power to higher position in office, actually that’s what my vote is good for I think” said the pregnant widow.

TRUST YOURSELF.

It is  not always easy to know whether one is making the right decision in a state of a crush. One only knows that a decision must and should be made. When it comes to voting one has the luxury of openly and  without shame  blaming someone  else  for any negative outcome . They become the fall guy, the ones who are ultimately responsible for the x you made on the ballot paper.  So whatever the outcome, whether you get that job, or the house or the person you voted for get’s the position they wanted – they will ultimately forever remain responsible for the state you are in good or bad, because you gave them the power to decide what happens to you. If you get what you were hoping for,  you can be happy because you made the decision that proved to be of benefit to you.  But there is no way of knowing the outcome without making a decision.

What I am learning from this  teenage-adult-in-crush-state  is that they are ultimately necessary, to teach us to learn to make decisions both collectively and individually. You learn with each crush that it will pass, that the passion you feel however all-consuming in the moment  will be history one day, you learn that there will be others who have a crush on you too, and you will also have to break their hearts sooner or later. You learn that a crush is not love, it’s a momentary infatuation that is here today and gone tomorrow. You learn that  love is built on friendships with  people you can actually talk to about all your “crushes”, who will make jokes with you and still look at you like you are magic even when you are in the throes of making a fool of yourself. You learn that love is equal, is a negotiated agreement which is not one-sided. You also learn that crushes are necessary because they can and often do show you what is really important to you. You learn that in the end you are the most important person in your life, and those who are important to you only want you to be happy, to see you being the best of who you are, and you learn that you cannot be the best  of you until you decide for yourself what it is that is ultimately the best for you.  The more crushes you experience in your life  the more you learn, to listen carefully to you,  to carefully consider all available options with openness, you learn to whether the storms (remain still in the noise). You learn that the only thing that is constant is change. You learn also that change – is an important, essential ingredient for any and all  GROWTH to happen.

So trust yourself – you are more than capable of making the best decision for you. Because you know what… only  YOU  can do that.

 

 

Featured

THE ERECTION SEASON AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR US…

Ooozing Sex Appeal: DA Gauteng Premier Candidate - Mmusi (ruler) Maimane
Ooozing Sex Appeal: DA Gauteng Premier Candidate – Mmusi (ruler) Maimane

In the past five years I have spent a considerable amount of time in the company of men from all walks of life and from all regions of the world. And by a considerable amount of time – I mean considerable… day and night all the time, hanging out with them  chilling just doing stuff that men do when they are not in the company of women or more specifically for me women they would like to ideally have sex with or are “attracted”  to.  I was so to speak – one of the “boys”.   During this time I was given a very rare opportunity to observe their behavior and attitudes and outlook towards life. And while I am no wiser than most people and will not in no way attempt in this blog to box men into any category, at the very least  this time offered  me an opportunity to ask questions  or have candid, open and honest conversation about  relationships of all kinds –  with no strings attached.

The most revealing observation for me has to be about sex.  Seven days  is the most  an average healthy  man can go without sex. Every seven days on average, a man  needs, must have sex.  Preferably with someone they love… but once the deadline is over – and it if it’s going on to more than seven days, anyone will do.  The natural, biological  clocks kicks in and it has nothing to do with who they really love, care about or want to marry Ideally. It’s like being hungry or thirsty or even needing to pee. A man must have sex after seven days or things just don’t work out. It’s not personal and actually they don’t mean to hurt you. It’s a  human basic need they cannot go without, so either you make yourself available or you move for someone else who is be available.

At the end of the day sex is going to be had – with or without you. Finish and Klaar.

I want to use this analogy for elections  – any election season – anywhere  which is quite apt. Every 5 years we need to vote.  But this time we the nation ( female ) are in the powerful position.  All the men and women of politics need our vote and as many of them as they can get.  Many of them now are campaigning like men, who say vote for us, but if you don’t there are many more fish in the sea.  That’s the attitude…. but it belies the truth.

There are no more fish in the sea for them.  This is the one time we can use the biological clock to our advantage and give our  vote or power to someone else . We are the men in this scenario. It should not be an emotional decision. We have needs and our needs, need to be met, and if those in power have been unable for the past 20 years  give up the goods as it were, to make us “dance” then well there are many others who are willing to do just the same  thing  right now today.

Now is our time to spread our seed far and wide… to any and everyone who is willing.

Those who really, love us and really care, will show up and despite the clicking biological clocks all round they will fight to remain relevant and useful in our lives.

It’s their turn to work for it. Don’t fall for the sweet-talk and charm, they must show you the goods or forever remain silent.

We have options too, they may not shake us to the core, with earth-shattering- tremors  of utter ecstasy but they will get the job done. Which is basically what we need.

So let’s relax and enjoy the ride.  Let’s stop working “hard” for it.

As American Actress Betty White said ” Why do people say – “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really want to get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!”

I think we’ve had enough pounding ….  let’s take a holiday   sit back,  enjoy some  Champagne. and the Grand Parade.

Happy  Champagne Thursday!