Today marks a big day in South Africa, my home and native land. Maybe that is why I have this warm tingly feeling inside of me, or could it be the burrito I just ate? I feel it’s more likely a product of the home sickness I’ve been feeling lately. When I lived in South Africa I was never a patriotic person, I was never gung ho about things going on in politics or in the media. I just went about my life. But having left South Africa I can tell you it is a special and unique place. It holds so much of my heart and that’s been keeping me from getting comfortable here in Toronto. Maybe it is because I am afraid that such a big part of my identity will disappear, or maybe, just maybe, it is something more.
To be truly South African you need to know a few things. Mainly the 3 B’s: Binnits, Braai, and Beer. South Africans are warm, friendly, inviting and just generally good people. Black, white, purple, yellow, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, or English. Just good solid people that are hard to replace. Now I am not saying Canadians are awful, what I am saying is South Africans are unique and are the piece of home I miss the most. Then why do so many of us emigrate? Well, we all like to blame crime or the government, but to be honest it has nothing to do with that for me. I left for selfish, internal reasons. Government does play a small role as it is a very young Democratic country and although the previous government was horrendous and the whole world has heard about the injustice the Apartheid government put people through, that should not excuse certain things in this Government. It’s young and it’s learning so there will undoubtedly be teething issues. One of the biggest issues in my opinion is the “you owe us” mentality that the current government seems to have adopted. Instead of thinking about what would be better for the country moving forward they think about themselves, their own power, and own gain. That is why most South Africans back home and abroad should vote to show that the people have power. I may not go back for a long time but that did not stop me from marching my buns right down to 110 Sheppard Ave East Suite 600 and registering and then voting online. So here I sit writing this full of pride that we are a democracy and that I, half way across the world, can have a say.
And then I saw this one simple facebook post that filled me full of resent:
The first girl’s status is her view and she is entitled to that, I may or may not agree with her and that is not the point of this post, the point is to point out the ignorant mindset of people. Zuma is a man who has many skills like charisma and leadership and he knows how to play the political game so I applaud him for that. He is in power because he convinced people he was the right man to lead. You and I may not like that but that is how it is (just so we are clear I do not like it). The girl who commented first with “They stopped making those 20 years ago” also needs to be sat down and spoken to. On top that she’s an ignorant, privileged, white female. Trust me I know as an ignorant privileged white male, I feel I can make this statement. We sit and complain about things in South Africa but the majority of White people still have it golden there. I never in my life had done my own laundry! We are still privileged and live good lives and that is thanks to Mandela. Mandela the world’s greatest leader was in these ’20 years’ she is speaking of. If one person has taken a country more forward in the last century more than Mandela I would be surprised. I do not need to sit here and tell you how great he was, but I do want to sit here and point out how blind some people are. Her life has been forever changed by the work Mandela and his compatriots did (Zuma included). To call Mandela uneducated is an insult; just look up his biography and you will see how wrong you are- University of South Africa (1989), University of the Witwatersrand (1943–1949), University of South Africa (1942–1942),University of Fort Hare (1939–1940), Healdtown Comprehensive School (1937–1939), University of London International Programmes,University of London. The same can be said for Thabo Mbeki, who needs some praise for the job he did, he kept the country stable following Mandela, which was not an easy act to follow, but Mbeki did it in a workman manner and he was good for the country (Again these are my views). To call him uneducated is laughable – Lovedale College, University of Sussex, Institute of Social Science. He is more educated than I am!
Now I am not saying she cannot have her opinions too but the reason the country is in the shape that it is comes down to views like hers. The country should stand together as one, put a side race, put a side personal desire, put a side so many differences and focus on making South Africa a great place, the place that it is in my heart and the place I hope to return to.