Dear Spear Chucker [ written by AkhonaMashaya ]

Growing up in a multi-racial South Africa has spared my soul of resentment. I have never been openly denied any opportunity based on skin colour. Thanks to my liberal thinking mother, I was exposed to quality education from a very young age.

I have always sat in a desk, in a classroom of no more than thirty scholars of many races. Racism has never been a topic discussed in our living room. Of course no black child fully escapes the odd Apartheid story; especially the ‘life was hard back in our day’ line. As a matter of fact, even though three years old almost, I vaguely remember a time of darkness. I remember a nation in tears.

As a child growing up in an Apartheid manufactured ghetto, I remember the anthem Thula sizwe being sung in the most angelic of voices.

Sprouting from this river of tears was hope. The people’s great leader, Mandela had been freed. From what? It mattered little to me. All I knew was that soon, the tears would be replaced by laughter, song and dance. Even though still young and ignorant, it was pretty obvious that South Africa was on the brink of something. The winds of change and expectation were blowing, and though having never before been incarcerated by legislation: I too, bought into the notion that freedom was at our doorstep.

At the height of my older brother’s rebellion and my mother’s promotion to headmistress, our community was beginning to shape itself into one that would go on to inspire my generation. More professionals moved into our neighbourhood. Bankers, managers, doctors, nurses, social workers, policemen, educators and lawyers all transformed our community. Supper changed from ‘pap’ and spinach, to rice, chicken and veges.

Economic life had picked up, and as democracy kissed our nation, a tidal wave cleansed our ghetto. We were now all free. As South Africa experienced a meteoric rise, with Francois Pienaar and Niel Tovey lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy and the Africa cup respectively, national pride started to ferment among black communities. Pictures of white doves draped off badly built township walls and white people spoke of ubuntu, but the bigger change had gone unnoticed.

The language spoken by my friends and I had now ‘transformed’ into something between isiXhosa and English. The line ‘mlungu-mlungu bloody shit’, rolled off our often blue and black tongues. We knew not what it meant but we felt good saying it. It sounded different and besides, we were free.

As we were willingly cleansed of our blackness in pursuit of light; we soon realised that education would be the only key to unlock doors which had previously been locked. Mandela’s dream became ours. Big words spewed out of our parents’ mouths. They spoke of reconciliation and forgiveness. South Africa seemed to be on the mend. As our parents invested more into our education, we continued to lose ourselves.

Slowly but surely, with the emergence of  post-Apartheid South Africa, we too evolved into refined young black people. We were gearing ourselves up for success, and the newly elected government seemed to endorse this dream. Like America, South Africa too had a dream.

The Corruption of The Dream

As it often happens with systemic change, operations run smoothly until the rotten apples in the basket spread the rot onto the fresh ones. As much as the ANC has and should shoulder the blame for our nation’s underachievement, it would be disingenuous to dismiss the NP as the corrupter. As South Africans witnessed a generation of firsts, more young black people were being inspired by the new economic opportunities.

As the Motsepes, Sexwales and the Ramaphosas cashed in, the turn of the millennium saw our economy reach new heights. Communities similar to the one I was fast growing up in, started to grow. Freedom was both transforming and uniting South Africa.

We were soon to notice a change. As ANC membership grew, certain black people were growing fatter. A fourth sector in our economy had emerged and a new businessman had been born. He would later be called the tenderprenuer. As tenders were being issued by virtue of clan names, a new culture was brewing. Greed. It was becoming apparent that tenderpreneurship had become a government sponsored sport for the corrupt.

Like a little delinquent caught with hands in a cookie jar, the ANC spun lies, destroyed records and covered up most of the claims tabled against them by Patricia De lille. The arms deal had uncovered our eyes and we saw people for who they really were. We had impostors in government; people who had been pretending to be champions of the poor while they were swindling state funds. The rot had spread at a more rapid pace. South Africa was slowly losing its newly found principles.

A Dream Deferred

HIV and Aids became talking points and government had become more liberal in its greed. Just like the good blood cells are killed by the bad blood cells in an HIV positive person, good and transparent governance was being influenced and eroded by corruption. Charlatanry had reached ad nauseum. The ANC was slowly killing president Mandela’s dream.
Though far from perfect, president Mbeki had been fast becoming the ANC’s conscience. His performance based goal orientated leadership, though weakening, often stood as the only regulatory measure against corruption. For the swindlers to optimize their goals, Mbeki needed to be replaced. And so rape and corruption charges survivor, Jacob Zuma, had become the prefered successor.

At The Mercy of The Spear

Now in post-Polokwane South Africa, with the ‘giggling cassanova of Nkandla’ at the helm: a corruption of a dream has never been more apparent. Zuma has proved to be nothing short of a cock-up. With Zuma’s scrotum adnated onto the Gupta vice grip; amid talks of the erection of a new town only a stone throw away from the Zuma R203 million compound, millions of people stiil find themselves repressed by poverty and unemployment. As Limpopo together with many parts of the country remain Bantustans, Zuma continues to be caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

While our country’s unfit primary citizen prolongs his fornication of the South African dream, the youth seems to be suffering from a mental block (Perhaps ‘mental herpes’ is the appropriate term). Years of seeing corrupt people grow their bellies at the expense of the nation’s poor has resulted in the youth’s increased dependence on government. Education has been neglected as a growth solution. With reference to the recent illegal strikes, South Africa is on the brink of corporate anarchy.

Our government has lost its conscience. South Africa is at the mercy of an immoral tribalist. Our nation bleeds at the Spear’s every thrust. Our economy is faltering and government’s moral compass has long eroded. I now find myself filled with resentment and hatred towards the ruling party. I have no respect for the Zuma lead ANC. These charlatans have virtually killed our nation’s dream.

The country is worse than it was eighteen years ago. Our nation is reverting towards disunity. Chants of Kill the boer roll off the tongues of a disenfranchised youth. Economic life seems to have taken a down turn. This is not the freedom our liberators died for.

I now go back to the very same neighbourhood that inspired my generation. I find today’s youth hanging around street corners. Sweets have taken a back seat to cannabis. Sex and violence have now become the chosen sport. Education has been given the boot. Our people continue to fail themselves because government has failed them.

My plea to the president

Honourable Spear chucker, the nation bleeds at your every thrust. The ANC is bordering on evil and our youth is self-destructing. It is now time to realign our politics. It is time for the nation to move forward. Do the honourable thing, go no further than Mangaung.


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