I am generally an optimist but even I have to concede that living in South Africa is not easy in our days. Too many negatives are troubling the concerned citizen in the times of election mood. I stopped counting how many children have been raped and killed in the last weeks, especially in the Western Cape but also all over South Africa. It seems that even innocent children’s eyes are not protecting them from the senseless violence and the urge for sexual exploitation – and the rapists are coming of all age groups. It is frightening.
Violent toi-tois and strikes are daily news and the president has to tell a ‘good story’ in parliament – all politicians I listen to are seemingly disconnected with the realities on the ground only using what is needed to bolster their arguments. DA and ANC have the problem that there is indeed a problem with their respective leadership. Zuma is so much seen as a failed president marred with corruption that all the cover up of the ANC structures show that the party is not always right and that party discipline can be a negative. The DA is battling the “white lady” fight and can’t win this fight in the South Africa of today – and it seems that their leadership is not wise enough to change and let this argument run into the emptiness of space.
While all the politics are ongoing so is also the war of gangsters in Manenberg and the Cape Flats, destroying the fabric of normal life in those areas. If kids are anxious not to be caught in cross fire when walking to school or church then there is something fundamentally wrong.
Of course there are enough stories on a personal and community level which are uplifting. If it would not for those stories, one could pack the bag and leave the country. I guess it has to be those stories to be told more often and with more enthusiasm to counter the crude reality of the newspapers and news headlines. And there are more and more of the living who have never experienced apartheid by themselves – so the old stories of blaming apartheid for everything and evoking the “old times” as if nothing has been changed since then will not work anymore. It is the younger generation which can bring hope to this country, but for that, they need a proper education, which most of them are deprived of in our days. They need jobs which give them the possibility to grow and to tackle their own future. Education, passing on life skills which matters for their lives is needed and then all “malemarism” will be gone in a minute. If you are educated you don’t fall for empty promises.
Despite all these moments of frustration and anger, I still believe that South Africa is one of the most beautiful spots on earth and that there are so many positive stories to tell as well. It is a country which had the ability to have a peaceful transition to a full-fledged democracy where every vote is counting. If all people of good will work together those who are spoiling the process of becoming the rainbow nation will not prevail. For that healing should be the focus of our society – because only a reconciled nation and healed people can make life in South Africa for everybody a pleasant and meaningful one. It will never be a really easy one, but it will be a beacon of hope and encouragement for the rest of the continent. So yes, in the moment life is not easy in South Africa – but there is still hope at the end of the tunnel – let’s work together on reaching the end of this tunnel and seeing the light…