In South Africa we have many cultural paradigms that resonate with national identity. Our national consideration of who we are and where we are is “Rainbow Nation”. Shame, the elderly gentleman, Madiba, who had spent a few years in prison for having been too good at defending himself in the 1950’s and 1960’s:
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Nelson Mandela, Rivonia Trial, April 1964
chose unwisely to endorse this odd summation of South Africa, “Rainbow Nation”, which was popularised by Desmond Tutu. “Rainbow Nation” is a euphemism for the utopian LGBTQ society wherein all are not conventionally orientated, which creates the condition that the “abnormal” is in fact “normal”. Madiba and the Arch did not know that Madibs and uDes were condemning South Africa to a queer existence. Nonetheless we plodded on with “Rainbow Nation”. We swiftly abandoned the notion of “Masakhane” which means “Let us build together” and adopted a tribal post-homeland mindset that has manifested itself as an internecine factional war within the African National Congress that has ruined the state, the republic, the governments and the parastatals of South Africa. This despite Madiba declaring:
“The invincibility of our cause and the certainty of our final victory are the impenetrable armour of those who consistently uphold their faith in freedom and justice in spite of political persecution.”
Nelson Mandela, Rivonia Trial, April 1964
So all in all we are demanding that our “culture” (pronounced “kulcha”) be given room to fester irrespective of the damage this does and we flip-flop between neologisms that describe our diverse “unity”, given that we raped, looted, dispossessed and violated the rights of the “Khoisan and Bushman” peoples, who are the actual original people of South Africa. All hail: “ǃke e꞉ ǀxarra ǁke” – South Africa!
So we don’t have a way to explain how we fell into the pitfall of national consciousness over the last twenty-five years, and we don’t have a explanation for how we are going to correct the dire state that South Africa is in currently. But we do have some peculiarities which are interwoven with our culture that explain exactly why we are fucked. Like a donkey would be fucked if anally raped by an elephant. Fucked.
You see, in our culture, we believe that we are entitled to what we want, when we want it and this is manifested as behaviours that are described as:
- Want Money NOT Work
- +Mashonisa (That’s the impoverishers)
- +Borrow and Spend
- +Chow the Money
- +Sugadaddy Topup
- +Sweets (That’s the diabetes economy)
- +Stokvel Logic
- +Spaza Mentality
- +MSG (That’s Mobile System Game = Social Media Usage)
- +More MSG (That’s Mono Sodium Glutamate = Stuff Your Face)
- +Steal What You Want
Because in the end, someone has to steal from the state, the republic, the governments and the parastatals of South Africa to keep the party going.
So in debating the situation in South Africa, in addressing the problems in South Africa and in solving the crises of South Africa; let us remember the type of South African who caused the problem, and hopefully deny those people their cultural rights in the future, and because there is no such thing as a culture of entitlement that is rooted in sanity, it is clearly evident that there should be a test for sanity before licences to vote are issued. I am now going to discuss each of these cultural suspects at length.
Want Money NOT Work: Who in their right mind does NOT want work? Work is SALVATION. Work is the enabler of dignity. Work is the foremost God-given right that all people have. You are entitled to Work – not to a job – not to a minimum wage – not to a union – not to benefits – but to work. Work that keeps you occupied – as in an occupation – that describes your busy-ness (business) – and enables you to trade the products of your work with others for material gain. WORK. It’s the blessing that God gave all people. But some people don’t like work. They just want money. Sadly these people have no self respect and no self worth, while self esteem is not a concept to them in any way whatsoever. So they cruise through life cheating at school, cheating at college, cheating at university, cheating at their jobs, just doing the bare minimum, passing the working day away without any dedication – and then getting paid so that they can do what they really want to do – relax and enjoy themselves. Pathetic is the only way to describe these people. If you’re not exceeding expectations at work, you’re not living. If you’re not breaking the mold and innovating the future, you’re not working. Put simply if you spend all day talking and telling stories, while putting in minimum effort – you’re deadweight to your employer and you should get out of there and let someone else actually work in that job. But then again, work is not in our culture. Women prepare meals from subsistence agriculture, girls prepare handicrafts from subsistence agriculture, boys tend and herd livestock in terms of subsistence agriculture and men fight with one another and raid neighbouring villages to murder and rob them of their subsistence agriculture. Work is not part of our culture.
Mashonisa: When it comes to short cuts and easy ways and work is not an option culturally speaking, it’s always possible to borrow money from your local loanshark. The word Mashonisa means “they who impoverish” and it refers to the fact that the interest rates (or cost of borrowing) is high and the threat of violence and dispossession is great upon the instance of non-repayment. Put simply it seems to be in our culture to borrow money, rather than earn it, and to repay this money by borrowing again. Perhaps I am being too unfair, after all you can borrow from other sources other than your local loanshark, and all that happens when you don’t repay is that they blacklist you and attach your property. No big deal. No-one comes to your house to murder and rob you for not repaying the debt. So while we would prefer if the Mzansi accounts, the PostBank accounts, the SASSA accounts, the PEP Bank accounts and the Shoprite Money accounts had an automatic credit facility that was not based on income or assets, it remains that Mashonisa is a viable way to access cash fast without too many questions.
Borrow and Spend: Having borrowed the money now the borrower must spend it – not lend it out at a higher rate, not invest in a good thing (like buying and selling quarts of beer), not bet on a sure thing (like Bafana Bafana losing a crucial match) and not use it repay another outstanding debt. Spend it. This is the approach that has infiltrated the government which sees paying money to the African National Congress as a way to assuage the animosity of the people, and does so regularly in aid of which. So people in the communities borrow from loansharks and spend on what they like while buying on credit where they can, because store credit is like free money – because in the end, stores like Edgars will fold and the debt will get written off. In the public sphere we borrow from China, to spend, as the government, on ANC businesses that use the money to buy goods made in China. Perfectly normal in South Africa, except that we still owe at the end of the transaction and the vig was not paid to the triads to settle the debt of the first instance – the profits were used to enrich the ANC people. Borrow and spend is definitely in our culture.
Chow the Money: This is the easiest cultural paradigm to understand. KFC is a big recipient of the proceeds of this cultural dynamic. When we have money, we eat together, and in general we spend the money on food and drink. In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy we see that we are trapped in the lower rungs and are focused on gratification. Nonetheless, when the project, business or person has the money – it gets chowed, this is why nothing is done on time or under budget. I won’t say more about this except that in the public sector catering costs are a core component of the budgeting process. Food and drink is an essential expense which is prioritised ahead of the program work. The problem with this is that the money is never budgeted on the basis of chow the money (because that’s just corrupt) so the chowing the money eats into the program costs and the project or business cannot achieve its objectives on time or in full. But then again its our culture.
Sugadaddy Topup: All quid pro quo relationships end with a Sugadaddy and a Squeeza working together. The Sugadaddy protects the criminality and the Squeeza steals. Naturally the Sugadaddy gets the money and the Squeeza gets what she wants. In this paradigm the Squeeza simply asks for more money and the Sugadaddy obliges. This makes life as a young woman quite easy. The downside to this situation is not all that bad: He abuses, She suffers. Its the norm in our culture as South Africans. In the public sector this works on a similar basis – the bigdeal businessman plays Santa Claus to the politically connected and showers them with money. Just think about JZ and his friends in business. In that most recent situation Gupta was the Sugadaddy and JZ was the Squeeza.
Sweets: Diabetes and Prediabetes makes people do strange things. It makes people eat and drink in excess and vegetate in front of the television or on their smartphones. It makes people bingewatch crap on demand and play stupid games until exhaustion sets in. But most of all it makes people consume sugar. In any form and in as much quantity as is possible, making people overweight, obese and generally unhealthy. Add sugary drinks and confectionaries and you are looking at a population that is unable to work, unable to earn and unable to survive. But the cultural paradigm of eating mielie meal regularly (starch contains sugars), of not exercising and of generally lazing about adds up to a situation wherein the people don’t know any better than to just eat for the sake of eating. Sadly obesity has become a norm in the cultural identity of South African people.
HairStyle: China is the foremost manufacturer of African haircare and hairstyle products and the programming that goes into these products and the ancillary services contains drugs and nice things that make the customer feel good. It becomes an addiction and the regularity of the usage of the service attests to this. So the Chinaman and the Nigerians have the average South African in need of “hairstyle” strung out before they realise it, leaving no choice but to spend the money every month on “hairstyle” products and services. No-one knows why, it’s a cultural thing, you must go around with recycled plastic bags woven into your hair to look good. It’s not sensible – it’s just the way the culture is evolving.
Olosho: If you are one, you know you are one. It’s quite obvious to you. It’s also quite obvious to everyone else. Sandton is full of them during the day spending their hard earned money. They are of all races and ethnicities. It’s quite common in society for this to be considered the way things work. If it works for trophy wives and celebrities, why not for the average cracker looking for a better quality of life, and the more regular your John, the better. Now I’m not saying that the average South African woman is a whore, don’t get me wrong – some only accept payment in BitCoin – what I am saying is that there is a predilection for South African women to behave like whores. It’s a tax and spend approach which forces men to pay and enables women to spend. Nothing wrong with that according to the women. You just need a regular John and the convenient words like boyfriend and girlfriend and you’re on your way to justifying the working life of your genitals. But let’s be clear – if you’re in a relationship or in relationships where you benefit materially from having sex or from providing the having of sex… Olosho. That’s why the Nigerians categorise you as not being good enough to introduce to their mothers. But then again it’s in our culture.
Stokvel Logic: If we all put our money together then at least some people can get what they want. This is the concept that is taken from “my grandparents were in a stokvel” to how public entities are funded by the many while being operated for the few. Just think we spend billions on housing every year, but there remains millions living in shacks or worse still living as homeless, vagrants, destitute or worse. And yet some people are making a fortune from public housing initiatives. But when the most sophisticated way, to your mind, of affording christmas is a stokvel – it is of no wonder that degree in public administration in hand, you treat your government office as a member of a stokvel and participate as a collective in making decisions that benefit your stokvel first and foremostly ahead of others – after all if we are stealing then at least we are stealing together for all of us. I feel that the phrase “it’s our culture” has lost its value so I will not use it again.
Spaza Mentality: Some people are so sophisticated that they have never bought goods from anywhere other than a spaza shop. I’m not joking. The spaza shop is a refined enterprise that places the products of a grocery store and produce market on your street corner, everywhere. If spaza shops carried a wider range and made deliveries they would put online shopping out of business. But that is assuming that spaza shops sold goods and provided services that were sophisticated. All too often the spaza shop is expensive and limited, and people know this, so they take the taxi into town to go to the bigger supermarkets and produce markets to buy what they need. Nonetheless the spaza mentality is such that the premium price is paid in order to avoid the indaba of travelling to the big shops. This manifests itself as government buying overpriced goods and services from overvalued businesses and businesspeople. This is where government gets ripped off as it is happy to pay spaza prices when it has the volume to buy directly from the manufacturer. But do not despair, preferential procurement and broad-based black economic empowerment has entrenched the spaza mentality.
MSG: What can be said of the rubbish that South Africa posts on social media. Hate. Hate. Hate. Repackaged and rebranded but hateful nonetheless, what passes for news these days is abysmal. However to keep up with South Africa’s inferiority-driven celebrities, the people spend hours on their mobile devices being entertained with what other people are doing, while they themselves are not doing anything other than prying. It’s a drug problem, driven by a gambling problem, fueled by a drinking problem that is kept in check by a money problem – and South Africa loves it. There is so much garbage on social media and on news sites on the internet that we never know when the great toad is going to prison, when the cockroach is going to die, when the louse will appear at the Zondo commission, when the mosquito will be arrested or when the housefly will say something useful instead of just flitting from one pile of dogshit to the next. Suspenseful for everyone who overinflates the cache of their own celebrity and downright boring for the rest of us who don’t have problems.
More MSG: Hypertension is a killer, it is also a driver of demand. The colonel and his eleven herbs and spices are a key beneficiary from the demand for salty foods. The culture of stuffing one’s face with savoury treats is widespread as can be seen from the queues at fast food outlets. This together with a social predisposition not to work hard and never to exercise leaves the people in a difficult position. On the one hand they have to stuff their faces, on the other hand they’ve already consumed their sugar quota for the day and are in a hypertensive-diabetic fugue-like autopilot mode of couch-potato slash mobile-junkie and have no choice but to chow some salty snacks. To be frank most fast food is either sugary or salty in nature and there is no stopping the rapacious obesity and over-weighted-ness that is tolerated in society. Nonetheless I find myself saying that its our culture again.
Steal What You Want: From the time that the Bantus swept down from the Congo into Southern Africa, there has been a culture of raiding neighbouring villages, murdering their people and stealing what they had. The first victims of this were the “Khoisan and Bushmen” whose cattle and livestock were stolen by the Bantus ostensibly because the Bantus didn’t have a culture of animal husbandry of their own. The cultural perspective of “if we don’t have our own and we want it, we will just steal it” actually explains South Africa’s crime statistics perfectly. Crime… it’s in our culture. Apart from this there is simply the “I don’t give a damn” attitude that actually enables criminals to steal, with the willing accomplices getting paid as well. It stems from a belief that stealing is not a crime and that murdering to steal is not wrong. Strange but true… It’s our culture!
GoodTime: Everybody likes having a good time, its a welcome respite away from hard work and the realities of life. But what happens when “goodtime” becomes the only thing going on in your life? You don’t work very hard, you don’t deal with the responsibilities of your life and you don’t do very much other than go from one goodtime to the next goodtime. It’s easy to see this goodtime culture around payday and on weekends, but if you’ve ever served time in a student residence, you will understand the goodtime economy quite well. Food, booze, drugs, entertainment and yes even sex are all on the menu. With students all they have to do is balance their studies with the goodtime fiesta, but with adults, the goodtime fiesta can be dragged down with the responsibilities of children, family, home and work. Nonetheless, shebeening your wages away continues to be a regular feature of our culture.
CORRUPTION: Well what can be said of a bunch of socialists and nationalists whom are in a quandary about whether they are Russian or Chinese and whether they are Engelian-Marxist, Marxist-Leninist, Leninist-Stalinist, Stalinist-Maoist or Maoist-Authoritarian in nature. Just for the record this socialist and nationalist death spiral is often the cause of structural breakdowns which result in the apparatchiks simply deciding to pay themselves well while they chomp and slurp their way through a discussion on the matter. We should not be surprised that the state, the republic, the governments and the parastatals of South Africa are getting ripped off in their purchasing and spending, it was to be expected, however we should be surprised that to date we don’t know how much the state, the republic, the governments and the parastatals are paying for each item and thing that they buy or spend on. It must be that the buyers and spenders are just stupid, or maybe that they don’t care because it’s not their money. This is concerning as the revenue service does not indicate the source of its revenue by race, so we don’t know whose money it is.
As you can see there is a cultural paradigm that has sunk South Africa into this mess and sucked the life right of it. Is there any hope for the future? Is there a real solution? There is. Vote Democratic Alliance!