Sawubona South Africa
An Everyday South African Perspective
South Africa together working towards collective growth, collective learning, collective prosperity, collective development and collective understanding all for the collective greater good.
Written for no other reason than the belief that “I am because We are”.
If you want to go fast, go alone…
If you want to go far, go together!
It takes a village to raise a child!
Sawubona South Africa!
I see you.
I see you as you are.
I see you struggling.
I see you tired.
I see you scared.
I see your trauma.
I see your pain.
I see your confusion.
I see your frustration.
I see your darkness.
I see YOU, as YOU are, as YOU feel…
As YOU fall, or stumble I should say!
The reason doesn’t matter as much…
As what you do from here, where you are…
With what you have!
Sawubona South Africa!
I see your courage.
I see your hope.
I see your kindness.
I see your love.
I see your heart.
I see your values.
I see your principles.
I see your healing.
I see the unity that brought us freedom.
I see the strength that will make us rise.
I see the light that turns…
Darkness into something bright!
Let us remember…
United we shall stand…
Let us strive for freedom…
In South Africa our land!
Sawubona South Africa!
Sukhuma South Africa!
Rise South Africa!
A perspective on South Africa Rising!
The group areas act divided where we live into racial enclaves. Neighbouring each other with some vacant land in between, the apartheid planners thought they could keep the good bits for the Europeans, give some opportunity to the Coloureds to develop their areas, leave the Indians to fend for themselves and ring fence the Africans into townships that had no economic development plans. In fact by the early 1970’s there weren’t any African South Africans at all. All of the Africans had been transferred to the citizenry of their respective enthno-linguistic homelands. The Africans in the townships in South Africa were in fact foreigners, if the apartheid government were to be believed.
As a result of this there is today inadequate socio-economic development in historically African, Coloured and Indian areas. While the historically European areas are the centres of most of the socio-economic development taking place. This is not really a problem because the vast majority of the European South Africans who were in the country in 1994, have emigrated out of Africa. The remaining European South Africans by and large stick to themselves wherever they are or have semigrated to the Western Cape. This means that wealthy African, Coloured, Indian and Chinese people and wealthy foreigners have moved into the historically European areas and are taking advantage of the benefits of the development.
Socio-economic challenges exist in South Africa at a deeply rooted level. There are people who cannot read, write and count. There are people who can but do not read, write and count. There are people who do not go to school even though they should. There are people who do not finish school because their families cannot afford it. There are people who have finished school and who are not studying further, but who are not working. There are people who have post-matriculation qualifications but are unemployed. And of course there are people who were employed but were retrenched and cannot find work.
In South Africa we have well-played puppeteers, like the rich and powerful who influence our elected leaders to make policies in their favour. This is of course not to speak of the control that the traditional leaders exert over the provinces and municipalities in their territories. So we are left to ask whether we have traded colonial rule for minority rule for elitist rule that skews our economy away from equal opportunity for every individual towards economic prosperity for the connected few; and if so whether there is a way to solve this problem?
Needless to say we have well-paid puppets who rubber stamp the wishes of the few who corrupt the public good and pocket some lucre for their troubles. We have seen a parade of these well-paid puppets over the last 30 years and without exception they have all failed to sell South Arica’s souls to their masters. South Africa is strong, South Africa is resilient and South Africa will go the distance irrespective of how the great and the good sabotage and undermine the integrity and sovereignty of South Africa. We will persevere!
There is no point in listing the corrupt leaders who went before and came after Madiba. There is no point in dragging South Africa into a state of depression by even remembering their ill-deeds. What is required is the removal from every sort of power of every sort of corrupt leader. Take them out of office wherever they are. If you have evidence of their corruption, report them to the police and let the justice system work to protect South Africa from the corruption that found its way into South Africa to wreak havoc as it has done.
Without question, it’s time to try something different; something that is not predicated on “Here’s some clothing, some money, some airtime and some food – now vote for our party”; and something that is not predicated on “We let you and helped you steal – now vote for our party”. It is time for South Africa with Integrity. Not the parade of every fool and their pet cause, but rather the gathering of wisdom and compassion and the facilitation of the delivery of equal opportunity to each and every individual without fear or favour.
Our freedom is not finite, it is not alienable and it is not without purpose. During apartheid we were denied our right to work, and when we were able to work, it wasn’t on terms that were conducive to quality workmanship; certainly we were not well paid for our work and we had no real rights as workers. Now we have the freedom to work and indeed the right to work. What shall we do with it? Shall we serve our own interests exclusively? Shall we hoard our wealth and keep our privileges to ourselves? No, if you want to succeed you need legions of happy customers. In order to succeed you need to produce what solves the problems of others and satisfies their needs. In serving each other we achieve freedom. We give real meaning to our freedom and our rights, as a society.
This is a call to those who are everyday South Africans. Join together and stand up for your country, your people and your future. We can achieve real democracy, not this corrupt committee nonsense that parades as consensus. We can go back to the logic of the National Peace Accord that stopped the civil and ethnic war in the early 1990’s. We can build a society that is free from poverty, that is determined by equal opportunity and that has no worklessness. We can achieve these things in our lifetimes. Not through tender-lotteries, not through puppet policies and not through sycophancy. But rather as a nation of hard-working, honest people, who don’t steal; taking every opportunity to advance South Africa’s position wherever we are. Together, with common purpose and respect for each other, we can become the country we want to live in.
Let’s begin the work for a better future by voting corruption out of office; by defending the elderly, the children and the women against any and all abuse; by paying our taxes timeously and properly; by rejecting nepotism and favouritism as the means for doing things and by proudly cleaning and building our communities so that we don’t live live animals. This is possible. It is possible to rebuild a tin shack into a structurally sound wood and iron house. It just takes some kindness from the people who know how. If we work together to solve socio-economic problems, one at a time, creating legacy systems that enable personal development into the future; we will overcome our difficulties.
The world outside Africa is waiting for South Africa to fail. We are a black majority country that has a happy population of European, Coloured, Indian and Chinese citizens. This is the key to why South Africa can be successful. Even if you are a Black Power Nationalist who considers these South Africans as foreigners, you should recognise that these foreigners bring foreign direct investment, increase global trade and good standing in the world just by being happy South Africans. Yes, factually we are doomed if all of the European South Africans leave South Africa, as the world will turn against us, markets will close to us and our standing in the world will fall. But let us not obsess about race. Let us treat every South African with dignity – and remember when I say South African, I mean everyone living in South Africa. Let us not fall victim to systemically racist structures organised by the European countries and the American military to play up the divisions among us. They want South Africa to be a basket-case, a tin-pot little African dictatorship and a failed state.
I started of by saying, “I am because We are” and wherever you go in the world there are people who believe this about their communities. Africa is no different. Let us not adopt values from a world that contradicts the very essence of you as an African. It is an African tendency to view the individual as being unique, to view the family as being sacrosanct, to view the community as being inclusive and to view society as being a collective. There are people who would like Africa to be mind-bleached into the logic of Engels-Marx-Lenin-Stalin-Mao or Kerensky-Trotsky-Dzerhinsky-Castro-Xiaoping so as to give further credence to the failed logic of “us versus them”. Do not be fooled, do not be conned. Your humanity can never be for sale, on the basis of sacrificing your dignity so that the village can eat. No meal is worth the destruction or derogation of anyone’s dignity.
You have values that you hold as an individual. Values that ring true with what you believe. These values must be consistent with your intentions and actions. If you believe that stealing is wrong, you shouldn’t be involved with stealing. However if you believe that stealing is not wrong, perhaps South African citizenship is not for you. Think about moving to a country with no respect for the rule of law. Look into it, you just might be happier. Happiness is after all what we are interested in, the happiness of our people is a pre-requisite for any consideration of the greatness of our country. There is no point if South Africa has a great reputation, while South Africa’s people are unhappy.
When offered some corruption, say, “No”. When offered some theft, say, “No”. When offered some abuse, say, “No”. You have to rise above the shortcuts-to-nowhere and short-term-gains-with-long-term-losses. You have principles, stick to them and stand up for what you believe. If you are religious take that quiet relief seriously. Attend to your religious study, instruction and worship with dedication, care and consideration. It is healing for your soul and nourishment for your mind. Do not be afraid to pray for people who need divine guidance and saving; your prayers will lift them to safety for a better future for everyone.
Stand up straight, hold your head up high and conduct yourself with confidence and integrity. You have the ability, the capacity and the responsibility to protect your future by taking responsibility for yourself now. What are you doing with your time? How are you contributing to the welfare of society. Are you contributing enough? Do you have the energy to lift someone else out of poverty by giving them an equal opportunity? Can you provide for yourself and your family with certainty each month? Should you be working a second job or running a business in your spare time. Have you considered learning a technology skill that can earn you more money? Try Udemy.
No-one is going to hand us our prosperity on a platter. We have to do the work to grow together and achieve our prosperity without marginalising anyone. We have to consider each and every South African as a valuable part of the South African mission. To achieve true democracy and to achieve true freedom. If we work together in harmonious interaction, we will overcome our challenges. Without making excuses and without blaming others we will be able to be the people we are capable of being.
We must in the name of national reconciliation, respect each other as fellow South Africans. We must stand together and reject corruption and stealing. We must unite to defend South Africa against all of its enemies – some even who are South African, hell bent on grasping power for their little ideas. We must work together, in unity, so we do not grow apart as a people. This means that the process of national reconciliation must be part of our everyday lives.
Remember what Madiba said, at the Rivonia Trial in 1964, “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.” And commit yourself to being a soldier for Madiba. A South African who is prepared to argue for the realisation of Madiba’s intentions and to act in order to achieve Madiba’s goals. Together we can make Madiba proud, together we can make South Africa Rise!
Together, South Africa can achieve greatness. Indeed if the blessings of our ancestors for Bafana Bafana were not habitually stolen from Bafana Bafana by the PSL and NFD teams, we would already have won the world cup, many times over. We excel wherever we support one another, wherever we respect one another and wherever we afford one another equal opportunity. South Africa used to say, “Ex Unitate Vires” and “Eendracht Maakt Macht” both of which mean “Unity is Strength” or “Unity is Power”; now South Africa says, “!ke e: /xarra // ke” which means “Diverse Peoples Unite” or “Unity in Diversity”. Therefore whether you are an old South African or a new South African, together, in unity we shall achieve our true freedom. United we shall stand, together we shall win.
If we degenerate into an “us versus them” logic that says, “steal, steal and steal some more”, we will forfeit the greatest inheritance in the world. We will do without the prosperity that the hard work of South Africans can achieve. If we hate each other for whatever reason, we will succumb to the reality of the failed state. If we choose to make war among ourselves, yes there will be fewer mouths to feed, but there will also be fewer hands to work. If we destroy the works of others or even of ourselves for exhilarating looting sprees, we will never escape poverty. If we are so divided, then surely we shall fall.
Sawubona means, “I see you”. This can be explained emotionally as I recognise that you exist, that you are present, that you are relevant and that you are an important part of what is happening. It is the opposite of “I dismiss you as being unworthy” or “I ignore you as being irrelevant”. It is a statement of our humanity and a statement of our community as people that share the common bond of the existence of our individual personalities. Without fail, Sawubona is a statement that considers each and every person as being valuable as an individual, not as mere copies of each other, or as repetitions of each other’s prejudices.
It is time for South Africans to see each other as fellow people, not in terms of “us and them”. There has been too much of this “whites versus blacks” and “blacks versus whites” in the daily contention of our lives for the last 500 years. We don’t need more “this group versus that group”; what we need in fact is a united citizenry that is proud of every culture and language that is here in South Africa, and that is accommodating to the various nuances that exist in the differences between each person. Yes we are all unique individuals and our personalities prove this, but we are all a united South Africa, that put an end to the racist laws of apartheid; we can put an end to the hatred that festers in our preoccupation with disadvantage.
We need to think beyond “steal what you want and hope you don’t get caught” which seems to be the national sport in South Africa. From parliament to the squatter camps, South Africans have shown themselves to have loose morals when it comes to stealing. Indeed when the leaders of South Africa greet each other warmly while conniving to defraud the public good through rigged tenders and kickback scams; it is hard to explain to unemployed people in squatter camps that stealing is wrong. In actuality what we need is a government that says “Sawubona” to each South African, and means it. Means it so far that it provides opportunity to each and every South Africa without fear or favour. It’s time to give real meaning to “Sawubona”.
Group areas were designated during apartheid so that if the Africans decided to rise up in rebellion they would attack the Indians and Coloureds before attacking the Europeans. The recent unrest, violence, destruction, looting and vandalism played to this apartheid plan perfectly because we haven’t undone apartheid, we have just switched white privilege for black privilege and maintained the status quo.
The vast majority of black South Africans; that is African, Coloured, Indian and Chinese South Africans are inadequately empowered. They do not have the personal sovereignty that is required to succeed in life. Yes sure some of them have jobs, some of them have money, some even live in proper houses as opposed to shacks. But the vast majority have no access to opportunity. They are dependent on a slipshod Social Security system, a fumbling public health system, an inept public education systems and welfare services that don’t solve social problems. But this is just the beginning of where we were in 1994. From 1994 to now, corruption has been the name of the game. And the government has looked after itself and its friends very well. Largely ignoring the needs of the people entirely.
For South Africa to rise a new approach to solving socio-economic problems like housing, healthcare, welfare, education, public transport and social security; that is based on equal opportunity for every South African, that is everyone living in South Africa. Without this new approach South Africa will not rise to claim its place on the world stage.