The shameful shenanigans of the elite

South Africa never ceases to amaze, but then again, few things remain amazing.

As South Africans, we need to commend the positive contribution made by former Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela for the sterling work her office had done. Despite the limited resources at her disposal, she enlightened both the country and our international allies that, nobody is untouchable. 

The report by Adv. Madonsela awakens us to many points, but for the sake of time, I’ll state a few and hope for the remainder, will be unpacked in time.

Prior to the emergence of the ANC Administration, the Bophutatswana (North West) Government Chief Administrator Mangope once told the citizens that the oncoming ANC government will mock, humiliate and alienate them because it’s a party full of unscrupulous criminals who care about nobody but themselves.

20 plus years later, the ANC government has been in power, and what has the country seen? A government administration that is too reluctant to get rid of poverty, inequality and unemployment. A government that is too reluctant to quench a culture of powerlessness in a people previously excluded. A government that’s too reluctant to create leaders, from a class which is heavily consumed by an excruciating hunger for assimilation. The current ANC group has, undoubtedly, become a disappointment.

Mindful of the reality faced by the youth, it’d be interesting to know how government executives plan restore faith in their offices- like Adv. Madonsela has done. To date, SA youth still pass through schools that don’t teach, forced to search for jobs that don’t exist and ultimately left stranded in the streets to stare at the glamorous lives advertised around them.

The State Capture Report by Adv. Madonsela exposes us to some of the cruel, barbaric but astonishing realities South Africa has reached. Shameful shenaniganism executed by people entrusted with sensitive spaces of public responsibilities.

Never mind the endless rhetoric by pseudo-politicians in courts represented by lawyers, never mind the endless protests in metropolis by citizens expressing energised disgust, politicians simply don’t care! And of course, the poor are at the receiving end.

What’s rather frustrating is the psychological impact these barbaric deeds have on our emerging youth, especially in rural areas. What messages and meanings do they receive from their leaders in public spaces? That it’s okay to burn learning institutions?

Searching for positives

Es’kia Mphahlele used to say: “I am an irrepressible teacher and will teach anywhere I am invited to, as long as I will not be subjected to play the role of a token nigger.” For a large majority amongst ourselves, it’d be shameful if we travel “down second avenue” for retrospections. Our predecessors are laughing at us wherever they are.

During my visits to schools as adjudicator with NEA, I am always struck by how old some of our schools in urban areas are. Some are so old that their proud alumni in their middle-age life are freely servicing (maintaining) the structures by contributing either dedicated material or immaterial resources for institutional development. Such are people doing positive things towards the healthy development of society, the nation and ultimately the world. Through their tiny ripples of effect, they become every day heroes the youth can look up to.

In relation to the former, it’d be interesting to know how many developmental institutions of the ANC government still remain intact. Seemingly, for a nation that sees colour, most facilities in “black-communities” built by the ANC government were of very poor quality. It’s thus not difficult at all to understand why mostly “black youth” are alienated from developmental institutions because they eventually resort to burning them in anger. There’s a notion that says: “talk when you’re angry and you’ll make the greatest speech to regret.”

With the emergence of democracy, our parents had hoped for among other things, equal opportunities so we’d start playing roles in building our own institutions and developing ourselves to be the present-future role models for our successors in the process. Amusingly, we continue to form or join professional clubs with the hope of combating the ill-ecosystem that exists in our professional spaces.  

The questions that arise then are, amongst all these professional associations that our elites come from, are we seeing positive value? Is the end result worthy of the investment? Is the impact generally positive for our national discourse?

It’s worrisome that, for a large majority among “blacks,” black parents continue to leave their developmental institutions in their rural communities, travel hundreds of kilometres away from their dwellings only to enrol their kids in former model-c schools. The reality is worrisome because the direct translation is that “blacks are incapable of developing themselves” and for as long as the case perpetuates, blacks will have nothing as their point of reference.

What’s rather puzzling is the insane ideological notion that our black elders continue to entrench in the psyche of black kids that for them to develop into strong, diverse and intellectually well balanced people, they must be trained by other professionals outside their racial group.

Amidst all these fascinating humiliations, we need to redeem ourselves, start-afresh and re-make our beloved country great again. Yes, We Can!

Koketso Marishane is a community youth development practitioner and writes as a concerned citizen.  

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