Friday, February 08, 2008

the state of the nation

Went to see a fantastic play at the Market Theatre last night with 747 and his madre. Blood Orange, the story (book based) of a liberal dude throughout his life at school, the army and then into exile. It was marvellously acted out, and the man deserved his standing ovation at the end.
747 then said whimsically in the car, on the way back: Hell, I'm proud to be a South African boy.

Just as I nearly lost a wheel in a trench, on the way down Jan Smuts Avenue. Not a mere pothole, a proper donga.

For the first time ever, I'm skeptical about South Africa. I'm really sad to say this. I'm in no way over-the-top Proudly South African or believe I will live here forever and ever and ever, but I've also been serene about the country's future, it's basic downfalls, and most political situations. I'm complacent; chilled if I stay here forever. Until now. I'm starting to wonder if things will get better at this moment.
The loadsheddings. Like many people in this country, this has belied a new kind of panic.

Because without electricity, a basic necessity for a thriving, stable country, we're stuffed. Not because we're sitting in the dark a few hours a day. That's the least of our problems.

The crime has soared. Corruption is still at an all time high, and Selebi gets an extended holiday. What with electric fences off and gates on manual, you best hope you have a Rottweiler. People are rebelling by burning trains in Shoshanguve township because they are two hours late due to lack of power.
Businesses are losing production. Generators are using more fuel, and we're running out of oil too.
Traffic is becoming another kind of nightmare. The Stock Exchange crashed a few weeks ago and we were at the same level as on September 11th. Fifa? Gautrain? Overseas investors? Potentially, if there's a fuck up and the whole country goes out for one or two days – people will go ape. Strikes, mayhem. It could very well be The Rapture.

OK, relax. That sounds pretty hectic. It's 3RM's theory anyway. But frankly, it's scary. This is when I wish I had an EU passport.

But! Let's remain positive, or strangely apathetic. My Dad insists I stay positive – and although in his own little bubble of self-deception - he's a good embassador. He thinks the loadshedding is “a good idea.” Yeah maybe in 1975, but not right on the verge of a Gautrain and a World Cup.

But beyond that, we supposedly have one of the best climates, and some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in the world. Maybe I just need to climb in my car, head to the middle of nowhere and sit in complete isolation and drink in the surroundings, and appreciate the basic core of what Africa is.

We're a friendly, happy-go-lucky nation and are one of the only nations in the world to not go into civil war after such right-wing oppression. Apparently we're also ridiculously good looking, (barring the Scandinavians and Venezuelans), and we're just...special.
Let's hope it never comes to that. The bad stuff.

17 comments:

kyknoord said...

No room for weaklings in Africa. I couldn't tell you whether the glass is half empty or half full any more, because some bastard stole my fucking glass.

Peas on Toast said...

Correct Kyk. This place isn't for wussies.

No glass? Drink straight from the tap. It's a dog's world out there, and you may have to queue :)

Expensive Mistakes and Cheap Thrills said...

i broke my glass when i tripped over it in the The-Eskom-Induced-Darkness....

Expensive Mistakes and Cheap Thrills said...

drink straight from the tap??

didn't you see the carte blanche special about how our underground water system has been polluted seriously badly.

the levels of e-coli in the vaal dam (supplying our water here in jozi) is 7000% time higher than is acceptable.

sies man. we're drinking poopy water. seriously.

Jam said...

Here is another perspective:
For once, we're AHEAD of the rest of the world. With global warming, with a future in which we may potentially run out of oil, other sources of energy, we're getting some good practice in here. By all means, we can move for "greener pastures" but then our survival instincts won't be so well honed when the really big worldwide crunch eventually arrives.
:-)

Peas on Toast said...

Thrills - I think it's time to change to plastic tumblers. Glass in the dark can be nasty!

Also, although that is an exorbitant amount of e.coli for any human to swallow, I must say, we do have some of the best water on the planet as a whole. (I'm talking about the whole of South Africa, here, not particularly JHB) Although Rand Water is still fit for consumption. So many countries you go to, you shouldn't even brush your teeth with the water. We also have high amounts of flouride in our water, more so than the UK, so it's better for our teeth. So in the respect, we're not too badly off.

Just as I have upped my general consumption of water to eight glasses a day :)

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - that is absolutely true. It's not like other (first world) countries haven't gone through similar loadshedding issues. We have some seriously challenges here with regards to power, and and and, but at least we've got some good practice for when we're living in underground bunkers one day :)

boldly benny said...

Remember your whole theory with Johannesburg that you have to look a bit harder for the beauty, perhaps that analogy can be extended to the whole of South Africa. While it is difficult to keep positive, perhaps we just have to look a bit harder for the good.
I've always been accused of being naive and idealistic because I'm so proudly South African. And yes, it has gotten harder - but I still keep looking for the good.

As for your EU passport - what about your French heritage? Or does the whole Mauritian thing put a spanner in the works?

Champagne Heathen said...

The thing about the positive attitude is...just as long as everyone is not singing kumbaya as the ship goes under.

We can/ must sing praises by all means. But also fix the ship.

Meanwhile - I just want any country where I can get some sleep.

Revolving Credit said...

Somehow don't think we'll be singing Kumbaya, more likely Umshini Wam while.

Probably a bit better than Zimbabwe though where I believe they were singing Old MacDonald had a farm

Peas on Toast said...

Boldly - Maybe next week, beauty wise anyway. On the heritage passport, the folks didn't sort it out before I was 21...shit hey? So I can only get an ancestral for now - to the UK, like the rest of many of us... :(

Champs - when the boat is fixed, I'll open a bottle of Mampoer. ;)

Rev - I wonder if Enoch Sontonga is rolling in his grave...

KaB said...

I've found myself in the same boat recently...I've always been one of the proudest South Africans around but lately, it's a little wobbly!

I try to keep positive but sometimes I have those dark days that just send me in a spiral of 'what if'. I only hope for our sake that our beautiful country makes a fuck-off kief city comeback!

To that...I'll drink tonight!

Peas on Toast said...

Kab - for sure. We've managed to not have a civil war post '94, so the amazing might happen - we get our lights back in action before 2010!

Happy drinking lady! xx

KaB said...

Not too much drinking though :)

Thought you may like to read old Thabo's 'State of the Nation address', from this morning!

http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/Politics/0,,2-7-12_2267008,00.html

He addresses much about today & tomorrow & how we'll get there. Interesting :)

Champagne Heathen said...

I see our dear president has apologised to us for the Eskom chaos. Mighty nice of him. Mighty unexpected of him.

"It is however also necessary that we take this opportunity to convey to the country the apologies of both the Government and Eskom for the national emergency which has resulted in all of us having to contend with the consequences of load-shedding... I would also like to thank all citizens for their resilience and forbearing in the face of the current difficulties."

Peas on Toast said...

Kab - ha! Now what does he have to say for himself, thanks for the link!

Champs - ah what a softie -now just what do you propose we do now, Thabo?

sarah said...

Love the cartoon! Maybe I should think about leaving, I've heard that botox and hair dye is a lot cheaper overseas.