Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Bishopscourt and Bonteheuwel (by Tota Tsotsotso)

Guest Post: Tota Tsotsotso

In order to be polite company, we are told to avoid politics, religion and sex. These topics get the blood boiling and can prevent any possibility of people getting along. These topics also matter to people. Jonathan Haidt wrote a wonderful book trying to get to the bottom of why good people disagree. Part of his argument is that logic can only take you so far. We don't really believe what we believe based on logic. That comes second as an explanation (or excuse) for what we believe.

He suggests that we should talk about these thorny topics. If we don't, things that are very important parts of our happiness get shelved or cause rifts. At university we had a free speech board which occassionally touched a nerve. The rest of the time it was empty due to apathy or beer. Living together in University Residence, Tota and I met at around both the board and the beer. He is good people. He has been venturing into some of the tougher topics online and I share one of his posts from yesterday here.

[Travel troubles mean I am struggling to post a pretty pic of Tota, I will change that the first chance I get]

Bishopscourt and Bonteheuwel
by Tota Tsotsotso

Don't let them convince you otherwise, South Africa is going places.... We bemoan so much, and there really is reason to do so. This democracy is being tested, as it should be. The rainbow nation experiment is failing. I, and a lot of people having been a minority in holding that view. The truth is, we aren't drones or little kids thrown together on a play ground and told to figure it out and be friends. We belonged to a polarised society that actually had to confront each other and settle into a truthful existence. The last 20 odd years have been a shameful falsehood; enough to keep the peace, but not enough to build a nation. Until the plight of a cold homeless child in Bonteheuwel is emotionally draining to that middle class family in Bishopscourt, we aren't building a nation. We are just a bunch of little children on a play ground told to get along. Until we learn from history and learn from each other, we will remain divided. We are at a critical point in SA. All our institutions are failing. We are like an old house with a great structure. We need a massive refurbishment. And it's on the way!! I'm sitting here having a cup of tea before a conference in the heart of Sandton, and I'm surrounded by global citizens ready to do business with South Africa. 
Nature has a way of exiting what shouldn't be. There is lots of emigration talk (what's new) and migration to Cape Town. Long may that continue!! People should be free to live in the type of society that they desire. But if you step back and look at the bigger picture, South Africa's middle class strongly reflects that from 100 years ago. This nation won't settle until there is an even distribution of land and wealth and opportunities. Society evolves, so we probably won't be talking of minerals in 200 years. Whatever age we are living in in 200 years time, equality and equality of opportunities needs to be the dominant bias. This country will settle into whatever it was suppose to be. The current turmoil clearly means we weren't ready, and definitely weren't ready to be a rainbow nation. This will happen when our idea of a democratic and united South Africa are more common. 
My favourite and most rousing statement by Barack Obama is the following, and I'm hoping a derivative of this will be applicable one day to our glorious Republic;
"We are not a collection of red states and blue states, we are, and forever will be the United States of America."
*Tota jumps up scream "Go Barack"!!*
Enjoy your day.
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