The slow demise of South African morals
Is this only a South African thing, or is it an epidemic that’s burning it’s way through the entire world — of which we might not come back from ever? I don’t know, all I know is what I see from the perspective I sit in.
06:10AM: I get on the highway to go to work. The highway is packed — yet moving at a steady 20 to 30 km/h pace.
06:12AM: I’m annoyed already. The minibus taxi’s have no respect for other people and the law. They whizz by in the emergency lane not caring about the fact that everybody is waiting in the same queue to get to work. What makes them so special?
06:13AM: I think to myself: “Is this really what it came to? The fact that I’m not super mad, but merely ‘annoyed’ at the fact that these people drive so dangerously?
06:15AM: I lose my s**t! A big military bus taking people back & forth from work, which I see every day, drives like mad — swerving and cutting people off, driving really dangerously! Not only is the military really shocking and I fear the day that South Africa have to protect herself with these jokers holding the guns, but they don’t care about anybody it seems from this bloke driving like this. (Did I just generalize? Sorry for that! I know there’s respectful hard-working military woman and men — I’m just mad is all!)
06:16AM: I’m contemplating taking the law into my own hands as I see a string of cars driving in the emergency lane in my rear view mirror — by swerving into the emergency lane and driving there the same speed as all the other cars — so none of them can pass and have to stick it out like the rest of us!
06:17AM: I decide not to, and the only reason I don’t do it is me saying the following words over and over in my mind: “No, you’re a father, don’t risk it!”
The sad part of this is, me not doing it because I’m a father is the fact that I don’t want to orphin my children — not because I’m worried I get into an accident and die — but because I’m worried that the taxi driver pulls out a gun and kills me.
You may think: Come on, he won’t kill you for just that!!
Think I’m kidding? Here’s a news article about it: https://www.enca.com/south-africa/dad-shoots-motorist-kempton-park-road-rage … and this wasn’t even a disrespectful taxi driver.
Ok — let’s back up here for a second, this isn’t about traffic and bad driving. It’s about the fact that we don’t respect each other any more.
Let’s use another example of respect flying out the window… in the recent (repeated) strikes about the University fees being too high. (Link for context: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/south-africa-fees-must-fall-student-protest-turns-violent-attack-police-journalists-1525361)
Now, I get it — it’s really bad for the poor demographic that want to study, have what it takes mentally, but can’t study because they don’t have the money in order to do so. We all get that, and agree wholeheartedly that it’s an unfair situation.
I think they should protest, and draw attention to their plight! Heck, only good can come from a discussion around this, either we as a society will realize that the university fees are correct and we need to do more, much more, to enable the low/no income person to study, or we realize it’s too high and we need to figure out a constructive way to bring the fees down — again in order to help the people.
What upsets me so much, and saddens me to the core, is that the anger and violence that occurs during these riots. Yes, I called it riots, because the moment you start to damage property and intimidating people it stops being a demonstration and become a riot.
So, the people’s solution to the fees problem, thus, is to burn down half a university.
Is the university suffering from this? NO! They’re not! They have insurance, and frankly most of the lecturers and professors and doctors at the university can easily get another job somewhere else — even abroad — because of their knowledge and expertise in whatever field of study they are in.
Those who are suffering is, in fact, fellow students.
So, let’s put it in a few chronological points:
- Fees are too high (not the students’ fault — we can all agree on that)
- Students want to bring the focus to it, so they decide to strike
- Students also want to study, and have an exam to prep for perhaps
- Students bully and intimidate them to not study
- Students then burn other students’ cars and buildings
- Students suffer
- Students have to quit because they ran out of money to keep paying for university, because they keep failing because of intimidation and disruptions
- Students don’t get jobs
- Students stay poor
- Students have kids, poor kids
- Kids become students
- Students rince and repeat the above action
Why is this happening?
It’s simple: No respect for one-another.
If there was respect on the road, you would stay in traffic and stick it out with your fellow people that’s also stuck in traffic, just trying to get to work and make a living.
If there was respect for your fellow students, you won’t burn the books (yes, really, no jokes — they burnt books!) but you’ll draw the attention of the media to the problem in a constructive manner.
So, I ask: Why do we not respect each other anymore?
In my opinion, the answer is extremely complex, but a big part of it is leadership.
In 1994 South Africa became a Democratic society where we started on a path of fixing the injustices of the past. We were doing pretty good, until the revolutionary party that came into power, realised that power is more important to them than the very people that they tried to help.
And because of that, they stopped leading, and started looting.
Corruption is at the order of the day, lately. And corruption is just another way of staying: “Dear impoverished person of South Africa who voted me into power, screw you, I’ll take your money and buy myself the most expensive car and house I can get my hands on, and party like there’s no tomorrow, and when the time comes that there’s voting to be done again, I’ll blame your current situation on Apartheid, not on the corrupt incompetency of the ANC!”
This, my fellow internet beings, is where a lot of the anger and disrespect for each other starts.
Because, if Jacob Zuma, our president, the person who is supposed to be an example — a leader — to us all can drive a luxury car while there are kids starving to death in our country, then surely it’s not such a bad thing if one drive in the emergency lane while other people are left behind in traffic!
We don’t have it.
We should fight to get it back — but fight with respect, fight with honor.