THE TOUGH choice of announcing a preferred leader by
provinces of the ruling party ahead of their Mangaung conference is not as
simple as one may think on the sideline.
Selecting perceived values and principles that align with
your own, and seemingly oppose that of the other side, requires careful
consideration. Give the provincial leaders time to come to terms with the
responsibility a nation of over 50 million place on them, a group of about 4
000 fellow, yet equal citizens.
While the menu is being prepared for the various future
possibilities of the political palette, now may be a good time to think for a
moment of the way we let others shape us.
With her story of being a restaurant waitress a mere five
years ago, and now raising millions of ‘monsters’ to their feet on every corner
of the globe, Lady Gaga got her Cape Town audience to stay to the end – and two
more encore songs. A miracle in many ways.
You may be unfamiliar with the Cape tendency to leave early
at shows, matches or other events. It could be to avoid traffic. It may also be
to stop on the way home for a last-minute surf, or to be in time for the late
news bulletin. It remains a mystery to me. Whatever the reason, it is one of
those annoying little things that people love to do – and then love to talk
about. I digress.
Announcing that she is not a 'creature of your government,
South Africa' and then declares philosophically that ‘I am you,’ the Lady with
32 million Twitter followers managed to shake over 50 000 people into
zombie-like believers. For a moment, some started planning their outfits for
her inauguration and visualised a garden party at Nkandla.
Her short sentences, filled with promises to make our lives
simpler – and by all accounts more fashionable – seemed to resonate well. The
crowd seemed exhausted from a year of justifying why they love living in Cape
Town, tired of explaining if they are black or white, and unsure if Obama is
Can you blame them? The year of 2012: marred by the misery
of miners, a mansion in a mountain, misogynists who mutilate, Malema and
mothballed textbooks in a warehouse. (Click here to vote for your newsmaker of the year)
The promise of a shift in consciousness that can reset the
minds of earthlings at the end of 2012 is perfectly timed. The mirror we hold
up at the end of any year, perhaps a bit more achievable for some.
I know I need a long, hard stare at one of our beautiful
scenic spots. A mountain (a world wonder or otherwise). A crushing wave. My dog
Ben, or a productive golden mine heap. Passersby at my new favourite coffee
spot in Khayelitsha. Any of the above.
I need to be reminded that my view cannot only be formed by
those who appear to destroy it, even if only in my mind.
When the Lady arrived on stage with our bright rainbow flag
knotted into one of her many outfits, I got worried that I did not feel the
usual rise and tingle of pride I get when I see it in unfamiliar spots.
That usual feeling when I stop and stare and salute my
fellow, yet equal citizens, for the privilege of sharing this soil. It was lost
for a moment.
My walk home afterwards gave me perspective on what drives
my patriotic joys.
The view of the Cape Town Stadium over my shoulder became
the symbol for how I suspect we treat ourselves. While it offers us joy, global
acclaim and new breath to a previously dark side of the city, it continues to
fight for a reason to exist. We build ourselves up spectacularly, and then use
everything possible to chop it down.
Surely the way forward is upwards, not downwards or
If we can build stadiums, we can negotiate better lives for
farm workers. If we can build mansions in the misty hills of KwaZulu Natal, we
deserve a careful consideration of who gets to stay in it.
Adriaan is keeping a firm eye on Twitter as @aiBester as he
awaits early signs of a raised earthly conscious in about two weeks.