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We must dream, not recycle old ministers

Mar 04 2018 06:00
Muzi Kuzwayo

"Dust to dust,” read a bumper sticker on a battered blue car, “God recycles, and so should you.”

The message would have been benign had the car not been passing through the gates of Westpark Cemetery.

This bumper sticker is unwittingly telling of the South African psyche right now.

The government is recycling leaders who are better off dead in the back benches of life, which is a sign of a nation that has little confidence in itself, and even less confidence in its future.

Martin Luther King Jr didn’t inspire the civil rights movement by saying, “I have a plan. The National Development Plan.” He told the world about his dream, because dreams inspire.

While his life was hanging in the balance, our very own president Nelson Mandela found strength in the ideal for which he was prepared to die, and the world glorified him as a result.

It is dreams, myths and ideals that hold everything together, even when nothing goes according to plan.

South Africa has forgotten her dreams, myths and ideals, choosing instead to be consumed by men who are so greedy that, if you gave them a landfill of money, they wouldn’t burp until they had sucked all of it up with their snouts.

Have you not seen the mass jubilation that comes with the fall of prominent people? It is as if the thud that comes with the collapse will shoot us upwards.

Void of dreams, the nation has been gripped by a great national insecurity and has turned into a lynch mob.

This hysteria, which has been masked as a fight against corruption, has led to the massive disregard for the Constitution, which, to paraphrase the late Judge Arthur Chaskalson, is supposed to protect all of us, including both the weakest and the worst among us.

“The evil that men do lives after them,” orated Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Many years ago, one of our neighbours died. As visitors came – fellow churchgoers, society members – to sing, pray, and pay their respects to the deceased and console the living, the widow leaned over to one of the mourners and said, “Iyo, makhi, kodwa ngiphumulile!” meaning, “Phew, neighbour, what a reprieve!”

On the day of the funeral, as the reverend read, “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” the widow whispered, “Yebo, Baba; udodi edodini, man! [Indeed, Father; rubbish to rubbish!]”

No one has the right to instruct people who are in mourning how to deal with their pain, and South Africa has been through a lot of pain, but, as the widow showed, there is no need to capitulate to hysterics.

The deep and true character of the person is not revealed in good times, but only when the stakes are high and the need for civility is low.

It is at times like these that the Constitution and the right to dignity for all is likely to be tossed out the window.

At the moment, many innocent business executives in the corporate world and state-owned entities are being hounded and harassed without due and proper cause.

All you have to do is stand and point at someone and shout “Gupta stooge!” and the burning begins. It is the modern version of “Spy!”

Let the commission on state capture begin; let everyone help it, and let no one hinder it. In its machinations, let us remember the wisdom of Arthur Chaskalson, of holding everyone innocent until proven guilty, while also protecting the dignity of the weakest and the worst among us; otherwise, we might as well bury our nation with lawless states.

* Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

* SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.

muzi kuzwayo  |  sa politics  |  opinion
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