My travels around town exhausted me. Here – two women, half naked, with faces distorted and swollen by cheap alcohol. There – a man with no limbs. To my right, a car-guard who walked from Rwanda. On the left – a mother pimping her child, shames motorists into giving more. Up ahead: Big Issue sellers, joke retailers, roadside florists, avocado pear merchants, strawberry salesmen.
I'm worn out. Nothing I do can fix this. I'm fresh out of change.
But somebody's got tin. Graft, thievery, gravy-trainism, private and Presidential family-enrichment, cronyism… go on. And on. Constantly questioned by the media. Never answered by the ANC.
It's become a national joke. Even showing up in a radio advertisement:
Politico: “Comrades – We must nationalise the mines.
Comrades: “Yes. Yeah. Yebo. Yeah Man.”
“We must limit the media.
Yes. Yeah, Yebo. Yeah Man!
And Comrades – we must share the wealth.
Aiiie, Suga, man, it's our wealth. Now you are going too far.”
A friend tells of being threatened on his tomato farm – “give me half and I will allow you to stay on the land”; his price for refusal – poisoned water holes.
Another mourns the loss of a pineapple farm. His local councillor, when refused a 'free' 50% share of the farm – simply dug up the access roads . Halting the farm trucks. Sending 348 people – workers and their families, flocking to the nearest traffic lights.
Gareth Cliff, a South African DJ, wrote an open letter on his blog to President Jacob Zuma this week (www.garethcliff.com/ Dear Government). He wants to know how things have gone so wrong. Gareth is blunt, he is pissed off and he is right. He calls JZ and his Crew out on a range of issues. Which, according to the angry many, makes him a racist. Because Gareth is white.
I can't look up from my steering wheel anymore but I'm afraid to look down . The depth of this bullshit gives me vertigo.