Monday, 26 May 2008

The SA 'bubble' divide...

The Xenophobia catastrophe has reminded me once again that there is still a large portion of South African’s living in a bubble [surprise, surprise you say]..well yes and no..

After chatting to people I think that bubble has got bigger because certain sections of the population are ‘shutting down’ from communication and what’s happening around them in order ‘to cope’… How much can people take with the constant reports of corrupt officials, lack of leadership, greed, crime, violence, rape [including children] etc etc. it all seems to have just got too much for some to bear.

Giving, caring and humility has been ‘drummed’ into me my whole life, as I result I have a mindset [according to my mom] of trying to save the world. I have an extreme dislike for violence, unfairness and anything that is inhumane and I have admittedly had a few sleepless nights about the Xenophobia massacres. The whole thing has challenged my constant quest for balance. On one side I get involved and feel I need to be informed but I realize that this also makes me sad and depressed, especially when faced with the detail of the crimes. The other side of me wants to make this all go away [push the ‘undo’ button]. Now I have recently had a new thought emerge..… I understand why some chose to hide in the ‘shut down bubble’. I know that kind of thought process will not help matters but I understand it. Its hard to manage when you have been taught to put yourself in another’s shoes and tap into their pain. So, are we building a country a thick skinned, heartless people? I think not, it has alot to do with survival. The bubble = survival, the ostrich syndrome...you will be familiar with that tactic...we have 'leaders' who teach it well.

What has recently happened in our country is a serious blotch on our human rights record. We cannot take back what has been done and I am finding it harder and harder to find hope and faith knowing we have no Leadership. The future is now an uncertain place. A good friend of mine lives and works in Liberia and she recently gave me sound advice to ‘take a conscious decision not to be discouraged’ as 'South Africa has been through a lot worse'. I suppose it has, but the fact that I live amongst those that think burning people in the street is funny, or bashing old people to death is their right ..etc etc just because they are foreign is a frightening thought]. It does make the rest of the world question [and yes we should ‘care’ about the rest of the world, we need investment, skills, tourism, 2010 etc] whether we are what they thought we were…the Rainbow Nation...the shining light of the ‘dark continent’. One other thing differs, we have less skill to lose now then we did in 1994. We simply cannot afford to not be investing in our future.

No matter what anyone says, the recent events have shown that this time, we are very much part of the ‘pity box’ that is seen as Africa and we clearly don’t have the tolerance or control we should have for our African brothers and sisters or their children. Even when our people [in years gone by], have been hosted by other African countries in their time of need. Someone mentioned the government is to blame for allowing poor communities to be burdened with more poverty. I agree with that, but we as South Africans still have a choice, why such violence? Some people do need to wake up and get involved but we are still grappling with the problem of the ‘emerging world’ meets ‘first world’ conflict in our country with the divide being enormous between rich and poor and having a deaf government just adds to that divide. The 'emerging world' needs help, not more pressure....whilst some in the ‘first world’ look on, living in their bubble in order to ‘cope’ and not feel the pain of their brothers and sisters. Sound familiar…? So I am making attempts to not 'be discouraged’ and retreat to the 'safety' of the bubble. I know we need to work hard to fix the pain otherwise very soon we could all be burning in the streets [lets hope that never happens]…So try leave the bubble and help us try save SA from itself, the fight is worth it.

Thanks Zapiro for another 100% interpretation of recent events:

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