Of South Africa’s Political Tremors…

courtesy @ ginagallery.com

On April 3rd, 2017, an earthquake measuring 6.4 shook Gaborone in Botswana. The tremors were felt through South Africa and Mozambique.

Being the humorous nation that we are, we were quick to paint the social media with quips that President Zuma is reshuffling the provinces and maybe the whole of SADEC. Others concluded that the late struggle heroes of our country, Mandela, Sisulu, Tambo and Kathrada are starting a new underground political movement.

This comes after the shocking events of the past week where President Zuma announced a midnight cabinet reshuffle, which saw brazen political divisions within the ruling party (ANC). The surprise reshuffle further sent shock waves through out the country, with civil society organizations, opposition parties and trade unions calling for the President to step down even as the rating agency Standard & Poors down-graded the rand to junk status, citing lack of political and institutional stability.

It seems that as the earth moves beneath us, there is also a rattling and shaking of our politics. Others are calling it a crisis and an unraveling of our democracy, while some see it as a moment of renewal.

From my viewpoint, it feels like we are sitting on a runaway horse that needs to be reigned in, lest we find ourselves lost in an unfamiliar place. Where do we want this democracy to take us? We surely need new, honest dialogue about issues that matter the most. These include choosing ethical and visionary leaders, social transformation, building an inclusive economy, curbing corruption and proper governance of our institutions amongst others. Our plate is full and the people’s hope is wearing thin.

We are at a watershed moment where we as citizens are going to have to assert our place in the direction our country is taking. In the sea of competing agendas ravaging our national discourse, what is our own voice and conscience telling us? What tangible actions are we willing to make, lest we find ourselves having sold our souls?

So as others fiercely defend the President and some take to the streets and the courts, declaring a national shutdown, which side of the tectonic plates will we be?

I hope whatever side we choose, it is one that puts the constitution, justice, and human rights first. The collective interests of the people and the future of our country need to take precedence over any political party, factions and personalities.

I navigate the events of this moment singing “Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika”, an anthem that is also a prayer for God to preserve Africa. I have a firm hope that the earth moving beneath us will not swallow us but usher us into a new place that truly affirms our collective dignity, unity and development.

God bless Afrika!

Pearl Pebetse.




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