South Africa is broken. But this isn’t a rant.

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The high levels of crime and unemployment in South Africa are actually telling a story that the average person doesn’t understand. 

Let’s start here by trying to understand that people do what they do for a reason.
Healthy people long for unity, and they do what they can to help others grow. Hurt people are the ones that hurt other people. When a country averages 60 murders a day, it tells me that there is an underlying pain that has not been healed.
 
Many people point out that poverty drives crime levels up dramatically. I totally agree, but I have been to other countries where people are incredibly poor. They experience petty theft, but they don’t experience 60 violent murders a day.
Like I said, this is not a rant. I’m just trying to get to the root cause of what’s going on, and I’m trying to bring you along for the ride.

SORRY. NOT SORRY.

So many people think that we abolished apartheid in 1994, but you don’t wash away decades of pain and suffering by simply saying, “Sorry people of colour, the law will no longer see you as inferior. Are we all good now?”
 
Try understand, I am not justifying crime in any way. But I don’t think we take enough time to understand WHY we have the problems that we have in this country. Also, division and frustration impact everyone. So things have become very complicated.
I think there are many problems in South Africa but for the sake of keeping this post as short as possible, I’d like to highlight two of them:

1. WE HAVE NOT HEALED AS A NATION!

The masses in this country were oppressed for so long. And yet, 26 years into our so-called democracy, they still don’t feel heard or acknowledged. They are constantly told to get over it and move on.
 
But these are broken people who feel like they don’t belong anywhere because the system still works against them. You just have to spend one day in their shoes, and you might get a glimpse of what I’m talking about. But most of us wouldn’t dare set foot in a place like Alex or Thembisa. And for good reason.
 
When people feel that complete level of disconnect, they resort to crazy thoughts and actions that most of us can’t understand. It’s similar to when people commit suicide. It’s not rational to do this, but it’s what people do when they are in pain!
 
Also, over the years, we’ve had a tendency of throwing money at the problem but that just fills broken people’s stomachs momentarily, it doesn’t heal their hearts.
 
Again, I know the situation is complex, but I think we would do well by having empathy, and just listen. It takes a special person to remove the emotion, and see why other people are doing what they’re doing.
 
Again, I’m not justifying crime and so many innocent people have been affected by horrific crime over the last 26 years. If my parents’ house was broken into and my mother was murdered in cold blood, there would be much you could say to me either to listen and be patient.
 
But again, I’m just trying to get to the root cause of why we are so broken as a nation. And that’s when I’m reminded, hurt people are the ones that hurt other people. Say what you like, but there’s no getting away from that.

2. WHEN WILL THE ANC BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE?

This country has no genuine leadership. The ANC will do anything and everything but take responsibility or do the work needed. Imagine the ANC tackled crime and unemployment the same way they tackled COVID, or banning alcohol, golf and hair dressing salons? But of course, that’s not their style. They are much more focused on another type of investment.
 
Herman Mashaba wrote something the other day that really resonated with me:
 
“I see Jessie Duarte says the economy still in the hands of those who controlled it before democracy. Let us really be honest with ourselves. Who has been running this government for 26 years?
 
Since 1994 your focus has been looting the public purse, not serving society. Please, do not insult us!
 
The bottom line: if the ANC had put as much energy into uplifting black South Africans as they’ve put into looting the public purse, our society wouldn’t be the MOST UNEQUAL in the world 26 years into democracy.
 
The ANC had an opportunity in 1994, but decided to serve their stomach, not the people.”
If you read the spirit in which I’ve written this article, then you will hear me when I say, this isn’t a colour thing. This is me pointing to the facts. The ANC are completely complicit in this mess.

THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET

Even I am not so presumptuous to think I have all the answers. But I do understand two very simple principles:

1. If we can’t even get to the point that we understand what the issues are, we will never be able to fix things.

2. The only hope we have of healing this nation, and making South Africa a great nation, is if the average person on the street listens more, and does what they can to help people move forward.

There are so many good people in this country who are doing their best to grow South Africa on every level. We would do well to direct our energy toward these people, and join in on their efforts.

In a way, it could be growth by a thousand empathetic actions. Or it will be death by a thousand cuts. I know where I’m focusing my energy. Do you?

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