Business

Friends & Friction: End the fighting and believe in dreams

2019-07-11 22:43

The struggle continues in our heads. It has moved from the streets to the boardrooms.

As the economy shrinks and the resources become scarcer, South Africans do what they know best – they fight among themselves.

This fight has no clear objective and so has no end. Every word, every action and every thought that is enunciated is scrutinised along factional lines.

The factions themselves are undefinable, they have no philosophy and the proponents will ingest anything as long as it is convenient at the time, and discard the principle if it is found to be a minor inconvenience.

This is no way to build a nation.

The rainbow glue that once held this country together and created a magnificent nation that was once the envy of the world has become a matter of ridicule. Disclosure: I am an unapologetic Pan-Africanist, and inherently believe in the faultless words of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe’s teachings that there is only one race – the human race.

“Here is a tree,” Sobukwe said at the inaugural convention of Africanists, “rooted in African soil, nourished with waters from the rivers of Afrika.” Sobukwe was against what he called “South African exceptionalism” – the view that South Africa could solve its own problems to the exclusion of the rest of the continent.

Today, this exceptionalism is manifesting itself as xenophobia, which is a repulsive blemish on the face of our nation.

It is easy to look at xenophobia in isolation; to blame the foreign immigrants from poorer countries where people are of a darker shade.

In so doing, South Africans are acquitting themselves of their own crimes.

In their own minds, South Africans are exceptional and their problems are always caused by someone else. White people think they’d be rich had it not been for the taxes that they pay, completely ignorant of the fact that they are a minority and that every person in the country pays VAT, PAYE, transfer duties and all sorts of strangling taxes that government imposes.

They are deliberately oblivious to the fact that the biggest investor on the JSE, the Public Investment Corporation, is investing on behalf of civil servants, most of whom are black, and so the companies that are white-managed are in fact owned by the very black people they discriminate against.

Black people, on the other hand, think all their ills are caused by white people, and that President Cyril Ramaphosa is the ambassador of white interests.

The president seems to think that our country would be fine had it not been for “the wasted 10 years” under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

Blame is like raw sewage running down the street – no one wants to accept that his piece is also there.

So what do we do now? How do we rescue ourselves from the crevice of defeat?

Bring on The Matamela Express, the bullet train of progress to the new smart city as envisaged by Ramaphosa in his state of the nation address last month.

Many seem to oppose the president’s dream.

They must be the same people who would have told Henry Ford: “Don’t give us cars! Give us faster horses!”

And to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, they would have said: “Don’t give us the internet! Give us faster telegrams!”

At a personal level, South Africans need to come out of the suicidal paradigm of resistance, and create a new framework of progress and coexistence.

When you are busy digging the grave of anger, you miss the special opportunity for prosperity and happiness.

When you allow the turmoil of hate to rip through your mind and see evil in all that you survey, you lose faith in humanity and, worst of all, you lose faith in yourself.

It’s time to end all hostilities among our own countrymen, women and neighbours, and build a prosperous country for all.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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July 21 2019