Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Meanwhile in South Africa

So we're all nice and giddy that Obama (aka the good guys) won, but at the same time, history is taking a giant step back in the Rainbow Nation. The election of Jacob Zuma has caused the ANC to split, and the political war between these former allies is seemingly sucking up all the energy that should be going into solving South Africa's very serious and numerous problems.

It's been over fourteen years since majority rule was established and South-Africa freed itself from the shackles of apartheid. The country has been triumphant in many ways. Its people were able to forgive the unforgivable and establish a sense of unity amongst very recent combatants. South Africa has become a shining example for the other countries on the African continent, but there is still a long way to go. After all this time its painfully obvious to everyone that the rich are stil rich, and the poor are becoming ever more desperate. The still fresh wound of history and the growing unrest about this giant gap between the haves and the have nots, combined with fear and frustration about the impossibly high crime and Aids numbers, have created an atmosphere where a controversial figure like Jacob Zuma could rise to power. And that doesn't predict much good for South-Africa's future.

Zuma is a man who has stood trial for rape and several times for corruption. Who believed that a shower afterwards meant sufficient Aids prevention. Who claims that the ANC is chosen by god to rule 'his' country until the second coming of Christ, and who cannot separate his religious beliefs from his responsibilities as leader of the (secular!) African National Congress. This is the man who inspires the ANC Youth League, an ever louder voice on the rapidly desintegrating political stage. A stage where the (unintentional) "farce" seems to be the performance of choice.

It probably needs to get worse before it can get better, but let's hope they can pull a Nelson once more and prove to all of us that "Yes they can" as well...

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