If you are reading this article looking for hope or a positive answer to why one should be proudly South African, I am sad to say that you won’t find it. At the end of this article, I present some reasons for hope. And they are the reasons I stay in this country, and the reason I haven’t receded completely into individualist survival and escapism. But, the majority of this article will not be reasons for hope.
This is a letter to those who thought Ramaphosa would save us. This is a letter to those who thought Zuma was the source of all wrong in this country. This is a letter to those who have read my other rage-filled articles and are still not convinced. And, most of all, this is a letter to people who are proud of a country that I don’t think should exist.
When I see someone spout patriotism for South Africa, I get angry and I get sad. I pity them. For if one is proudly South African, they must be blind and stupid. And before you get angry at me (when you should be angry at South Africa), ask yourself this simple question.
What is there to be proud of?
What is there to be proud of? That we ended Apartheid? Apartheid happened to begin with! That we had Mandela? A half-way decent leader who is dead now. That we haven’t all killed each other yet? Normal countries consider that a minimum requirement, not something to be proud of.
Our mavericks and heroes are scorned and leave. Elon Musk, possibly one of our greatest living children, resents us. Our businessmen look to other shores. Malema screams that white people aren’t investing in the country, ignoring the fact that it is his desired policies chasing away investors of all races. And on that note: Malema resembles a Stalin or Hitler more and more every day, yet there are people from educated backgrounds that still support him. Among them are probably the same people who lie to themselves and pretend that it is right to be proudly South African.
Over the past few days, we as a country have faced headlines that are pretty commonplace in this godforsaken hellscape. Rape after rape. Brutal and arbitrary murders. Kidnapping. Armed robberies tearing our flimsy commerce apart. And xenophobic attacks reminiscent of the Kristallnacht.
Why do we have so much xenophobia? What is there to protect from foreigners? From what I can see, foreign Africans have much more to add to this country than our locals. It is locals who voted us into socialistic hell. It is locals in the unions preventing our education from being fixed, and our unemployment from shrinking. It is locals who caused Apartheid. It is locals who committed unforgivable acts of terrorism while lying to themselves that they were fighting Apartheid.
The worst that some foreigners are doing is imitating local criminals. The majority are working hard. Harder than the lazy, welfare-sniffling hordes that keep voting us further and further into the abyss.
Sure, Nigerian cartels are a problem. But they are businessmen. They don’t commit violence arbitrarily. They do it to protect their interests. There is reason in their actions! And their enterprise will disappear overnight were this government to do the only common-sense thing: Decriminalise the drug trade completely.
Can South African gangs and criminals say the same about having reasons (even criminal reasons) for their actions?
Why murder the unarmed old lady that you’re robbing? Why rape the child? Why kill when you mug when the victim won’t do anything? Why torture the farmer?
There is a rot inside the soul of this country. Our criminals aren’t simple criminals: The violence is too random and arbitrary for that. They have no human decency. They’re monsters. And we need to treat them like that.
Over the past few days, even the biggest optimists in this country are admitting that something is wrong. They are fearing for their lives as those paying attention have been fearing for years.
If you’ve been optimistic and aren’t anymore, you finally realise what’s at stake. We aren’t going to vote ourselves out of this hell. Ramaphosa won’t save us. He’s a part of the disease.
Most of all, if you’ve been proud to be South African, I want to know why.
Why be proud of a fake country, forced together by colonialists after they put a large amount of people in concentration camps?
We shouldn’t be one country. We should be many. I actually feel that we’d get along better if we had the choice to be in our own states. Good fences make good neighbours, and all that.
But it isn’t the orthodoxy to split up colonised nations – no matter how much they need to be split up.
Even with that being so, the fact that we’re a cobbled-together hodgepodge of groups (both inter- and intra-group) who hate each other, should be reason enough to not believe in South Africa. Our proudest moments are forgotten tragedies and compromises. Our greatest people are dead, ashamed, or have renounced us.
I would be prouder of living in the dystopian fantasy South Africa featured in my books.
My editor asked me to give reasons for hope and while I am currently a rage-fuelled pessimist, I must oblige.
There are reasons to remain in South Africa. And to fight for it. But not for some abstract idea of a country. I fight for a better South Africa for those in it, not because I’m patriotic towards a pseudo-state.
There are still organisations fighting for a better South Africa. The key to saving this country are in our civil society organisations standing up to government and socialists and proposing proper solutions to this country’s problems. The Institute of Race Relations, Free Market Foundation, AfriForum, Progress SA and Rational Standard rank chiefly among them.
The fact that people are coming to distrust the government more and more is also a sign for hope. The government won’t save us. Rather, it is one of the primary villains. The sooner we all realise this, the better. And South Africans are starting to realise this. That’s something to be optimistic about, at least.
The biggest cause for hope, however, is that I truly believe this country can be saved. A free market, localised policing, decentralisation, the securing of property rights, and a number of other policy positions would do wonders to put this country on the right path.
And no, the death penalty is not a solution. I don’t trust the police and the government to not rob me blind. Do I really want to give them the right to kill people?
We need to defend ourselves. The police aren’t going to help us. Many of them are so deeply entrenched in their corruption that they may as well be the enemy.
If you are unwilling to defend yourself, you are a part of the problem. It is up to all of us to defend ourselves and each other. We can’t rely on the police. So, it is up to us to get armed, get trained, and take the responsibility of protecting ourselves into our own hands.
No more cowardly hiding behind a corrupt state that doesn’t care about us. The lives of our loved ones are our own to protect.
There is hope, if not pride, in this country. But it won’t save itself. We need the guts to fight for it. And it starts with taking responsibility for your own protection. And most importantly: Realising the government is the enemy alongside the criminal scum. We’re on our own. Maybe then we can sincerely say that we are proudly South African.