The Real South Africa

I have no idea what is happening on TV’s around the world, but here in South Africa – naturally – all other media and news is secondary to Mandela related events, which seem to be getting more and more negative by the minute. Let’s quantify, shall we, a few of the things that have been experienced in the last 24 hours

– Ours is a country which could not start the most historic memorial service of our era on time, resulting in many of the international news agencies having to make up content to keep their viewers tuned in.
– Our president has been boo’d at an event that deserved the highest level of respect and dignity
– International news agencies have apologised to their viewers for the shoddy sound and video footage. The feed was given to them by the SABC.
– Jacob Zuma’s speech has been likened to a Wikipedia article. Factual, unemotive, uninspiring and boring. This is direct contrast to that of Obama’s.
– A fake sign language interpreter was placed on the most watched stage in the world, making a mockery of the deaf people not only in South Africa, but in the world.

No doubt, more negative aspects will be revealed in the next while, begging the question: for how long do we defend our country before we have to admit that what the world sees is not far from the truth. We are a people who have no sense of the appropriate, who cannot be at home among the worlds greatest nations, and who are our own worst enemies.

The memorial service is not my only experience of this.

My experience at SA Idols this year was horrible. Week after week I sat amongst 6000 people who screamed and danced while people (the judges, mostly) were speaking; who blatantly ignored instructions to remain seated because they were blocking the cameras; who boo’d when contestants were declared ‘safe’ for another week, and who left the auditorium halfway through a live tv recording because their favourite had finished singing.

I am not negative by nature. I love elements of our country. But I do think it is time we get real about who we (and by that I mean the majority of South Africans) are. I don’t see it improving, so at least if we admit it, we can come to terms with it.

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