Hello, my Freaky Darlings!
Last week most South Africans and I were proud of our country and what we, as a people, stood for. The rule of law was being upheld, and the man responsible for State Capture and the looting of the State Coffers was finally being held accountable for his actions. But then the shit hit the proverbial fan. This week has seen riots, looting, and anarchy spreading across the country. Food distribution centres were looted, emptied and burned. Our main oil refinery was shut down with a declaration of a force majeure. Over 100 cell towers were hit. Even a radio station was looted and forced off the air. Not to mention the thousands of shopping malls that were looted and destroyed. The destruction amounts to billions of Rands. Thousands of jobs have been lost. The future looks uncertain, and our economy is heading towards a black hole that we might not be able to recover from. Not to mention the impact this will have on the spread of Covid and the strain on our already over-filled hospitals.
As we try to figure out what the fuck just happened, a few theories are emerging. Some people are screaming that it was a coup attempt by the former thief in chief and his cronies trying desperately to cling to power and stay out of jail because, let’s face it, if the country is in chaos, the rule of law is one of the first things to fly out the window and with it goes justice. If there is no justice system to hold them to account, they can continue to act with impunity. Others think it has more to do with Covid and the desperation caused by harsh lockdown restrictions and the systemic inequality plaguing the country for longer than we can remember. I, personally, think it’s all of the above and far more complicated, as is our country. South Africa has been a powder keg waiting for a match for a long time. According to the latest news, all it took was twelve armchair warriors with very little to lose to stoke the flames of a desperate people. Once it started, more desperate people decided it looked like a whole lot of fun and got in on the action. If you have nothing and see others helping themselves to a whole lot and the cops who are supposed to stop you from committing crimes are right there with you helping themselves, why not? What is there really to lose? When you’re starving, and your family is starving, right and wrong gets a little hazy. An empty stomach has no conscience.
So now we’re trying to pick up the pieces of a devastated and broken country. After a week of insanity, there are a few bright lights at the end of a long dark tunnel—people from all walks of life are holding hands and cleaning up the mess. People are reaching across the divide to help each other. Help has come from unexpected quarters – Gangsters and taxi drivers have stood up to looters and protected property from being destroyed, and with that, they’ve saved jobs and lively hoods. If I were a more cynical person, I would probably ask how much were they paid to protect and serve? But today, I’m going to try and believe in people’s better nature despite what I’ve witnessed this last week.
Thousands of people have been arrested, and at least one of the instigators will be seeing the inside of a court of law soon while the hunt goes on for the other eleven. I only hope that Zuma, the former thief in chief, stays behind bars where he belongs. And that his children who fanned the flames on social media from the safety and comfort of their luxurious homes are held to account for their actions.
Only time will tell what the toll of this week’s destruction and anarchy will bring. We can also not be sure that it’s over. Was this just the beginning? Will the anarchy and destruction continue? Fuck! I hope not.
Anyway … while you’re sitting in your most comfy chair reading a book and sipping your favourite adult beverage, spare a thought for South Africa and its people who have a lot of shit to figure out.
Thank you for being a Freaky Darling!