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Thursday, February 22, 2007

If it bleeds, it leads...

Here starts my Good News series of posts. When I was little and I told my dad I wanted to be a journalist, he would always say that I should break the mould and write only good news, that there was too much bad news already. I'd roll my eyes in that typical pre-teen way, knowing even then that good news doesnt sell. Well, this one's for you, Dad.

There's enough negativity out then, so at least once a month I'm going to post a positive thing about SA. This is not about deny that serious changes need to happen, but rather to be a dissenting voice. I always feel that people choose what is true for them by first listening to the possible views around them, and piecing together their view out of that, in a way that makes sense of the world for them. I'm just adding to the babble.

The below speech really moved me. I was reading this last night, and kept exclaiming "and this is a budget speech? Its so eloquent and moving!"

Extracts from Trevor Manuel's Budget 2007 speech:

We must place at the centre of our daily activities the pursuit of the
goals of social cohesion and human solidarity. We must therefore,
strive to integrate into the national consciousness the value system
contained in the world outlook described as Ubuntu.
We must therefore constantly ask ourselves the question – what is it
in our country that militates against social cohesion and human
solidarity? I believe that none of us present here (tonight) would have
any difficulty in answering this question.
I am therefore certain that we would all agree that to achieve the
social cohesion and human solidarity we seek, we must vigorously
confront the legacy of poverty, racism and sexism. At the same time,
we must persist in our efforts to achieve national reconciliation.

President Mbeki, 4th Nelson Mandela Lecture, July 2006

The foundation of human association is the idea that human life has equal worth
and human beings are equally entitled to political, economic and social rights which
allow them to choose a life they have reason to live

Human life has equal worth…

Motho ke motho, ga ana bosehlana (a human being is a human being, there is no lesser human being)

The idea, that human life has equal worth, and that this is the core value that unites

us, invites us to ask whether we have done enough to give practical effect in South

Africa today to our shared humanity. Have we acted in a manner that shows that

human life has equal worth? Or do we still live in a society where the shadow of

history dominates over the opportunities of an open society.

As our young nation enters its thirteenth year, we have much to be proud of. We

are building a society founded on principles of equality, non-racialism and nonsexism.

We have built institutions of democracy, creating an open society founded

on the rule of law. After stabilising the economy and the public finances, we have

created the conditions for rapid economic growth, job creation and broadening of


Sound management of public finances and the improved tax compliance culture on

which it rests provides us with the resources to invest in our public services, renew

our infrastructure, reshape our residential areas, provide water, electricity, housing,

sanitation, schooling, health care and access roads to millions who were previously

denied these elementary building blocks of modern society. The social grant system

has expanded, hunger is in retreat and vulnerable families are being lifted out of


Yet the idea that human life has equal worth demands more of us. President

Mbeki’s speech at the 4th Nelson Mandela lecture reminds us that……

to achieve the social cohesion and human solidarity we seek, we must

vigorously confront the legacy of poverty, racism and sexism.

Impilo zabantu zixabisa ngokulinganayo (people’s lives have equal value)

Motho ke motho ga ana bosehlana (a human being is a human being, there is no

lesser human being)

Die lewe van alle mense is gelykwaardig (the lives of all people are equal)

President Mbeki has also advised

What this means is that when we talk of a better life for all,

within the context of a shared sense of national unity and

national reconciliation, we must look beyond the undoubtedly

correct economic objectives our nation has set itself.3

When our forebears formed the African National Congress in 1912, in response to

being excluded from the formation of the Union of South Africa, they were driven by

the single-minded belief…Human life has equal worth.

When Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu tabled the 1949 programme of action to

spur more active resistance to discrimination, they believed that Human life has

equal worth.

In 1955, when our parents came together in Kliptown at the Congress of the

People, to proclaim loudly that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and

white; they were united by the belief that human life has equal worth.

In 1983, when we launched the United Democratic Front in Mitchell’s Plain,

hundreds of community organisations said with one voice: Human life has equal


In 1994, when we stood in line and voted as equals in our first democratic elections,

we could feel the mood, and the mood said, ‘Human life has equal worth.

When our constitution was unanimously adopted in this house in 1996, our

declaration to the world was loud and clear, human life has equal worth.

And today, we proclaim loudly…human life has equal worth … and we will be

unwavering in our dedication to the social cohesion and human solidarity that we


1 Will Hutton, The writing on the wall, 2007. P. 204.

3 Fourth Nelson Mandela Lecture


hawk said...


Janty said...

I know - I was blown away by uncle Trevvel's speech. It was really beautifully written - and spoke to a very clear social conscience.

He get's a BIG thumbs-up from my side :)

Kevin Cadman said...

Awesome :) I can't stand the SA negativity bullshit. Seriously, if you don't like it, rather just leave - we don't want you here :)

Katie Possum said...

Well, i guess that's positivity 4: old south africa 0!

Go us!

Katie Possum said...

in case that wasnt clear:
Rainbow Nation= 4 of us positive peeps
Old South Africa= ZERO

Zamboonian said...

"Kevin Cadman said...Awesome :) I can't stand the SA negativity bullshit. Seriously, if you don't like it, rather just leave - we don't want you here :)"


Safety and Security Minstrel - Charles Nacquka... already told me to fuck off... I really don't appreciate it when Whites do the same.

Oh... Kenneth Kahunda of Zambia told me to fuck off in 1973 - and I did.

Oh... Sam Nujoma of Namibia told me to fuck off in 1990 - and I did.

(So... I've been at the receiving end of Black Natiolism (read: racism) for most my life. Current South Africa is no different - it is heading the same way as Zambia and Namibia.)

When looking at the situation that is called the New South Africa - and - looking at it CRITICALLY - it is OBVIOUS that things / daily life experiences are leaning towards the negative. The current batch of politicians are no better than criminals - Tony Yengeni proved that. Will Katie & Kevin toyi-toyi in the streets, when Noble Savage Jacob Zuma become the next President?

To critise any and all who do not seem to hold the New! Improved! South Africa in the same positive light as yourselves is well... unrealistic.

Ignorance is bliss.

Attilathehun said...

Well put Zamboonian--obviously Katie and co have not been around long enough to experience the "realities". Katie - I have a daughter your age, who had the same "hippy-Dr feelgood" attitude. 2 years in a Potch girls Hostel with close proximity to the simian oppressors soon cured her.
We all start off liberal, see the Anti-vietnam protesters, Alan Pattons wife, the bunch who left the country to avoid the "border" etc etc (even me in the 70's).

Fortunately (or unfortunately -whatever floats your boat), the realities of real live rape, robbery, murder and just plain old human shittiness will soon cure you of the liberal affliction. I suspect a rather large part of it is just a youthful coming to terms with the new hormones you are are experiencing.

Katie Possum said...

Zamboonian and Atilathehun:
This is the negativity that you can take away from my beautiful country and keep away. Dont get on your high horses and try justify to me why you left. My family and I live in SA (I'm on a gap year and definitely going home!) today and we have no burglar bars on our windows and dont live in a gated community so dont presume to know anything about the "realities"!

Oh and atila, using phrases like "simian oppressors" make it quite clear that your daughter was influenced by your racism way before she went to potch girls!
I'm not young, I'm not naive, I've experienced life in several countries, and would take south africa over them all. and is that

If you dont have anything constructive to bring to the table, dont come!

Attilathehun said...

As my 5 year old would say to you--"whatever"..six million jews thought Germany was a beautiful country and I'm sure they marched "positively" into the gas chambers admiring the black forest. I'll leave now,never to bother you again. Oh just by the way, my daughter grew up with my ex-wife and was a rabid "liberal"---the Potch girls thing was wholly existential and uninspired by moi.---I hope I never have to tell you "told you so". So what is an "older person" doing on a gap year?-Racism is just another form of bigotry, which you are as guilty of by not being accepting of our prejudice---so my dear, you are an angry prejudiced bigot, same as me. So we are after all no different.

Katie Possum said...

Racism is bigotry! I'm rejecting your racism, and your bigotry! I'm not an angry prejudiced bigot. Your total lack of understanding and logic is amazing!

"Gap year" is just a phrase I used as an easy way to explain that I am over here for the experience and travel not to make a life for myself. This is my gap between university and knuckling down to a career path.

And if your holocaust analogy were to work, white people are not the jews in that story. Black people were systematically discriminated against by the apartheid government. SO dont you dare try play the victim card here!

knorrig said...

Boooo hoo....I also thought Manuel's speech was really moved the contents of my stomach to the toilette!

Grow up Katie girl, GROW UP!

Anonymous said...

Dont you just love it when these Generation-Y youngsters (like Katie) consider themselves experienced ("I'm not young" in her own words!) when they are just out of uni on their gap year...

Yeah Katie. I am sure at the ripe ag of 22/23/24 you can consider yourself "not young" anymore, and definitely experienced!

Oh, the naivety of youth....