Marikana: where to from here, South Africa?

ImageThe massacre, the tragedy, the brutality, the unfairness – so much has been written and spoken about Marikana already. Like many, I too am trying to make sense of it all. What is it about our country? The minute we think we have hit rock bottom, we find new ways to sink even deeper! Something needs to change and I sense it’s already beginning.

South Africans leading themselves

“Opinionista” Paul Berkowitz is definitely onto something.

He draws parallels between Marikana and problems in Yeoville Bellevue, the suburb in which he lives. Both situations lead one to believe our social institutions are failing. In Yeoville though, active citizens are taking it upon themselves to better their lives. We have many tough questions to ask and many challenges to face but he is clear about one thing: “If we want to live in a better society then we’re going to have to take a leaf out of my neighbours’ book and build it ourselves.”

Social Change

I came across the wonderful Citizens Movement the other night. This group comprises some of the most remarkable souls South Africa has produced. They participated in the Dinokeng Scenarios in 2008. They have decided that the time for dreaming is over. It’s time for all of us to roll up our sleeves, become active citizens and start creating the South Africa that all of us deserve.

Job Creation

South Africa has the worst distribution of wealth compared to any other country in the world!  Take a minute and think about it. Apartheid is over people – we’re supposed to be a democracy, where people live freely and equally. So what are we doing to address this?

Well, Herman Mashaba is certainly not sitting around idly.The founder of Black Like Me has remarkably refreshing insights. He too recognises the fact that we need to start creating jobs if we are going to lift the majority of our citizens from the clutches of poverty. To do that, he proposes that we start being entrepreneurial.  Yes, Mashaba (like many of us) blames the current ANC government and their greed for our current situation, but he (unlike many of us) wants to do something about it. He is now the chairperson of the Free Market Foundation.Mashaba is taking his message to anyone who will listen. His message: loosen our labour markets and job creation will follow.

South Africa will (must) change

Call me the eternal optimist but I think South Africans are beginning to recognise the fact that we have to wake up and smell the cappuccino. If social networking sites and online media are anything to go by, Saffas understand that we have to start leading ourselves, because our leadership is about as useful as the one armed trapeze artist with the itchy backside!

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