Arnold Toynbee - one of the brightest historians of modern times, as well as being a great lover of Africa - wrote that the world advances to the precipice of disaster, but never goes over it.
Sounds familiar? So it must seem to many a South African as we face another national election with fear and continual voices of doom among the palefaces.
Well, I ain’t a light in the darkness, but I would counsel against the misery of the Jeremiahs.
Looking back in our history, we have probably hit the precipice more often than most. Yet again, with a backward glance of 30 years: what country built on so much blood has conducted such a bloodless political revolution?
And where are we today? Sure, we have seen the collapse of our great and once well-run institutions in a manner that has been staggeringly rapid, with graft and theft of the lifeblood of these national institutions.
To say nothing about nearly becoming a colony of India…
But switching on your TV, it’s the ruling party that pursues and reveals through well-publicised inquiries, what will end up in prosecutions in the courts.
Unfortunately, as fast as they hit the constitutional court, they are thrown back into the street. Where do they get all the money for the legal fees?
Now let us look at the quality of our human wealth, at their aspirations and ambitions. Is it not better to look at the glass half full (depending on what’s in it) and strive to give back to a country that has given us so much?
We are an incredibly resourceful people, with an energy unmatched anywhere. Is packing up and leaving worth it in the end?
My family motto is ‘out of order comes forth chaos’, but the reverse today is true.
If we should want an example of faith in the future, next time you drive to Cape Town, check the new planting of citrus orchards under shade cloth. Now that surely is long-term hope.
There are straws in the wind. It may not yet be a haystack in a gale, but this is Africa and we all know there is nowhere like it.
We are a nation that is under-consumed, under-produced, and over-endowed and there, my lord, I rest my case.
PS: ‘On the precipice again’ - sounds a like bit like Willy Nelson, non?
Paul Deans, Plett