When I was a 12 and 13 yr old one my favourite things to wear was my Dad’s jerseys. He was always away travelling, and they sat, ignored, languishing in his wardrobe. Those jerseys were perfect on me. They were too big, which I loved and they hung down to my thighs, which I loved and they were thick wool or cashmere, which I loved and they usually had the scent of Daddy on them, which I loved. All in all I loved wearing Daddy’s jerseys. I made them look good too. I wore them with skinny jeans and ballet flats, 50’s style.
The Mrs used to get really mad at me for wearing Daddy’s clothes, but I would remind her that, “the people shall share”. Mrs complained to Daddy that when he was away I wore his jerseys and when he confronted me about it I argued with him, “But Daddy, the people shall share”. The wealth of the land, or the wealth of the wardrobe; it was all the same to me. And so it was that Daddy and I agreed to share those of his jerseys that The Mrs deemed fit for sharing. They were no longer his jerseys. They became our jerseys. Daddy’s acceding notwithstanding, there were some jerseys; I’m now inclined to think of them as the platinum jerseys, the really expensive ones, for which I, ‘the people’, was not equal enough. Mrs was adamant that there would be no sharing in those no matter what Daddy or the Freedom Charter said.
I was telling this little anecdote about the jerseys to The Lavah, this morning over breakfast. For reasons that only the vagaries of my own mind can fathom I was reminded of it by the events at Marikana. I know. It makes no sense; but there it is.
The People Shall Share In The Wealth Of The Land. I spent the weekend watching ‘the people’ being mowed down by police for daring to want their share; for daring to protest against the fact that for going down into the depths of the earth to mine the land they were paid a slaves wage.
“The People Shall Share In The Wealth Of The Land”. Surely, that platinum is ‘the wealth of the land’. Surely their share in the wealth should be, at the very least, a decent wage. Look R12 500 won’t buy them any platinum, but it will give them a better life. Oh, wait, “A Better Life For All”. Where have I heard that before? It seems that ‘a better life’ is just so much rhetoric.
I am scared. I’m scared of what will happen next. Is this the last time we kill our people for acting on their constitutionally enshrined right to protest? Is this the beginning of our regression into our past? The Marikana massacre looked frighteningly like our past. Are the lives of those who bring the wealth of the land from it’s depths to it’s surface and make us one of the wealthiest countries on the continent not more valuable than the product that they mine? I’m very worried about South Africa. Mahommed Bouazizi is the self-immolator who started the Tunisian uprising. Will these miners be our Mohammed Bouazizi? What will injustice and anger not make men do?
The People Shall Share………………. I guess there are some jerseys for which they are also not equal enough and no matter who says what, they will not share in those.