The People Shall Share – or Not!

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.

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About Tselane Tambo

I share myself in these desultory ramblings. It’s my thoughts and memories; some anecdotes and opinions. It’s an accidental autobiography. When you’ve meandered through these pages you’ll be within reach of a little piece of me. Thank you for dropping by.
This entry was posted in Nocturnal Ramblings of a Mind Unplugged. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The People Shall Share – or Not!

  1. Rose Morrow says:

    The entire scenario is utterly shameful, tragic and terribly frightening. Is this really a strike or low key civil war?

    To be honest, I have been mildly frightened since the run up to Polokwane and the disastrously fragmenting results of that ANC Conference. The vile hatred, disrespect and taunting was called `’robust debate”, the throwing of chairs “youthful exuberance” and the burning of shirts bearing President Mbeki’s image hardly elicited comment from ANC elders in the opposite camp. Thereafter violence and destruction mars most strikes, protests and many political meetings and it has continued to escalate at an alarming rate, culminating in this horrific event at the mine. This dynamic is occasioned by a searing lack of leadership, a blinding absence of ethics, common decency and moral integrity in Government, the ANC, Unions and business. There are brilliant but far too few exceptions.

    We should be frightened because despite the obvious abject poverty around us too many of the “have’s”, it seems, cannot get their hands on enough stuff, live in obscene opulence and will not share even though their lives literally depend on doing so. There is a Tsunami rushing up and we are trying to ward it off with sandbags. We do too much talking and not enough action – is it really necessary to have four different groups investigating the book saga – give the children their books for God’s sake and talk afterwards…. talk, talk, talk and more talk. For God’s sake let’s start genuine sharing, paying dignified wages, taking less profit, put a sealing on executive and top management salaries until the earnings gap has been substantially narrowed….. give the people building materials and professional teams to assist and let them build their own homes – they are unemployed and poor not stupid or incapable. Turn one third of South African schools into non academic institutions with the emphasis on entrepreneurial and practical/mechanical outcome. Let our school leavers walk into the world with the building blocks for a career. Why the hell are we forcing all our children through academic courses when more than half are not at all academic. Of course all people need to read and write fluently – of course they need basic maths – but not everyone has academic ability – why demoralize them by forcing pure academics down their throats. There is more to life than academics and we should not worship at its altar.

    God help us…….really!

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