The views expressed in this blog are of the author only, who is not a direct employee of Houghton House. This blog is about his experiences and perceptions in the course of his life, and should not be construed as being the opinion or stance of Houghton House, especially on matters relating to politics.
My left hand is sore. Last week, I had an incision to release a compressed nerve causing carpal tunnel syndrome. I can’t wait to drive again, but for now I’m being driven miss daisy.
Obviously, (obvious), it’s Uber. I totes heart Uber. The most convenient way to get going when your hand won’t work a steering wheel. So, being the sort that loves making conversation with random South Africans, I chat to the drivers every ride I get. And it’s been a bit A to Z. I’ve been staying with family, who’ve been making sure I get the assistance I need.
But I seriously miss my cats, so I’ve Ubered to see them since Saturday past. It’s a mission navigating everything from stairs to keys in doors, and it’s sobering to have kindly drivers go out of their way to assist you. Even making sure you get through the door without being floored.
They are salt-of-the-earth, these fellows. And my favourite topic of conversation with them is: Zuma. We talk about the edge-of-your-seat day that Zuma finally resigned; it came at 10:40something last Valentine’s Day. I had passed out on the couch, as that was the day of the op. Anaesthetic and nerve-blocker and anti-inflammatory in me together with my body adjusting to physical trauma…
I came to when Superman’s theme music blared on my cellphone. I missed the call from my cousin, but he WhatsApped me mere moments after. I saw the message flash on the screen: “He’s resigned.”
I’ve not felt so desperately happy in years.
No South Africans, except the most naïve or most corrupt, supported that man – and the corruption truly road roughshod over the economy.
Through the galactic singularity that was unparalleled greed, billions upon billions of Rands disappeared in space-time. As if never existing. Constant reports and whistleblowing revealed a web of corruption so grand as to blind all senses blank. Centre of the web? A man who claimed to know nothing. Anything happened that hinted of treachery against the country, the man in the centre claimed not to know. Ever. Always someone else’s fault.
This is what it’s like to be an addict too. To be centre of our own web of chaos, as work responsibilities explode like a Hezbollah handbag and personal lives are pummelled like Tyson’s punching bag. And yet we claim: not our fault.
We have an addiction of greed too. Greed and hunger. More, always more, no matter the damage we cause to ourselves and others. We become so self-centred – everything must relate to us, be of use to us, or, if a threat, avoided best we can. Manipulation, anger, oaths of making changes. All tools to be used to duck responsibility. But we are redeemable. Once the chemicals are gone.
However, Zuma is an addict of opulence and wealth and power. He was probably born missing empathy; though just like us, he hit a crisis point.
What happened last week was spectacular. It was so many things. An intervention, like when our family tries to intervene between us and our drugs or alcohol. An epic stand-off between a cornered outlaw and the posse of deputised sheriffs there to take him down. An electrifying moment where we wondered if we’d wake up to martial law, and tanks rolling down the city streets.
But instead, late night Wednesday, the man resigned.
And the man who replaced him embodies another chance for us all.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is somewhat controversial to some South Africans. To me, personally, he represents hope. Hope of a recovery from addiction to graft that grew like cancer in our country. He certainly will act with a certain interest in bettering our home.
Seeing him deliver the State of the Nation Address was inspiring; especially at the end when he called on all of us to work together. That’s a lot like the Fellowships of NA, AA, and others that Houghton House introduces their clients to. These fellowships are all about fraternity in the battle against chemical and behavioural addiction. Lending a hand, and having one lent back, results in a co-operative, not divided, nation of people working to all our betterment.
As is typical with real politick, we are likely to be disappointed by some decisions made due to alliance obligations. But, at least, it feels like we once again have a genuinely presidential president – a man who actually cares about his responsibility in leading the country, not in undermining the state purely for selfish reasons.
We have hope. Because South Africa is not under the influence of a dangerous man of no substance anymore.