“Are we ready? …Uh huh. Good.”

A hopeless response to President Zuma’s hopeless address to the nation.

I could lie and say that I don’t know what I expected as I sat there, cellphone in one hand, TV remote in the other, glancing lazily between my Twitter feed and the eNCA debate. But I know exactly what I expected.

I expected the President to arrive late. (By now, we’re all used to waiting, and the news reporters are used to improvising until somebody catches a glimpse of movement on the podium.) I expected a long-winded recounting of the past few days’ events. (What would a Zuma address be without a little time-wasting?) I even expected a cellphone to go off at some point during the President’s speech. (It’s not as if politicians have enough respect for our supreme leader to switch off their phones, or at the very least put them on silent.)

What can I say? Even at the tender age of eighteen – freshly immersed in the world of “proper politics” with my unsteady, uncertain thumb not-quite-ready for the voter’s mark – I have low expectations for our government. I know enough about our country’s history to see that this is not where we were presently supposed to be, twenty-one years into a democracy. I know enough about our current situation to understand that my future here is dim at best. And that’s speaking from a position of immense privilege.

Apparently, though, my low expectations were not low enough.

Oh, I know. Sweet, naïve girl, did you really expect so much from your president? Did you honestly expect an apology? Did you have so much faith in the leadership of this country that you expected an acknowledgment of a mistake that threw the nation to its knees?

Did you dare to wish for more than a handful of excuses and a shifting of the blame?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Perhaps I’ve been blinded by my fantasies of a better South Africa. This morning’s headlines ignited the tiniest flame of hope within my chest, but I kept it covered up, glancing at it periodically throughout the day just to check if it had gone out. Thuli Madonsela is a hero, I thought to myself, not daring to speak it aloud for fear of jinxing her achievements. And to think, she’s applied for a R3m grant to investigate the Guptas next! What a time to be alive.

I wish I could say the address threw gasoline onto my little flame and set me alight with anger. Unfortunately, I feel like I’ve been doused by a fire extinguisher.

As the youth, our disappointment is more than disheartening. It is utterly harrowing.

Here is a man that can stand in front of the entire country and spew blatant lies without a single hint of remorse on his face. Here is a man whose sense of entitlement has blinded him to the most basic requirement of his job. Here is a man that can present himself before us and pass the blame onto somebody else as easily as someone might pass gas.

But, you know. It’s nice of you to abide by that constitutional court ruling and all. (It’s not like you had a choice…) And it’s especially nice of you to try to convince us that you would have paid back the money anyway. (Even though you seemed to have forgotten about it until you were taken to court.) And it’s sweet that you think we’re stupid enough to believe that you really were just doing your job, even if the simplest aspect of your job is knowing when and how you’re f*cking with the entire nation.

Our country has been kicked to the ground beaten. Hell, it feels like somebody’s tried to run us over with a train. We’re covered in blood and sweat and dirt and tears and vomit, and still our President dances around before us as though everything’s fine. We’re playing the Blame Game all over again. It’s just a matter of waiting to see who the Magical Finger of Doom points at next, and then more waiting for another insincere apology, another shuffling of papers, a new person to point at.

Mr. Zuma, I expected more from you. I’ll say it again: I expected more from you! You were presented with a platinum opportunity to make things right, and all it required was a little sincerity and a dash of servant leadership.

Did you honestly expect us to eat your lies? Did you think your single I apologize, but it wasn’t my fault would satiate our hunger for integrity? You had a responsibility, and you ignored it. You have overstepped your mark for the last time now. Can you feel it? Can you feel the changes in the air?

You’d better hope you choke on it. Because I can promise you now that a revolution is coming. And you’re stuck right in the middle of it.

Twitter Honour Roll

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{Book blogger friends, I know this is waaaaaay different from what I usually post. But this is the only platform I have – so far – where I can voice my opinions on these things. So please excuse the random outburst.}

9 comments

    • Thank you so much! It still shocks me that a simple little rant could have such an immense response… Evidently many other people feel the same way, so hopefully this sense of unity can spur on movement for the change we’re all desperate for.
      – A

      Like

  1. Amy – I’m a 67 year-old jaded South African. I always prided myself on my writing ability, but, you, at eighteen, knock spots of me! I salute you – you have the pizzaz, chutzpah, eloquence and honesty to express what you feel about our beloved country’s sad demise, better than I EVER could! We have to hope for change, for-the-better, because, frankly, things couldn’t get much worse. Does anyone in government have the courage to stand up and say to President Zuma, “In the name of God … GO!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow. I’m not sure I’m entirely deserving of such high praise, but thank you! I sincerely hope that even if nobody in the government has the courage to stand up, the united front of thousands and thousands of South Africans can convince Zuma to step down. This incident and the response it caused only proved to me – and many others – that we’re not alone in our anger. It truly is time for change, and if the president can’t feel it, then he’s got another thing coming.
      – A

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just hope that many of your age have similar understanding of the tripe that we are expected to accept to seriously affect the voting – trouble with that is with the IEC fully under ANC control, there IS going to be manipulation. Maybe time for some investigation in that area.
    Well written Amy !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I think that especially in university settings, we’re very informed about the voting mess. Unfortunately there’s now a whole new challenge to find a way to let EVERYONE in leadership know that we as South Africans cannot sit back and watch while our country falls apart, but without worsening the situation. On the bright side, though, I think the ANC had a major wake-up call this weekend. It will be interesting to see their further reactions to the demands of their people.
      – A

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  3. Amy, reading all,of the above comments….I agree with them , you have written very well given your not quite ready thumb age. ONE caution, you don’t need to use profanity, even spelling with a * or two, you are better than that. Choose and use your command of your language to say it clearly and profoundly, don’t stoop down and use *#€*#!!.

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