Important news flash: the lovely Snapdragon cracked a joke this week.
I rarely find the things she says amusing, but on Wednesday she ventured into uncharted terrain by taking a bite at a (lame) joke. “What did South Africans use to light their homes before candles?” she asked. And gave the answer before we had a chance to think: “Electricity!”
My stepson, little Snapdraglet, didn’t find it funny, because our prepaid power stash (consisting of a packet of candles and a box of matches) can’t make the TV work.
“Why do we have load shedding all of a sudden?” he wanted to know.
“Eskom doesn’t have any coal left to generate power,” I told him.
“They should just wait for Christmas,” he replied. “Santa brings bad children a lump of coal. Eskom is bound to get heaps of coal.”
Snapdraglet is proof that there’s a huge difference between a wise guy and a wise boy. He’s a wise guy.
“No he won’t,” I told him. “Providing coal to Eskom is a Gupta privilege.”
“Are the Guptas Santa?” he wanted to know.
“Only for a very small group,” I informed him. “For most of us, they is the Grinch.”
“A colleague believes we should stop complaining about load shedding and be positive,” said Snapdragon.
“Nonsense,” I said. “We can’t develop a modern economy without electricity. Job opportunities, investment, growth … it’s all dependant on reliable electricity. By settling for what we have now, we are settling for poverty, high inflation, a declining rand …”
And I believe that is the crux of the matter.
When you write your letter to Santa, dear reader, forget about the new smartphone or German sedan. Ask for the average good citizen to realise it’s our responsibility to change things.
We have power. Not so much from Eskom, but we have the power to free ourselves from corrupt politicians, incompetent people at state-owned entities and the temptation to simply accept the things that are wrong.
It’s not government’s responsibility to improve our country. It’s our job.
Next year’s elections offer us a huge opportunity to begin the rebuilding.
Politicians aren’t the lords and masters of our country. We are. Let’s make it our aim to elect leaders who answer to us.