Dirk Lotriet
2 minute read
19 Jul 2019
9:30 am

We need the Cleggs, Mandelas and other good people

Dirk Lotriet

We have to work to keep the bright people who are still here, because they are leaving at an alarming rate.

Picture: iStock

We need more Johnny Cleggs in South Africa now that the only one we had has died.

Clegg defied apartheid legislature and reached out to other cultures throughout his career as a musician, even if it meant that radio stations refused to broadcast his songs. Which should be an example to those of us that remain in this beautiful, broken country.

Despite the example of “Le Zoulou Blanc”, hate is still alive and well in the country that Clegg loved so much. To such an extent that, 25 years after our first democratic elections, SA’s children still can’t all play in the sun, as envisioned by Madiba, another great man whom we remembered this week.

Apart from Clegg, two sports legends also passed away this week – the lovely Snapdragon’s primary school crush James Small and football legend Marc Batchelor.

Both were controversial and lived troubled lives, but both will be remembered for their good hearts.

Which brings me to the message of this column. Today I have to agree with Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell who said: “To lose both parents can be regarded as carelessness.”

We need great people to rebuild South Africa.

We need the Nelson Mandelas and the Johnny Cleggs and hundreds of other exceptional people who have died in the past five years. Because only the good die young. And the reasonably good are packing for Perth.

We desperately need all those very special people who have rare skills, beautiful minds and kind hearts who now live in Australia and England and the Unites States and Abu Dhabi.

We have lost them due to carelessness, and it has to stop.

During the dark apartheid years, we missed some of the cream of SA’s children who lived in exile. But even there, they worked for a better future for this country and they returned in 1994.

Now, we need our skilled brothers and sisters to come back to build a better future after the nine wasted years of the Zuma administration.

And we have to work to keep the bright people who are still here, because they are leaving at an alarming rate.

If this continues, SA will be left with only me and Jacob Zuma. And it honestly deserves better.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.