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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


South Africa a broken country in the doldrums of a long-drop toilet

Load shedding, crime, corruption, economic crisis, state capture, unemployment and so much more. When will it end?


South Africa is a broken country and there is nothing great at the moment about this land we call home.

I wish I could say different, but I am more surprised by how many people may agree with me and this makes me sad.

There is so much wrong here, I don’t even know where to begin and I fear I might leave something out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love South Africa and had so much hope in my heart for the country to prosper after such hard-fought freedom by the late president Nelson Mandela and the group of struggle stalwarts who died for a better life for all.

South Africa, a broken country

But I have been left disappointed and like everybody else, I am tired and my heart bleeds.

Load shedding, crime, corruption, economic crisis, state capture, unemployment and so much more. When will it end?

I think South Africa has become an old crock and it’s going to take a lot to lift this country out of the doldrums of the long-drop toilet.

Politicians continue to make elaborate promises and jostle for positions to be the next leader as everything around them crumbles like a house of cards.

You may be wondering what spurred on this op-ed. So, let me start with this.

Post office doesn’t care

Earlier this year, I was intrigued by an international charity organisation that was making a limited edition 2022 Not-a-Wheelchair collectors coin to make accessibility more affordable for everyone.

Being an overseas donation, I understood the parcel would take time to get to South Africa and tracked the shipment from the time it was dispatched.

I finally got the SA Post Office slip to collect the package and quickly rushed off to Zakariyya Park Post Office to collect it, only to be met by a ridiculous sign on the gate.

“Dear customers. Office closed due to broken keys (door keys). Waiting for locksmith. Sorry for any inconvenience – by management”.

ALSO READ: Phase 2 of Post Office retrenchments looms

I thought I was dreaming when I saw the sign and thought what the…

There was no indication when the locksmith was coming, when the post office would reopen or how long the sign was up on the gate.

For me, the post office just did not give a damn or have any compassion for those who use the facility.

Inconvenience for many

Just imagine the hundreds of residents who were waiting for their mail, parcels and even Christmas presents from abroad.

Not to mention those paying their bills and everything else you do at the facility, from buying stamps to posting a handwritten letter to a newly ignited love in a foreign country.

This is a clear indication that even the most basic things and institutions in this country do not work.

Potholes, state capture and emigration

Just look at the potholes, broken railway lines and other infrastructure that has not been repaired after criminals damaged it.

I don’t know if South Africa will heal from the wounds caused by state capture, looting and corruption which is affecting every facet of South Africans’ lives.

Every night while scouring Facebook Market Place for bargains, gadgets and gizmos, I see hundreds of emigration sale adverts.

People are selling up and leaving the country to find their sanctuary in another country.

Not in their home country, but where everything works and crime is a little less.

Some might hope you could post a letter or collect your parcel without a notice telling you the office is closed because the keys broke.

Where to from here?

I truly hope South Africa can be the promised land that Madiba fought for, but like many, I am among those who are less optimistic about what the future holds.

I am trying, believe me.

While many will not be brazen enough to admit that something has gone wrong, deep down they know something just doesn’t feel right, like Doc Emmet Brown and Marty McFly in Back to Future II when the timeline skewed into a different direction.

South Africa needs a time machine

Maybe what South Africa needs is a time machine to undo what has gone wrong, because when someone tells you the country was better under the apartheid government, it leaves you flabbergasted.

While I, along with many, cannot fathom going back to those days, imagine the pain people have to go through to utter those words which stem from deep-rooted unhappiness with this country.

Nelson Mandela once spoke about the road to freedom.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination,” he said.

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

“In our language there is a saying, Ndiwelimilambo enamagama – I have crossed famous rivers. It means that one has travelled and, in the process, gained much experience.”

“Indeed I had since 1934 been crossing important rivers of my country: Mbashe, Great Kei, Orange and the Vaal. I had seen new places and new faces; absorbed new ideas and renounced old ones.”

“We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road,” he said.

Hope for South Africa’s future

Like Madiba, I hope South Africa has not taken its final step, but I do hope that the path to a more beautiful South Africa is easier and shines with an aura that makes everyone proud to be a South African.

The great man continued to say that it takes everyone to make this country shine.

“The message of reconciliation, of nation-building, of granting amnesty, indemnity, has struck a powerful, favourable chord. And people can understand that we’re here not for purposes of retribution but to forget the past and to build our country.”

Let’s pray and hope God accepts our pleas to cast a rainbow over our beautiful nation, rebuild it and make it an example for others to learn from.

ALSO READ: Load shedding: ‘I am gatvol and so are 60 million other South Africans’.

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