Columnist Hagen Engler

By Hagen Engler

Journalist


We need more petrol attendants in parliament

The ethic of loving service, dedication and going beyond the call of duty is nowhere stronger than on the forecourts of our nation’s petrol stations.


It’s hard not to become utterly cynical about South Africa’s current group of political leaders.

Whether in parliament, in party politics, business, the labour movement or civil society, there is much to get depressed about.

The looming municipal elections have made it especially clear what a poor range of choices we have among the parties and their anointed leaders.

Sometimes it feels like we are being forced to choose between different brands of incompetence, corruption and oblivious, self-serving elitism.

Certainly, not many of the candidates capture one’s imagination, especially when they come with side servings of religious fundamentalism, legacy patriarchy, xenophobia and low-key racism.

It’s easy to become frustrated with our nation’s captured political machinery. However, as a nation, we are actually blessed with legions of incredible people, many of whom possess exactly the skills and attitude that we need in our
political leadership.

Look, I have prepared a list. Let’s get these guys in parliament!

Petrol attendants

I can’t help feeling that at least half of the National Assembly should be made up of current or former petrol attendants.

The ethic of loving service, dedication and going beyond the call of duty is nowhere stronger than on the forecourts of our nation’s petrol stations.

Check your oil and water? Tyre pressure? Clean your windscreen? Imagine if the politicians and government officials who are meant to serve us had that added- value attitude! Stable electricity supply? Why sure, there you go.

And while I was at it, I also fixed some potholes in your road and put in a police patrol, just for control!

Gift Of The Givers

This organisation may be our greatest global ambassadors, delivering humanitarian aid after natural disasters, helping to establish hospitals, setting up agriculture and water schemes, brokering the release of hostages and just
generally being awesome.

Gift Of The Givers is the largest disaster-response NGO in Africa, helping communities in need and working to unite people, make a difference and serve the greater good.

It may sound jarring to suggest, but that’s the kind of thing we need among our leadership too!

Siya Kolisi

If the South African rugby captain can lead a team of enormous Springbok warriors to victory against the most intimidating players on the planet, imagine what else he could inspire us to do!

Planting food gardens, repairing infrastructure, neighbourhood watches, skills sharing, mentorship…

A true leader inspires a nation to be more than the sum of its parts. That, too, is something we could do with.

He must just win us one more world cup, and then come lead us to greatness off the field!

King Tha!

Thandiswa Mazwai has been responsible for some of the most iconic SA pop and afro-soul music of the past 25 years.

Her solo work has been inspiring and rooted in the essence of African identity, and that Concerto album by Bongo Maffin is a cultural touchstone.

This unique, but undeniably South African artist appears to live by her own rules, while still expressing the deep, authentic African heritage of which she is a trustee. That sounds like a decent way for a country to express itself too. Also,

Thandiswa has that most elusive of qualities: she is credible. Believable! More credible than most people who stand up in the NA, I daresay!

Whoever makes Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid

Inspired by nature, it says.

It scares grease right off your plate! The cleaning power of 100 lemons! Advertising hyperbole aside, Sunlight provides dozens of sinks worth of dishes from every bottle, and every one of them is never less than sparkling clean.

Sunlight has been part of South African culture for more than 100 years, and I think we can all agree that we get our money’s worth from every 750ml bottle of Sunlight.

We’ve become used to getting value from the green glory of Sunlight.

I look forward to the day when we get similar value from the leaders of our excellentits parts. That, too, is something we could do with. He must just win us one more
world cup, and then come lead us to greatness off the field!
King Tha!
Thandiswa Mazwai has been responsible for some of the most iconic SA pop and
afro-soul music of the past 25 years. Her solo work has been inspiring and rooted
in the essence of African identity, and that Concerto album by Bongo Maffin is a
cultural touchstone.
This unique, but undeniably South African artist appears to live by her own rules,
while still expressing the deep, authentic African heritage of which she is a
trustee. That sounds like a decent way for a country to express itself too. Also,
Thandiswa has that most elusive of qualities: she is credible. Believable! More
credible than most people who stand up in the NA, I daresay!
Whoever makes Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid
Inspired by nature, it says. It scares grease right off your plate! The cleaning
power of 100 lemons! Advertising hyperbole aside, Sunlight provides dozens of
sinks worth of dishes from every bottle, and every one of them is never less than
sparkling clean.
Sunlight has been part of South African culture for more than 100 years, and I
think we can all agree that we get our money’s worth from every 750ml bottle of
Sunlight. We’ve become used to getting value from the green glory of Sunlight. I
look forward to the day when we get similar value from the leaders of our
excellent nation

Read more on these topics

Columns Elections leadership Parliament