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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Something’s Gotta Give




It’s disgusting… truly… but I am one of those terrible human beings who have never voted. *Dodges flying rotten fruit and a chorus of Boo’s*.

I can’t argue with the peanut gallery, because they are right. It’s just inexcusable; some might say its plum crazy.

So at 28 years of age, I made the long overdue (10 years expired) visit to my local registration office and unmuted my voice, my opinion and my right as a citizen of South Africa. Next year, I too shall adorn the iconic black stained thumb that says: “I count”.

I want to have some politically heated and compelling answer that satisfies the question “Why haven’t you voted before?” but I don’t. My only guess is that naivety and ignorance somehow seeped in through my pores and paralyzed my convictions. I suppose I had that uber-kak attitude of Ag, nothing’s going to change anyways. Why waste a good public holiday that could be spent having a braai or a lie in.

And this is coming from a gal, who despite making use of peroxide every six weeks or so, is sort of a smarty pants. Mamma didn’t raise no fool.

For a long time, I have been one of many South African’s unsatisfied with the current dude in power, and the ripple effect of the ruling party’s actions and words that have filtered down a tiered pyramid of corruption and short sightedness. It’s always sort of been one of those things that I’ve put out of my mind, because it saps my mental energy and if I’m really honest, well – it hasn’t really affected me has it?

Sure, I have to put up with metro police who would rather I drive home drunk in the hopes I’ll have to offer them a bribe, than do the responsible thing and get a driver to make sure I don’t kill someone or myself on the way home from a night out. Hard to believe that these “public protectors” greet said driver with anger and resentment, claiming he or she is “stealing from them”. Lift your jaw from off the floor; this has happened to me at least 5 times.

And yes, it makes me mad that our education system is disintegrating, that teachers drive BMW’s to a school where children are desperate for an education, but have no resources to learn.

It totally sucks that our criminals literally get away with murder and that a massive contingent of woman have become accustomed to the fact that they will probably experience rape at least once in their lifetimes.

It’s awful, maddening and scary.

So much so, that I think… like many people, a state of numb hopelessness sometimes fog’s my ability to do or say much about it.

The problem with being a dormant dweller in this life is that, like a volcano that’s been brewing and bubbling underneath dark ashy crust, eventually… some kind of shift will inevitably crack the charcoal and allow a trickle of molten lava to escape its fiery pit.

You see, the problem is not acknowledging that which disturbs and dislodges us… the real tricky bit comes when something surprises us with absolute hope and blinds us with the un-doubt that there is in fact, potential and possibility to be more. To be better. To be great, even.

For me, this realization has come in waves, as I learn more and more about a thriving little industry waiting to explode and illuminate the Dark Continent. Wanna hear some pretty awesome stats?

R8,802,194 – that’s how much the new Schuster movie has made in SA, after being released for only a few weeks.

R8,363,238 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and by the way… Screenings stopped for 48 hours after the announcement of Nelson Mandela’s death.

R8,135,484 – SA animation, Khumba has earned this whopping number.

Know what that means? It means something that we’ve intrinsically known for a long time, that Africa has compelling stories to tell the world… and for the first time in a long time, the world is listening intently. These may be South African box office numbers, but in recent years the reception of South African filmmakers, artists, performers and writers has been nothing but celebrated in all four corners of the globe.

The calibre of talent, met with advancing skill and poetic delivery in all aspects of our arts and culture industries has knocked me off my Manolo’s. Well… if I had Manolo’s to be knocked off.

We’re sort of shit hot… and it’s just the beginning.

Maybe pride speaks to us all in its own way… maybe it’s taken me so long to say: Screw it, I want a change! because I’ve kept myself guarded and complacent, sure that we are destined to remain a sort of functioning, kinda ok, moderately miserable nation. I’m starting to believe, that we’re not. That we are absolutely capable of turning things around… we are, after all, resilient motherfuckers.

I’ve decided that I don’t care how or what moves you… whether it’s the teeth-grinding irritation pulsing through your body every time you pass under one of those dumb e-toll gantries, or a flabbergast speechlessness that crucifies your mind when you think about the R290 million revamp on Zuma’s pozzie. The point is… something’s gotta give.

If art reflects the voice of a society, then by all accounts we are taking the scars of our past and turning them into stories that revitalize our outlooks, courageously purge our pains and heal our silenced hearts. It reminds me of the way a musician can turn the tragedy of a break up into a Grammy award winning hit.

It’s shown me that every new day is a chance to turn it all around – if you’re willing to have your hardened surface break open, and let the light out.