Our elders – the men and women that fought for this country to be what it is today – had a goal, a vision for South Africa that is embedded in our Constitution, which they adopted in order to:
“…Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.” [from the Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa]
Crucial to the accomplishment of a national goal are the combined efforts of both the nation’s citizens and leadership. In this regard, there are a few things that we need to put into place.
South Africa needs good leadership, and seriously so. Our nation finds herself balancing on the brink of a make-or-brake situation, one that needs the precise attention of a competent and effective leadership, whose values are well-placed. Right now, this seems a tall order for our country; not because we have no virtuous people, but because the most powerful leadership structures in the land do not work in a way that benefits those of us who need them the most. On one hand, the ruling party too often fails to take initiative and responsibility when it comes to the most pressing issues faced by South Africans today – they rather opt for pinning the blame on the ills of the Apartheid era. On the other hand, the opposition party – also in on the blame-game – spends unjustifiable amounts of time and energy trying to discredit the ruling party instead of putting that same effort into materially helping the people that have been failed by the latter.
South Africa needs proàctive leadership. We are currently innundated by a sea of small issues that are each – ceteris paribus – fairly uncomplicated: corruption in politics and business, unresolved cultural tensions, crime, violent protests, the so-called “tripple challenge” (unemployment, poverty, inequality)… The list goes. But these things are manageable and can be solved. It will take a leadership that is strategic – a leadership that knows both when to act and how to act – to successfully navigate through this rocky terrain. Parliament and executive government have to look at the situation from a ‘bigger picture’ point of view, then use a direct and one-on-one approach to deal with each individual issue. It is for the President to oversee such a task and to delegate to people who will get these things done.
It is not just up to them, though. You and I must make it our mission to tackle the issues we each face as independent and self-supporting South Africans, before they become big problems that are much more difficult to handle. More than that, the people we elect as our leaders must not be caretakers over us, but fellow men and women from within our communities who will encourage and assist us as we build on the foundations laid by those Souths Africans that have played their part in the making of our nation.
Our elders had a goal. It is up to us to make it happen.