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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Greatness of South Africans

South Africans carry their greatness in their hearts. We see problems because we know what the opposite to those problems are. We want better and that is what we carry in us. How big are the problems though? Let's make some comparisons.

Crime is the big worry we seem to have. One can rarely go anywhere without it being shoved in your face. Is it worse than in Bogota, Colombia which has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world with car bombings, kidnappings and armed drug gangs on the streets? Is it as bad as Baghdad or Kabul? How about Juarez, Mexico, which is known as the most violent place in the world outside of the war zones. Not convinced? How about St Louis, Missouri known as America's most dangerous city? We can talk about Florence, Italy or Port-Au-Prince, Haiti or Mogadishu, Somalia or Grozny, Russia. Crime is everywhere so deal with it, but please do not wallow in it. Anyway, our most recent statistics show crime is down. Our best efforts at carrying on about crime may even be worsening the situation as fear creates more crime.

But we wallow because we see so much more for this country. Last year we hosted the most successful Soccer World Cup ever, only beaten by the USA in the amount of money generated. In the Eastern Cape a young school boy had a Minor Planet named after him for developing a ground-breaking new rocket fuel endorsed by NASA's Lincoln Laboratories. The Minor Planet Siyaxuza is named after Siyabulela Xuza. He talks about dreaming about building rockets from a young age. "Watching Mark Shuttleworth going into space motivated me even more and when the US stopped shipping rocket fuel post-9/11, it became a catalyst for the development of my idea," he says.

South Africa has won two Rugby World Cups, has won the African Cup of Nations, has won great golf tournaments. We have people like Nelson Mandela who symbolises freedom and caring. Steven Biko who gave people pride and hope. Koos Delarey who opposed the the English in their costliest war ever and Shaka, seen as one of the greatest military strategists of his time. The Kommandos were such brilliant fighting forces Winston Churchill decided to call all elite forces Commandos and still today only the elite are called Commandos. At Isandlwana the Zulus gave the British their greatest military loss ever by a native force. We have one of the best road networks in the world. We have enough food, we have comedians, film stars and kids who will grow up into the greatness we bestow upon them by our thinking. Let's not teach them negativity. Let's just teach them balance and objectivity.

The Rainbow Nation was expected to crash and burn after Madiba was released, but we proved them wrong. We were expected to fail economically, but they were wrong. We are once again facing problems, but they are probably blown out of proportion again. We are still around and we will be around for a long time. One day our kids will remember how their parents continually battled for what was right and that is why they are in the country they find themselves in. A country where even now we have one of the best constitutions in the world promising full equality for all people who live here. A country built upon the ideals of great men and women with documents such as "The Freedom Charter".

No, South Africa, we hurt because we care and we can only fail when we give up or fall victim to fears. Forget your petty differences and turn a blind ear to hatred and fear. We are brought together by our love for our country, our sport, our flag and the knowledge that whatever happens we will still be South Africans and will emerge stronger on the other side as is summed up so well in the final verse of our national anthem.

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land.