Back Chat - May you live in interesting times…?
It is Valentine’s Day and my partner and I have great plans lined up for the day and the weekend that lies ahead. As I get ready for work, I tune into the news to catch up on what’s happening in the country and the world around me. One story puts a damper on my good mood: the Oscar Pistorius trial. Oscar has appeared in court and once again we had to endure the trauma of what happened on that fateful day, when he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day, last year. What a bad reminder on this lovely morning!
There are countless incidents of violence against women. Violence and abuse affect women from all backgrounds on a daily basis. Sometimes, women are attacked by strangers, but most often they are hurt by people who are close to them. Violence and abuse can cause terrible physical and emotional pain. When, Oscar Pistorius, our very own, “Blade Runner,” who overcame a double amputation to compete in the Olympics last year, shot his girlfriend, the millions of people he’d inspired, were faced with the shocking possibility that their hero was also a killer. Pistorius claims that Steenkamp’s death was an accident. Who would have thought that someone with a disability, someone so well known to the world and an inspiration to people with disabilities, would find himself in this daunting situation?
Pistorius denies committing murder and says he mistook Steenkamp for a dangerous nighttime intruder. He says he thought she was in bed when he fired four shots through the locked toilet door, and only shouted at her to call the police before realizing what had happened. There was a time when I debated his innocence or lack thereof, with myself. One thing will surely put this all to rest and that is the final judgment decided by the court. Will he be found guilty or not guilty? Until then, I choose to let the world take care of its own issues and move right along with my life.
Later that day, I opened the newspapers and another topic kept capturing my attention: Elections – Elections – Elections. We are being reminded to register to vote, not just by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) but also by political parties as they campaign for my vote. I sigh and think to myself, “This is going to be one interesting election”. The reason I say this is because so much has been happening this past year and there seems to be some pressure directed at our government deliver.
The Institute for Security Studies reported earlier this month that there were at least five protests reported daily in South Africa. Just a day after the situation in Bronkhorstspruit had been quelled, a protest has flared up in Hebron outside Pretoria. Protests also took place in East London, where the city hall was petrol-bombed. Similar events also occurred in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, in the Western Cape and Sebokeng in Gauteng. There were also protests in the Limpopo villages of Relela and Kubjana. In January, four people died in Mothutlung, near Brits, during protests against a water shortage. The recent surge in protests around the country has claimed a total of nine lives, all allegedly at police hands. Eish… this is tough!
But on the lighter side of things, what should we make of the marriages between political parties? First, the DA and Agang and now, UDM and Mbazima Shilowa’s fraction of COPE. This is all a joke to me. I can’t take any of them seriously. Everyone is trying very hard to hustle just to get my vote! Cartoons went around of the short-lived marriage between DA and Agang, pictures of both leaders exchanging kisses and promising to be a better government for the country. A week later, they divorced and became the laughing stock of the country. What an embarrassment. But I guess I must be very important if political parties are prepared to risk so much just to get my vote. Hopefully UDM and COPE will endure their marriage.
Anyway, with everything that is happening in my world, I went along to spend the most memorable Valentine’s weekend ever! On Saturday morning, I went for my spine alignment at my chiropractor before heading for our couples’ romantic Thai body massage. We ended the night with dinner at a local township joint and enjoyed live entertainment. Now, what more can one ask for? All that’s left now is for me to go make my mark next to the political party, I believe will deliver on my expectations. What about you? Let’s all go and vote guys and gals because if you don’t, you then don’t have the right to argue with anyone if the political party in administration does not deliver on your expectations. Until then, shut your mind to the outside negativity and don’t let anything bad shake you. It is just part of life. You should just enjoy your beautiful life.