Tuesday, May 5, 2009


A response to John Minto's article on Scoop about South Africa becoming a failed state:

Too bad John Minto doesn't have a fact checker - the ANC didn't win a two thirds majority.

I also think terms like "failed state" is a tad harsh for someone to use who has only been in South Africa
for 2 weeks in his life-ever-and is in his own words a "critical observer". Yes, the government is corrupt. The ANC is making money off the suffering of their own people for the sake of capital gain, the very people they so emphatically promised a better future with the abolishment of Apartheid. But that's the government you are talking about, Mr Minto, not South Africa as a whole. In this year's election, the ANC did not win their expected 2-thirds majority, showing that there is indeed a shift in thinking when it comes to public opinion.

People with deeply ingrained loyalties, who have been oppressed for years, and who are scared of the alternatives are not going to change sides overnight. How long has it been, fifteen years since the first democratic elections? That's a very short time. SA is a nation still very much broken by it's past and stunned by the changes that have taken place in such a short time. That said, I'd hardly call what has happened there in the past 20 years a "failure".

I think Mr Minto should be careful about making statements such as these on the basis of a two week visit and observation from a distance. After all, when apartheid was abolished, how many people assumed that the country would be plunged into a state of chaos? T
he psychology of a nation runs much deeper than the surface observations of a political activist. Corruption runs deep in all governments, but that does not automatically mean that a state is destined for imminent collapse.

I have great respect for activists; how can I not, given my background? But when their subjective statements begin to cloud what is supposed to be objective reporting, I get antsy.

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