Monday, 7 September 2015

Cogito ergo sum

Cogito ergo sum - I think, therefore I am. [Descartes]

Africa has lost her pride. Dehumanized, patronized, colonized, enslaved, stripped of her resources and flayed in the international trade-markets, it's a betrayal of a continent's people; a scar on the collective conscience.

Unless all Africans participate meaningfully in their domestic economies, Africa will remain the pitiful, aid-slaves of international charity.

Only the weak cannot forgive and in South Africa the outlook is no less absurd. Ethnic perversion is pervasive in leadership and manifest in the consciousness of our people. We claim our own ethnicity and turn a blind-eye to the misappropriation of the collective trust.

                  First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out
                  Because I was not a Socialist.
                 Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out
                 Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
                 Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
                 Because I was not a Jew.
                 Then they came for me .... and there was no one left to speak for me. 

[Pastor Martin Niemöller on national complacency when the Nazis came to power]

Ours is a country sickened by public-incompetence. The systemic abuse of political power is premised on personal enrichment. We're a nation hijacked and held ransom by a sponsored tenderpreneur-cartel. In these conditions it's difficult to hope. Under this pall of corruption we, the South African people, all her people irrespective of tribe or ethnic-claim, remain enslaved to our exclusionary past. We say what we don't believe.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, 
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” - [Nelson Mandela]

Yes we live in sad times. In backyards some pay homage to yesterday's flag; a fluttering symbol of false-entitlement and a moral abomination. Children, born a blank canvas of hope, are khaki-trained, an armed perversion - morally flawed and a false economy premised on mistrust. Others, our young ones, flee this land, some locked-out of the formal markets, a legal penance for the sins of their fathers. More render themselves useless, mercilessly beating themselves on the cross of guilt. Those who will not bend to this whip of self-loathing are declared false-prophets; harbingers of insincerity.

We live in sad times. On gilded podiums some bask in false victory; a perverted shout for freedom 20 years past. It's a rendered, context-poor homily designed to mould the economically-disenfranchised; an army dehumanized still, made desperate in chains of poverty and a green branch, compliant against the agenda of the very few. Children, born a blank canvas of hope, are denied their rights, gather in the pock-marked streets and are forced to the begging bowl and out of the classrooms as their mentors idle under trees of despair. In the dark of night behind high walls of neighboring wealth lies a false illegal financial freedom; a theft of the collective moral conscience of a people forgotten.

These are sad times. In the backstreets of sub-urban hell some suffer a despair-dependent narcotics-induced coma. Gun-toting gangs press children, born a blank canvas of hope, into acts of violent confrontation. Fathers mourn sons dead, in cold blood and mothers become mothers, children themselves.

'When a hyena wants to eat some of its children, it first accuses them of smelling like goats' - an African proverb.

Industry is a shadow of failed planning, state-interference and poor skills' development. Parastatal jobs are an exercise of executive cronyism. Our mineral wealth is a low-skilled, low-paying extraction; an international export, at cost, and for the benefit of multinational stakeholders domiciled elsewhere. Up-skilled, value-add, commodity-processing is an international monopoly from which Africa is politely excused. Trade-deficit is an unintended import and priced at the currency-gap; rated arbitrarily by the free-market controlled for 'political risk'; an economic boon for Asian and Western surplus.

Education is mostly a logistics conundrum for the administratively incompetent. Public schools wait two-to-a-desk for books destined ultimately for the black market. Teachers, qualified at the University of No Name, claim salaries from schools they've never seen. Nurses and doctors queue at emigration for a working wage.

Law enforcement is a toy of public office where the rule of law is a yellow card of restraint rather than grounds for immediate dismissal. Yes it's true. Corruption flows richly in our veins.

Cheap labour underpins a process of exploitation. The boardroom's Eton-acolytes sign-off a 200 x [20000%] wage-gap ratio; paid in sterling, at the executive-suite, but paid in South African rand at the face; substantively absurd in productivity alone. High-fenced lands lie agriculturally dormant; home to aberrant game for the trophy-pleasure of foreign dignitaries, owned and hosted by absentee lords of the manor.

Here 1:3 people persist on - $1.25 pppd; 40000 days equivalent to hunt a cage-bred lion.

In our streets indebted graduates beg a meal; engineers, mostly; denied their place by transitory Asian construction-gangs, hired on a secret handshake or at the logging-table. Elsewhere Asian-dumped steel, forged from African ore, risks 30000 jobs at the local smelter. Downstream energy-costs treble on 'generators' down'; a catch-all for 'unscheduled  maintenance'.

Our economic prognosis is terminal. It's a lethal cocktail of complacency, incompetence and corruption. Unemployment is rising at rates unprecedented in any other comparable, middle-income, developing economy. Labour-market restrictions are tightening. Inefficiencies and falling productivity is pervasive throughout the manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors. Labour Unions, the current voting base, are more militant, less approachable. In the public sector salaries rise at levels 10 x the inflation-rate whilst 1:3 live below the international poverty-line. Trade & budget deficits are unsustainable. Domestic / foreign capital flight is real; without restraint.

An inherited infrastructure belies a political indifference to the needs of the unemployed. Political priorities / agendas are largely premised on accumulation rather than selfless service. Social grants are predicated on growth rates currently / inevitably unattainable. The debt-trap is unavoidable. These are dangerous times.

Africa stands cap-in-hand, pliant and open for renewed, unprecedented levels of exploitation; a co-authored misery and an inevitable harvesting of resources from which we can never return. It's a future bereft of dignity. The incumbent leadership-structure pays homage to the self-styled African Emperor, an Eastern phoenix. It's a morally-defunct empire of intimidation - by design; and predicated on the silence of the voiceless and perpetuated by state-corruption, national complacency and our tolerance for incompetence.

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