This edition of the Weekly Head Voices, number two tenny eight, covers the period of time from Monday June 28 to Sunday July 18 of the year 2021.
Bad glitch in the South African matrix
Although I don’t have much to say here (hence the title), the country has been all over the news for less than great reasons.
Shortly after former president Zuma finally finally handed himself over to the police on Sunday July 4 to serve his 15 month jail sentence for contempt of the Constitutional court (there are more cases to come), looting, arson and violence broke out primarily in Kwazulu-Natal, but also in Gauteng.
Various shopes and malls have been stripped bare and/or destroyed.
This looked like a perfect storm, initiated by Zuma’s incarceration (he has a great deal of support in Kwazulu-Natal), partially fanned on by his children and allies on social media, and intensified by systemic poverty.
There were many videos on social media of folks with luxury items, some trying to stuff flat-screen TVs into their cars, or crossing the street with a basket full of goods to dump in their luxury Mercedes, but there were also many more who are only trying to survive under the poverty line and can’t be blamed for any of this.
As far as I can see, our current president Ramaphosa has for years now been doing his best to unravel the nest of corruption and dishonesty that his party the ANC has unfortunately become.
This is tricky work, as he needs to circumnavigate and/or defuse the same internal forces that managed to oust president Thabo Mbeki and usher in the terrible era of Zuma.
The poor man has had to endure even more flak in these days, both from his political enemies and from other commentators.
Until convincingly shown otherwise, my opinion is that president Ramaphosa is the best shot we currently have at a better future.
You can read his July 16 speech about the unrest here.
A slight silver edge is that these events have put more pressure on the discussions around the possible implementation of a basic income grant.
P.S. It seems that the looting was not disruptive enough for some folks, and so now we are dealing with taxi-company-related violence in the Western Cape.
P.P.S. let me just hide this here: far more locally, we are dealing with some pandemic-related stressors.
Reserve bench holidays
As I supected in the previous WHV (three weeks ago, ahem…), our country’s struggles with the pandemic did in fact manage to get our Kruger National Park visit cancelled.
To be clear, I have no illusions about the relative importance of our holiday under these circumstances and in this context (close to utterly unimportant, in other words), but we humans are gonna human and I’m not gonna lie, we were really looking forward to that week of sun in Mpumalanga.
I’ve often said that the winter down here is more bearable than one would expect, due to it being quite often punctuated by brilliant and sunny days outside, but this year I’ve come to realise that I might have underestimated the positive effects of spending the darkest week under the sun of the North.
Anyways, we were super fortunate to be able to arrange for a long weekend in another one of our favourite places, namely Wilderness, where we were treated with absolutely balmy days, some of them on the Touw river (inflatable SUPs FTW!), some of them on the most beautiful beaches, and some of them hiking and running on various trails.
If it sounds to you like we had to go outside every day to warm up in the winter sun, I can hereby confirm your astute observation.
To be fair, this was literally in the deepest part of winter, from which there is no true escape if one remains within the Western Cape.
In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, we enjoyed the wonderful days to bits.