from google

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Senzenina*

There was a glorious moment, in the autumn of 1994, when a nation broke free of the shackles of Apartheid.

There was a hope that burned bright, there were people ululating and dancing in the streets, there was a palpable feeling that we were on the cusp of achieving something that so many had sacrificed and died to accomplish.

The fetters of political and social and economic and racial tyranny were to be cast off, with the indescribable hope of a newer tomorrow, a better more equitable future, to be built on the foundation so many South Africans gave their lives to realise.

But it was not to be. The burning conviction of so so many was diluted, and then further diluted, till the very flames of revolution were hastily doused, with all that remained being the smouldering embers of hopes and dreams banished to the marketplace of deprivation.

In the Freedom Charter, there were the humane ideals of housing and health for all, of education and economic justice for all, of work for decent pay for all, for freedom from wage-slavery for all.

How hurriedly were these ideals buried.

The dreams and hopes and aspirations of generations seemed to have been consigned to the dust heap of history, as someone once said.

The South Africa of 1994 was not a country with a failing economy, and was in fact a wealthy country blessed with precious metals that had the potential for so many of the ideals of the Freedom Charter to be finally realised where the obscene wealth of the few would be more equitably shared by the overwhelmingly masses of the country.

It is was not long after the advent of democracy when the warning flags started popping up. The mad dash for power and influence and the feeding of greed began rapidly eroding the ideals that our leaders spent decades in prison dedicated their lives to achieve, the far far too many who were tortured and killed, who were forced into political exile, and the vast majority of people who bore the scars that the jagged edge of tyranny inflicted upon them.

The warning signs were there for all of us to see. The graft, the tenders for pals, the insatiable acquisition of personal wealth by a fraction of a fraction of the people of the country, exposed ominous signs that the noble ideals so many sacrificed for were being gradually consigned to oblivion.

Today, twenty seven years since freedom dawned, we have little to be proud about.

We have not alleviated poverty adequately so that the poorest of the poor citizens of South Africa still go to bed hungry, and often sleeping on newspaper sheets under gleaming highway underpasses. The scourge of unemployment means that those seeking to find work cannot do so, at least not for a liveable wage. The vast majority of the children of freedom still commute great distances and bear long hours in order to access a meaningful education. The “there shall be housing for all” words contained in the Freedom Charter has become a cesspool of substandard tiny homes being built, mostly even without doors or windows.

The elderly who are sickly have to endure hours of waiting in gradually decaying hospitals with more often their dignity being trampled upon by underpaid and understaffed nurses and doctors.

There is much much more to mention.

The saddest thing of all is the crushing of the hopes of the many, more often than not, by the few.

This is not the country leaders such as Madiba and Tambo and Hani and Biko and Sisulu amongst countless more had envisaged.

We have failed our selfless freedom fighters.

We have and continue to fail the vast majority of our fellow citizens.

This is now.

This is today.

Could there still be hope for tomorrow and the tomorrows yet to come.

It is up to all of us.

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* “Senzenina” is an anti-Apartheid song which means “What have we done” with the implication “what did we do to deserve this?”

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from google

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