Now here’s a story that’s likely to have financial journalists and tenderpreneurs frothing at the mouth
Think of a world leader, politician, or indeed anyone in power that you know, who gives away 90% of their income. Tricky. But there is one: But there is one: the President of Uruguay. He has personal wealth of just over £1000, which takes the form of an old VW Beetle, and living off 10% of his official salary means that his regular income is about the same as that of an average Uruguayan.
Look at the Uruguayan president’s house (his wife’s, actually) and compare it with Zumaville.
If there’s one thing that the “mainstream” media can’t stand, it’s a politician who isn’t on the make, and there are very few of those around. One of the few African politicians who was not on the make was Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, and the Western media published lots of denigratory articles about him. There was one syndicated article, with a title like The “teacher” who reduced his nation to beggary, which did the rounds for about 20 years, and was reprinted again and again. I saw it several times over the years in South African newspapers.
I have a dream that before I die I will see Mamphela Ramphele as the president of South Africa.
It’s not likely to happen, of course, because the way our political system is constructed anyone who now wants to get to that position has to be prepared to devote all their time to the political infighting and backstabbing that constitutes out political process. Mamphela Ramphele is one of South Africa’s South Africa’s foremost public intellectuals, and I doubt that she has the stomach for that kind of thing. Moral turpitude seems to be a requirement for the job.
But I’m not alone in having this dream; it is shared by at least one other person.
Of course it is too much to hope for that such dreams can be fulfilled twice in a lifetime.
But now there is no single source of evil that one can point to; it is just the usual messy mishmash of human sinfulnes, greed, lust for power, incompetence and corruption. In a sense South Africa has become normal. It is what most countries have to contend with, one way or another.
It reminds me of a song that we used to sing in the early 1970s, buy a little-known British gospel rock group called Parchment:
Yesterday’s dream didn’t quite come true
We fought for our freedom, and what did it do?
Now no one can see where they stand.
Let there be light in the land, let there be light in the people
Let there be God in our lives from now on.