TEXT BY: David wa Maahlamela
I recently started realizing what a blessing it is to be born in South Afrika. Last week after one incredible South Afrikan, to be more specific; Limpopo-born gold medallist Caster Semenya won in a dominant performance during the 800m IAAF World Championship in Berlin, I decided to record this year as year two thousand and South Africa (2000&SA). This gifted teenager taught all South Afrikans and the rest of the world that, ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you’.
For Caster, winning despite the emotional torture dished out by the IAAF, the federation that allowed her to enter the Olympics and question her gender just before her big day is not a mean feat. Perhaps there’s something we are not being told, that she probably arrived late and just got on her marks. Maybe that’s the reason why the IAAF started questioning her victory. How disorganised do they think Athletic South Africa is to send a man to represent the country in a Women race? Does ASA have credibility before IAAF?
The ugly scenes reminiscent of what happened to the Springboks during the Rugby World Cup Finals when Percy Montgomery was pushed to fall on the cameramen. That was an obvious attempt to dent the image of South Afrikan rugby even though at the end of the day the best man won. The gesture he used, that of lifting his shoulders in surrender while half-stretching his arms as if saying: 'What can I say?' was not just sportsman spirit but also that of Ubuntu.
Unlike the Martin Luther King Jnr and Malcom X who were celebrated after their death, Nelson Mandela is the only internationally celebrated living ancestor. Perhaps the recent chain of service delivery protests is a sign of the freedoms enjoyed in this country. Workers and community members are free to take to the street and raise their concerns without any fear.
I am singing no praise to any man, but I believe there are quite much good things happening in our country to outweigh the bad that is branded in the media. Tell that to Mr. Journalist he will tell you where to get-off. To him good stories don't sell. A good story like Caster Semenya’s victory is not yet complete until the gender crap in mentioned. There’s lot to celebrate yet hence some of us are already addicted to complaining, we can’t stop anytime soon.
My point is; let’s make noise about the bad as a way of drawing attention and with an intention of rectifying them; not promoting or finger-pointing. When called upon let’s celebrate without the ‘but…”. FIFA Confed was a success, nobody can argue to the contrary. As we give standing ovation to Caster Semenya, let’s motivate every single South Afrikan to strive for excellence in whatsoever we do. Bring back that gold Caster; we want to see it in the dusty street of Polokwane. I already wrote a poem to bless your return.
(Written on the 20th August 2009)