Friday, December 19, 2008

That Feeble South African Mentality - 1

I love cricket and my love for this sport was born out of taking pleasure from seeing South Africa getting thrashed by the West Indies in the early 1990s during my student days. Then it was mandatory for a Black person to support whatever team was playing against South Africa. Seating next to white students and cheering at the top of your voice and knowing that for once a white person will not call you Kaffir to your face and looking at them seething with anger was just priceless (and it was pretty empowering too).

This trip down memory lane is brought about by the happenings down under where SA is taking on Australia. It looks like once again Australia is going to spank our little behind for thinking we can beat them. It looks like we are going to get a hiding down under by a team that was recently comprehensively thrashed by India. It started pretty well as always but once a few wickets were lost panic set in and the rest if familiar history. I call it feeble South African mentality.

You see it everywhere, in soccer, in rugby and life in general.Our soccer has not progressed since 1996 because when the tough times came we have always folded like a deck of cards. We are easily excitable and we easily give in. When times are tough we normally do not want to associate with the loser, we would rather call for him to be fired. Coaches in our domestic and national soccer get changed every year because "they cannot deliver". Nobody thinks about the need for continuity. And oh! we also celebrate mediocrity....remember when we went to the soccer world cup in 2002 and came back after the first round with one win...our boys were celebrated as heroes. Or remember how we celebrated recently after beating Australia in the tri-nations when that did not mean a thing.

As a nation we are good at winning meaningless contests but when it comes to the real tests we fail dismally. We can beat Nigeria during friendly games but when it comes to official competitions we fail dismally. We cannot say much about Athletics and swimming in this country. It is true that government is just paying lip service to sports development in this country, but then aren't all African governments. Most of the athletes in the African continent make it out of sheer will without any resources to talk of. In South Africa unfortunately that will has been lost and cannot be rediscovered.

Pirates, Chiefs, Moroka Swallows and all the other teams used to be good because they were playing with a passion. A passion to show the apartheid masters that as a Black people they will never be crushed. The passion of players in those days was informed by their pride, their suffering and a need to express themselves in only a way they can. With the dawn of the rainbow nation all that passion and pride has dissipated. I am inclined to think that it has a lot to do with a lot of selling our souls that happened with the sunset clauses and the TRC's.

I believe the mentality that is driving our sports men in the majority is limited to being as good as white South Africans. Remember during the apartheid days blacks could beat them at their games with no resources to speak off. I am not for nationalism but I believe we lack a spirit of nationalism. We do not have a common identity that will make us swell with pride and want to excel in whatever we do.

Part two coming soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Talking - that overrated phenomenon

It is a pleasure to indeed at last pluck up the courage and decide to join a multitude of people who have found a way to express their views at the comfort of their keyboards. Apparently it is therapeutic....we will find out.

A lot is happening in our country and everybody has an opinion on what it is that is going on in this beautiful land of ours. I have opinions too and you will get to hear about them here. hopefully some of them will get you hot under the collar. You will be allowed to do what we South Africans do best, call me names, maybe I will be famous one day. This is a beautiful dream don't you think, people reading your blog and responding with all manner of insults. After all we have been led to believe that South Africans (of the darker hue, of course) don't read and they don't think.

This blog has been inspired primarily by my good friend MoAfrika (I don't know whether i got the spelling right: South Africans don't care anyway how the misspell our names) and lots of e-mail debates that I have had with friends and family over a long period of time. To all of you I say thank you because I know that if nobody reads this at least you will and you will sooth my ego and tell me how well I write.

There will be grammatical and typing errors but these will become less as we plod along. And ke Motswana tlhe bathong, sekgoa se se na le go tshabela ko se tswang teng. Those wo do not understand what i just wrote can write in and complain and their complaints will be duly addressed.

Let me curb my excitement and stop here. We will get to talk some more as there are many things I want to write about. I welcome myself to this world and welcome you all to these exciting times.