This is the personal blog of Ty, a university student based in Johannesburg, and Cape Town, South Africa. It's all about everything he finds interesting and more... . And it was awkward writing this in the third person.
It won’t be long now before authors write about the slow and steady decline of South Africa’s leadership as Africa’s foremost economy. It’s not something unexpected to be quite honest. The previous decade saw the largest rush for industrial commodities the world has ever seen. Yet, South Africa did little to capitalize on this to the same degree as fellow BRICS member, Brazil, and a far developed country like Australia.
What you often hear among South Africa’s learned folk is that Nigeria hasn’t done much in the past few decades to monetize their oil reserves and develop their country. This is absolute arrogance to the same fact, that South Africa, has done little to improve the lives of mineworkers, and the communities surrounding the mines, hence…, wait for it, the Marikana massacre. The parallels between the now storied murder of innocents by “law enforcing” persons, and the brutality against those too poor that they have to steal oil barrels in the Niger Delta are too similar to ignore.
So, if Brazil and Australia didn’t wake us up, surely Nigeria’s newly found position in the continent should. I have no pointers on how to get us ahead. I’ll leave that to the academics and politicians who like to talk, really spew shit, but never take any serious action. In fact, I don’t see why we should focus on getting ahead in such macro terms such as GDP, when we could do better focusing on improving the life of every citizen in a micro level. Educate, house, and feed people the right way, and you’ll see a more motivated population. What’s the point of being a big economy when everyday life is a misery?
One problem South Africans forget when we diss Nigeria is that to American and EU investors, whom we need and love so much, when Nigeria brands itself as the biggest economy in the continent, the West will come flying into the country, and throwing money at every business idea there is, the same way they’ve thrown money at us seeking yield. So losing that coveted title is quite a big deal, but again, we should focus on improving our craft. We, unlike Nigeria are probably 100 times more politically stable. We don’t have terrorists to deal with. Sure we battle with HIV/AIDS and TB, but we’re becoming better at controlling those. Nigeria on the other will soon be faced with the Ebola virus, and weird things that are so foreign to us and too graphic for me to mention. We don’t disqualify people with great ideas just because they’re gay, Muslim, or speak a certain tribal language. But it is time for us to wake up!
I forgot to post this last week, but here goes…
Last year’s Person of the Year, His Holiness, Pope Francis, was a long-short. I still don’t know why he got the once coveted title, which has been bestowed on such “great” people as Adolf Hitler, and Joe Stalin – yeah, I know it’s strange. So, it’s safe to say both God’s most pious men, and their exact opposites can grace the cover of Time magazine’s year-end issue. In 2014, I feel that Russia’s Vladimir Putin (who was Person of the Year in 2009) will be awarded the title again. If he does, then the past two year would be the most interesting since the USA began its War on Terror in 2001. Remember, the very same Putin outmanoeuvred President Obama in 2011, thus there has not been any military intervention in Syria by the USA…who in actual fact literaly cannot afford another war in the Middle East. Fast forward to the present, and the situation in Crimea, threatens the USA’s interests, i.e. NATO, and Putin again seems to be the man who’s going to come out as the winner in all this.
To be quite honest, personally, I don’t care about what happens in Eastern Europe, however, South Africa at a political level, is more involved in the crisis than it would otherwise be a few years ago. The reason for this is because we are part of the BRICS congregation. Essentially, this means we kinda-sorta like have to see Russia succeed both politically and economically in order for the group to succeed. We have to make sure that all five of us succeeds. This now puts us in a difficult position, and here’s why. Imagine if the Western Cape where to secede from the rest of South Africa. You wouldn’t feel too great about that if you’re Pretoria, and if diplomacy doesn’t convince the Western Cape otherwise, then military action against it wouldn’t look like such a bad idea. The Western Cape is a strategic area of the country. It’s the second or third largest economy. It covers a vast area, and is very fertile. It’s has ports, and most importantly, a potential area to expand SA’s own military bases, or dock up a foreign power like the USA or China. The latter seems more likely these days. That’s what’s happened in Ukraine. The citizens of the Crimea have decided to break away from the rest of the country and join another country, Russia. Ukraine is now in the same hypothetical situation as in my SA/Western Cape example.
In a collective voice, the BRICS nations have rejected the West’s sanctions against Russia. I’m not here to say that this is wrong or this is right. In fact, South Africa’s foreign policy is just weird to me, and I don’t know what our department minister is doing there. She just seems pathetic to me. But anyway, South Africa, if you where Ukraine, you’d react the same way as it has if a strategic part of your dominion decided it wants to break away. So to reject the US and EU’s sanctions, we have rejected Ukraine’s efforts to recover what it has lost; something we wouldn’t want the international community to do to us.
Psychologically, Russia’s strengthened grip on the East has a psychological effect on us. It will give the BRICS group bigger balls to command a bigger voice in how the world is run. It is a challenge that I hope will balance the status quo in the future, after all the group is more representative of the world’s people – black, white, Indian, East Asian, and Latin American. No, son, Japanese are considered Honourary Whites, so they don’t really count as non-white.
This is the first of what I hope will be the frequency of my posts, updates on what I found interesting during the past week. The highlights where last Thursday and Saturday. If you notice in between those days, it was Valentine’s Day. I’m not into that. Okay, maybe I am, but I don’t really have anyone to enjoy it with. Last Friday though, I was recovering from a massive hangover from the night before. Luckily, it only kicked in after work, so shit only got real when I got home…, slept for four hours, and got some studying going.
The Thursday I was with my friend from high school whom was here with her boo for the State of the Nation, and get in touch with her family because this lovely couple is getting married soon.