Never mind the Sparrows – let’s focus
Small-minded birds of a feather need to shoo so we can zero in on what matters, writes
The sparrow is a beautiful bird commonly found in the Americas and belongs to the passerine bird family. In its natural habitat it eats seeds and small insects. It is a small, plump, brown-grey bird with a short tail and a stubby powerful beak.
The human version of the Sparrow though ... yoh! It showed South Africans across the board how sharp its beak was when it violently woke us from our festive stupor, regurgitating and twittering racist insults.
You would be forgiven for thinking that in the beginning of a new season (said in a David Attenborough voice), the Sparrow would happily chirp a new tune. Perhaps a tune like that of a nightingale or a bluejay, but no! It was just a cacophonous repetition of trite, crass, old school bigotry. But then again – we have to ask pointedly – how can such a Sparrow full of misinformation be relevant even in its insults?
The lyric book it sings from is antediluvian, dusty and decrepit. It comes from a tired supremacist mantra that was meant to denigrate and turn us into the “other”, thus destroying our common humanity. When you allow yourself to become the “other”, you will spend every waking hour of your life trying to rebuild that wilting humanity.
While you are doing that, resources, opportunities, wealth, knowledge and joie de vivre are being stealthily removed or manipulated away from you.
There is no room in our inner or outer spaces for bigots. So yes, in light of her disruptive and puerile noises, we indeed do wish this Sparrow to shoo ... fly away or be caged! But more importantly, we want the Sparrow and any similar-feathered birds (which includes every kind of bigot) to get out of our way so we can deal with what we need to do every day to build this country and continent.
Wishing the Sparrow out of our space doesn’t mean we are capitulating, minimising or delegitimising the issues occasioned by it. We are flying high and above the face of the Sparrow, which is a trap that will lead us astray and unwittingly force us to machinate over selfindulgent attention-seekers.
By the way, bigots are everywhere, some in plain sight and some veiled. They come in all forms. Hence, in looking ahead to 2016, let us be a superinformed democratic collective that is shrewd and inquisitive about key issues in our country and on our continent. Let us keep our eyes on the ball.
For the past four years, our economy has decelerated, leaving many – particularly in the youth category – jobless, and the rand weakened. Disparities in education continue to beget inequality.
The e-tolling system (whose deadline for public submission on legislation classifying nonpayment of e-tolls as a fineable traffic offence was January 6), is set to impact numerous motorists who continue to reject the system.
The current drought is devastating and may render the country without adequate water and food. The nuclear procurement programme plan remains unclear and unconvincing on how feasible it is on all levels.
As a country, whether we like it or not, reconciled or not, we have reached a universal milestone by turning 21. Therefore, we have to be mature. Let’s not waste valuable time, which ought to be dedicated to making positive personal and political resolutions, on the Sparrows of this world.
Maketo-van den Bragt is an attorney, writer and businesswoman