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

CityPress - - Voices -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.