Seize ‘Thuma Mina’ mo­ments


oon after he was an­nounced as pres­i­dent, Cyril Ramaphosa ut­tered his now well-known “Thuma Mina” state­ment. The state­ment was de­rived from Hugh Masekela’s song with the same ti­tle, trans­lated to mean “Send Me.”

The mes­sage was clear – a call for an ac­tive cit­i­zenry where peo­ple would make pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions to the wel­fare of their coun­try. It is a sim­i­lar mes­sage to that ut­tered by the late John F Kennedy in his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress as the Pres­i­dent of the United States of Amer­ica in 1960: “Ask not what your coun­try can do for you, ask what you can do for your coun­try.”

Our coun­try is on a tightrope. Crime lev­els are hor­rific, un­em­ploy­ment rates are sky-high, the econ­omy is not do­ing well (to put it mildly) and pol­i­tics are of­ten down­right dirty with much fo­cus on race-bait­ing and the re­sul­tant sow­ing of the seeds of di­vi­sion.

What we can do is take to so­cial me­dia and moan. In­deed, some of us do this very well, but what does it ac­com­plish? About the same as burn­ing build­ings, trucks and equip­ment. It does not cre­ate jobs, it does not bring about de­vel­op­ment or change, it

Sdoes not re­solve is­sues and it cer­tainly does not build a pros­per­ous coun­try. Both ac­tions might make you feel bet­ter for an hour or so, but that’s about it.

We need to find bet­ter ways to build – not break down – this coun­try. That in­cludes reach­ing out to one an­other and mak­ing things work.

There are a myr­iad of ways we can all make a dif­fer­ence - not lit­ter­ing, not il­le­gally dump­ing refuse, keep­ing live­stock off the roads (if you have any), keep­ing your pave­ment clean, pay­ing your mu­nic­i­pal ac­count (and yes, then hold­ing the lo­cal au­thor­ity ac­count­able for how money is spent, but in a le­gal way), re­fus­ing to buy stolen goods and to har­bour crim­i­nals, join­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion or a char­ity that does good (or start­ing your own), help­ing to ed­u­cate chil­dren or help­ing to start shel­ters for the homeless. . . There are enough “Thuma Mina” mo­ments out there to keep us all busy for a life­time.

The re­sult? A coun­try that works to­gether with an end re­sult of suc­cess, pros­per­ity and growth.

There should be enough peo­ple in­ter­ested in do­ing that – pos­si­bly more than the ones in­tent on goals which are not in the best in­ter­ests of SA.

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