Facebook is buzzing with people and organisations congratulating the South African Olympic Gold medallist. To date, we got 3 gold medals. Just before the Olympics started, we celebrated old President Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday and most of South Africa did their 67 minutes of charity. The World celebrated with us! The weekend after Madiba’s birthday, Ernie Els won the British Open and thereafter the Protea Cricket team also did well in England!
It feels good when your country does well and we are proud of these achievements, but ….
Is this national pride enough to keep me in South Africa?
I regularly read the articles AND the comments on the websites of Facebook, News24, YOU, Carte Blanche, various news sites, etc. If something bad or scandalous happens in South Africa, then people want to emigrate, they criticize the government and want to see heads roll. For example the “toilet scandal” a few years back and now the school textbook scandal in Limpopo.
The moment something good happens, like our golden medals, then only is the government doing everything right and those who want to leave this country must be crazy, because look how well we are doing! Look how this is bringing our nation together again, just like the ’95 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 Soccer World Cup in SA!
Now, while the country is on a “high” with our achievements at the Olympics, people are making comments and say we are stupid, unpatriotic and ridiculous to want to emigrate! I have heard that we do not have pride in our county and are not patriotic!
Let me tell you … I get goose bumps every time I hear our national anthem during the Olympics or at other sports events. I get tears in my eyes, looking at our beautiful flag which flies proudly at the Olympics. Our family are glued to the TV and we cheer every South African on! We celebrated Madiba’s birthday by doing our bit for charity. We watched as Ernie won the British Open. We get up early and go to bed late to support our sport teams. During the Soccer World Cup build up, we proudly wore our yellow soccer jerseys – EVERY Soccer Friday. We are proud of our Cricket team and we are sad that Mark Boucher got hurt and had to retire!
BUT …. The fact that we are proud of our nations achieve are not going to give my children the future they deserve. It will not ensure a decent job for them. National pride does not give me safety and security. National Pride does not make people drive better or be more patient with each other on the South African Roads. It does not make politicians and other business people commit less crime and corruption. It does not improve the quality of education. It will not ensure my kids a chance to partake in the Olympic Games one day, because quotas may eliminate them!
The nation pride I have for South Africa are being slashed with each known street name change, with each city/town name change. It gets diminished by giving my kids a curriculum which does not prepare them for the future. The lawlessness, corruption and unfairness in this country are killing the nation pride I really want to experience.
Dear friends and family who are telling me that we do not have pride in SA and that we are unpatriotic, please tell me how much is left over to feel patriotic about? Yes, we do have some achievements, but these have to live in the shadow of a nation which is falling apart. I will always love South Africa, but that love is limited to the memories of a country which once was ….