Back in South Africa after moving to London in May, helps me see the country through foreign eyes – a novel but exhilarating experience. Mainly: if there are better value-for-money destinations on earth, I’ve yet to discover them; and service levels in customer-facing sectors hold their own with the best anywhere.
As a young democracy, though, SA is struggling to remember such advantages. Instead, it is preoccupied with too many deployed cadres, too many snouts plundering the public trough, realities which weigh heavily on the national psyche.
My favourite historian, Paul Johnson, has spent his considerable lifetime researching the development of nations. His conclusion is heartening: “A civil society based on a degree of consent has enormous reserves. It can survive setbacks and learn from them. It has a sense of righteousness which breeds determination and, if necessary, unparalleled ferocity. This is one of the most comforting lessons history teaches us. The resources of civilisation are not easily exhausted.”
So arise refreshed. South Africa is a civilised country. The fight against those who would turn it into a wasteland of crony-driven corruption will prevail. History proves it.