Five Cent Piece – Foot-In-Mouth

Commentary by Kyle Cowan

Five Cent Piece sat and pondered (this happens more often than not) over the weekend, while witnessing a rather spectacular meltdown from Zelda la Grange.

Zelda was the secretary to the late Nelson Mandela for a number of years, and recently publised a book of her experiences under Madiba’s administration.

She took to Twitter, the favourite rant-a-therapy social media site for the poor and famous alike, and expressed her views on some rather contentious comments by President Jacob Zuma.

It was a game of foot in mouth for all involved. Jay-Zee was first off the line, dropping this little gem, ‘All the trouble started when Jan van Riebeeck landed in 1652’.

The trouble he’s referring to? All the mismanagement and scandal that have enveloped his reign in the supreme seat. Or is it pressure from the media and some terribly funny cartoons slamming his blunders down into the history books for all to see?

It appears Ms La Grange took this to heart, and not in an inspirational kind of motivational quote way. She got ticked off, and jumped on the information super highway without bothering to check if her vehicle was roadworthy.

Yip, Foot-In-Mouth had her searching for the thesaurus as she lashed out at the Pres. The statements made by President Zuma made her feel ‘white people were not welcome in South Africa’.

The debate continued with many SA members of the media and politicians responding to her numerous Tweets regarding the issue.

She was campaigning for equality, undoubtedly. But one must remember that when it comes to issues of race and divisions due to skin colour, South Africa has a bit of a bumpy track record.

It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to see citizens of our country as some of the most racist in the world. Many, many moons ago some folks decided folks with a different skin colour were less human, and deserved fewer privileges.

The debate on the idea behind Apartheid can continue for days, weeks. Fundamentally, it was wrong. The new generation has accepted this.

Our forefathers made some mistakes, of this there is no doubt. But the way Five Cent Piece sees it, some very blatant and obvious mistakes are being made today.

For better or worse, skin colour aside, we are all human. And we are all making mistakes and learning from them. Well, some people learn while others just drop the standards, but hey, at least our Matrics are passing now. Sort of.

As the politics tend to spin out of control, it has become rather obvious that the fastest way to get the ruling party to respond to anything is to criticise the President. They are showing us solidarity, even if the institution has a crumbling façade.

We, the voters must very soon again make a small mark on a piece of paper. Why? Because after all, this country is still a democracy. Well, barely. At least with a vote we get to choose who we are going to blame for the failure of a nation for the next few years.

Kyle Cowan

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