One of the things I had intended for this blog when I started it was to use it as a vehicle for getting some of the stuff out of my head and down as writings. I think a lot about the world and the things that happen in it. I have always had trouble expressing the things that I think about while I'm working or tramping or gardening or even listening to music. I don't have the answers for the worlds ills and I am sometimes pretty cynical about society and humanity in general and sometimes pretty angry at some of the things I hear about. Of course, like most, I have opinions and Beliefs, not always well informed and I don't intend to be completely accurate with my writings, these will just be musings based on what I believe about the world based on my own experiences, media that I have been exposed and thoughts and beliefs that I have accumulated through my existing within the society I live in. It will be good practice getting my Ideas out into the world, I have things to say and just as much right to say them as any of the hatemongers, bigots, and fanatics who abuse their freedom of speech so much. Every day we receive information, from media, news programs, papers, magazines, TV, movies, books, songs, other people we interact with, social media, emails, phone calls and more and that information can trigger all sorts of thinking and sometimes emotions that influence our everyday existence. So with all so much going on around us and assaulting us from every direction, where do I start with my thoughts. How about these ones.
Last night I watched the movie"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" Not a bad movie, based on Mandela's autobiography, but not as powerful a document as I would have hoped for a great man. A movie like that certainly evokes plenty of emotion and thinking about the things that transpired and I could spend several days expressing all the thoughts that passed through my mind during and after the film. But the thought train I want to look at right now is what happened after Mandela became President of South Africa. In the movie, Mandela was quite uncompromising in his requirements for the Blacks in South Africa: Total abolishment of the Apartheid system, one vote for every person and no power sharing with the whites if the majority voted that way, with the Majority being overwhelmingly Black. For a liberal type like myself these conditions sounded fine, especially in light of the disgusting treatment the Blacks had been dealt for so long and indeed he got what he wanted, The presidency, the dismantling of Apartheid and universal suffrage. Great progress for South Africa and humankind in general, right? What I am thinking now though is how much better are things actually NOW in SA after more than 20 years of being Apartheid free. A quick perusal on Wikipedia reveals that of the 53 million population, 80% are black and that in 2009 the unemployment rate was nearly 24%. That is an incredible almost 13 Million people unemployed and I could quite comfortably predict that a very large majority of them are Black. The Poverty then will be pretty bad and from what I have head from various sources and again from Wikipedia, the crime rate is one of the worst in the world. So after 20 years of Black rule in South Africa, is the average Black any better off than he was before. Well they should have more freedom from political oppression(I would think) but what else? Sure there is now a much larger population of middle class Blacks but I suspect that many have come from the ones that were already educated before the dismantling of Apartheid, like Mandela himself, who was a lawyer. And apparently, there are more poor Whites now than there was before, but this is a trend all over the world. So I am wondering why is South Africa still in such a mess. I think it is good that the Black South Africans are running their own country, although if they are like most of the other Democracies of the world, the real power lies with the very rich elite. Which brings me to my simplifications of the current conditions in SA. Money. I seems to me that money and the current economic systems we work under really undermine any advancement of social gains. I suspect one of the first pressures Mandela and his government would have come under would have been to protect the wealth of the ultra rich White elite and even today SA is ranked in the top 10 countries of income inequality. Of course there are a huge number of other reasons why SA is in the state it is and it is not all bad but it just looks like another situation where humans seem almost incapable of finding solutions so that all their people can have some reasonable quality of life.