equipping people to be
pursuing eXcellence through
the right Behaviour,
at the right Time,
for the right People©
The symptom of a dysfunctional country; evidence that ‘the state’ is no longer in charge – that the wild west is the norm – a person with a gun has the space to take a life, wantonly.
A multitude of evidences indicate that South Africa is teetering on the edge of a precipice. It takes no voyeur or social pundit or futurist to find sufficient data points to draw a trend line.
In the past 25 years scenario planners of many persuasions have offered their views of high roads and low roads and those between. The high road, it seems, has been missed; that option was too tough to tackle for enough people and institutions to ensure it happened.
Not enough of us cared sufficiently, it seems; we thought it would happen on its own. But, nothing left to luck ever brings good fortune.
Big jobs require big efforts, and we were all too lazy, indifferent, shifting the responsibility and making hay while the sun still shone.
The veritable chickens are coming home to roost. These chickens are nasty, voracious, and callous. What were then too big and too difficult are now monstrous, and they have gathered about them new torments.
And we have less resources, energy, and appetite for slogging and slaying these monstrosities too. To boot, the world beyond our borders has also changed; we have lost our lustre and they are busy with their own mischief.
We are on our own.
It reminds me so much of the advisory attributed to Martin Niemöller; where he warned that our silence and apathy, when matters are small or don’t touch us, end up being at our front door sooner than we imagine. I have taken some license to adjust Mr Niemöller’s phrases.
First they came for the Socialists [the Wealthy, the Disapproving, the Foreigners], and I did nothing –
Because I was not a Socialist [one of them].
Then they came for the Trade Unionists [the Landowners, the Capitalists, the Academics]; and I still did nothing –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist [one of them].
Then they came for the Jews [those that look different]; and I did nothing again –
Because I was not a Jew [did not look different].
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to do anything for me.
You will see from my writing and work on Influential Leadership and https://www.karoo.world that I am an avid mountain biker. I recharge my life on my bike. When something negative happens to another cyclist it feels like it happens to me.
I have been bike-jacked three times, losing a bike once and escaping the other occasions. I understand the experience.
I started with the motto – I ride when and where I like, then I am free. In the 12 years I have been pedalling my freedom to ride when and where I like has been halved – due to lawlessness. I have gone from solo rides all over the countryside around Pretoria to group rides, and then group rides in a few supposedly safer areas.
I have long resisted being driven into enclosed spaces to cycle, for what is supposed to be safety. But, even these enclosed areas in and around Pretoria have fallen foul of this scourge too. Fountains Valley is as good as committing suicide by stabbing. Groenkloof has followed suit and is treacherous at best. The Klapperkop Reserve is now so prone to attacks that it too is unsafe and is shut up overnight.
The folk in Johannesburg have created fantastic sets of off-road trails around the Cradle of Humankind. Some skirt the tar roads and should be as safe as anything feasible. But, they seemingly are not. I am unsure if there is some form of absurdity at work here that in our supposed place of origin, we have not progressed beyond our forebearers’ behaviours.
When we are driven into our homes and studios to pedal on machines we shall recall the bygone era of riding when and where we like.
However, the story does not end here.
Karoo is not essentially about the problem. Yes, we need to understand it, but that is only to find suitable solutions.
The Karoo calling is for the bulk of people to take a stand; to turn around their own behaviours and exercise Influential Leadership – at home, at work, at play and anywhere else.
If I do the right thing, and you do, and our friends do, soon we’ll have enough mass to turn the floundering ship around. If we don’t, there is none other who will do it; there is no rescue party – it is you and me and her and him…
The cyclist who took three bullets from a savage, the children who have been abandoned by absent teachers in a cr@ap education system, the elderly and infirm who have been killed by uncaring hospital staff, the consumers who are fleeced by profit crazed business managers, the drivers who run traffic lights – all of us must take stock.
When we look back; when the next generation looks back – what shall we and they see and experience?
Will we say we did the best we could? Will we live in the kind of South Africa that we would like to? Who are we going to blame for failures and the mess we may be in?
There is no inevitability in anything; only if we do nothing. I refuse to do nothing, and I cannot get away with the argument that it is someone else’s problem. It is a collective problem, and it requires a collective solution.
The fact is, ‘a country is the way it is, because the citizens are the way they are’. Every South African citizen, business, and organisation has the opportunity to take stock, and do the right things.
Image source. The Krugersdorp News website: https://krugersdorpnews.co.za/361926/cyclist-shot-cradle-humankind/
Words cannot even describe such a despicable act – one of a sub-human nature. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Similar incidents of wanton destruction take place on a daily basis.
My view is that these incidents have become part of the fabric of our society. This is one of the reasons why we as individuals are prone to become blazais and numb towards any attempt at addressing these evils.
The solution? – well I am of the opinion that we are beyond the point of return. Even if there were leaders who rise to the challenge of influencing peoples behaviour for the better there will be no change for the better . The tendency for human beings to do evil is so deeply entrenched in hearts and minds that even if there were true influencial leaders in all walks of life it would take decades if not generations to turn the tide.
This does not mean that we as individuals must not attempt to change behavior through applying our influence as leaders. We can and must be the agents of change wherever possible. Like the words of the song go: “If we had an enemy greater than our apathy we could have won.”
Another song from yesteryear warned us of the impending tragedy which in essence of our own doing: “That’s my boy American son. Hope I’m not around when he gets the idea to buy a gun… Hope we’re not to blame when he gets the idea to kill someone… His life’s been broken by an enemy. Raised on MTV, raised on you and me.”
Although the songwriter refers to America the scenario depicted is a universal one.
A brutalised society like that in South Africa, has no respect for the rule of law or for human life – let alone the leaders trying to influence their behaviour for the better. Cry the beloved country…