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A Favourite Jersey


I was back home in South Africa recently, for both work and some holiday time. Whilst there it gave me time to reflect on the country as I had not been there for quite some time. Naturally everybody hones in on the topic of crime, however superficially things seem better on that front. Since the Soccer World Cup in 2010 something important has happened... visible policing!

To ally fears in 2010 the government increased the number of police on the ground, long overdue, and also started mass road blocks to catch not only those of us that have outstanding traffic fines but more importantly fellow countrymen who are wanted for other sorts of crimes.

There also appears to be a focus on the small crimes and enforcement, not just the murder/robbery categories which appears to be making all South Africans take notice and start obeying the law. In my social circle I can see the change in behaviour when it comes to drink driving, no longer will friends kid themselves they are ok to drive - taxi services had sprouted up to accommodate the late night revellers.

But it is something else that bothered me: The Infrastructure.

There appears to be little maintenance being done on suburban roads and facilities. Now I have spent a good deal of time travelling around Africa and one thing you always notice is how the British left behind great infrastructure that despite little to no upkeep is still serving these ex-colonies today, albeit not in the best visual shape.

So does this mean that in years to come people will reminisce about the good days in South Africa? Whilst walking around the neighbourhood with my wife we saw how the secondary roads are totally neglected and in a poor state of repair and despite my criticisms my wife chastised me for complaining about our country.

And that is when it struck me.... South Africa is like your favorite old jersey. You know the one with the holes coming through the elbow, or fraying out at the seems. The one which despite you putting in the laundry basket somehow keeps jumping into the trash can!! It does not matter how often your other half tries to get rid of it, you refuse to let go.

And that is how I currently sum up South Africa, it is warm and fuzzy and despite anyone telling you it is old and falling apart we cling on just because we love it.

But let us please realise that there will come a time, that unless we repair that jersey and add a patch or two here and there it will just crumble. So here is hoping that just like the police and emergency services got a boost, that the core infrastructure of the country will get a look in as well, we need to do this daily activity, before the task become insurmountable and given up upon.

[Grant Marais]

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