Beware the Ides of March!

Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France before being overthrown by revolutionaries and being publicly guillotined following the abolition of the monarchy in France, is famously attributed for the almost brazen quote, “Quils mangent de la brioche” – traditionally translated as “let them eat cake”.

Her utterance was the result of the hubris of the aristocracy that believed in their invincibility and perpetuity of rule.

And as we know, the rest is history.

South Africa, the god child of the world in 1994 was petted, pampered and praised for a near miracle that happened on 27 April of that year, as she transitioned from apartheid to freedom and democracy, sometimes dubbed as a “bloodless coup”.

It was neither bloodless nor was it a coup.

Brave people paid the ultimate price for those invisible yet inalienable rights and indeed, much blood was lost in the run-up to that fateful day.

But as we fast-track to current day South Africa, there is a disturbing and turbulent undercurrent of dissatisfaction that is whirlpooling (not in the liquour sense) the social fabric of the country.

The once vaunted ANC which led the country in the so-called “Struggle”, with the help of countless others, has become a fragile and whimpering political organization, desperately parrying to hold on to power.

South Africa, from being the continent’s economic bread basket is struggling to juggle the fiscal ball so that citizens can enjoy a semblance of that “better life for all” that was once promised.

Is it not strange that that slogan has been shelved into a dark corner by the ANC in the last two decades?

As a patriot of this country, I find every excuse to be positive – to even palliate the dwindling confidence I have, but I am fast running out of options, only because those who govern are really not capable governors of a country that is demanding so much.

Untethered rise in crime, escalating unemployment, unbridled corruption, poor management, bureaucratic thuggery, racial divisions, BBBEE, and many other appetising incredients are adding to the recipe for possible civil war in South Africa.

Daily protests on the streets are reflective of what could well be a ripple ready to turn into a tidal wave.

South Africa thus far has never had a single president who successfully completed two terms in office – in a country that taugh the world how to create an unimaginable democracy at one stage, yet has failed to muster the confidence in its highest leadership.

That in itself speaks volumes!

The level of dissidence from all quarters is on an exponential rise and there are no guardrails in place to even remotely suggest that our leadership can rise to the occasion when called upon.

The government must never underestimate the power of the people – Iran and Sri Lanka, to name but two countries, have shown that the level of tolerance is bearable only to an extent.

The popular voice of an angry people will trigger anger and resistance and when such anger reaches boiling point, then all hell will break loose.

The ANC, in its fantasy world wore its principles as armour – today it struggles to even spell the world and it is as if after 1994, it became like a dog that caught the car.

It is true that the majority of South Africans are peaceful, non-violent , law-abiding citizens but the tolerance of any man can be tested when confronted by arrogance, abuse and the perversion of power.

That should be a clear warning that the clouds on the horizon are darkening and only the hyocrites clutch their pearls and faint when the truth is spoken.

Frustrations daily on all fronts raise the emotional barometric mercury even the most stoic amongst us, and it is apparent that the governors of this country and its citizens are out of kilter.

That spells disaster – sooner rather than later.

A civil war in South Africa is not far off – we may have managed to stave one off one prior to 1994 but the clarion call is being made everyday – that the time is coming when the people will rise and act in their masses.

Metaphorically speaking, the power hungry men and women of South Africa should beware the Ides of March!


Narendh Ganesh

Global Indian Correspondent – South Africa


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