There is a remarkably unique culture of resistance in South Africa which basically works like this:
The price of a train ticket goes up by 50c – annual increase. Because they have to pay R10 instead of R9-50 now, a group of unhappy citizens, usually representing a particular segment of our population, decide to set fire to the train. This causes severe delays, extensive damage and a complete disruption of the system. The arsonists are angry, because they have to take the train to work. If it wasn’t for apartheid, we would live in a land of milk and honey where nobody ever worked, everybody had a house and a BMW and satellite television and food and clothes for free. But apartheid is the reason why we must all work and all travel to work.
In order to compensate for the damage Transnet will eventually have to increase the ticket price again, but when that comes we blame Jan van Riebeeck and burn another train.
In the meantime the train which we have burned just now, does not run tomorrow morning. Children are late for school so the parents go to the school and insist that the school now provide transportation. When the principal explains that he cannot possibly arrange that, the parents instruct the children to boycott school. They will eventually not pass their exams at the end of the year, but the department of education will promote them nonetheless because they, the 14 year olds, are the victims of the poor education system which Hendrik Verwoerd ran 40 years ago. When they don’t find employment because they have a qualification but not an education, they won’t be concerned because the government will see to it that companies employ them through BEE legislation even though they hold a phone upside down when answering it and cross the road when the little man is red because they cannot distinguish between colours. And if not even Affirmative Action and BEE can assure them of a job, they join the ranks of the 17 million on social benefits – good money for sleeping late.
The rest of the train’s passengers are also upset because the train is not running this morning. They now have to take a taxi which would cost even more. Inside the taxi are three Somalians on their way to the market with their stock of sunglasses and cell phone chargers. The unhappy passengers, who burned the train the previous day, decide that the Somalians are to blame and turn upon the three. Xenophobic violence breaks out. In the process someone notices a MTN of Vodacom shop nearby, conveniently situated right next door to a bottle store!
How dare those colonialists open such shops?! Oh wait, they didn’t open it. They stole it from the black man. So let’s loot it!
Eventually the remaining would-be passengers of the never-to-arrive burned out train wreck decide that someone must be blamed and therefore they arrange a stay-away action for the staff of the match company and factory because the company made the matches which were used to set fire to the train.
And nobody ever stops to think: Maybe it is not such a good idea to burn the train….
By: Daniel Lötter/Front National SA