Recently, on a hot afternoon in Cape Town, I decided to brave the local radio stations on my drive home from work. That day was the day the SABC ‘elite’ walked out on Parliament – a smug-looking Motsoeneng followed by his acolytes committed an act of contempt against Parliament by refusing to take part in the SABC Inquiry.

It was in fact a grave affront to Parliament not only because of their utter cheek but also because the SABC Inquiry is one of the most united, non-partisan efforts Parliament has engaged in for some time – in short, a united Parliament is a strong Parliament and that means the arm of Legislature will likely crush Motsoeneng and his entourage flat.

I turned up the radio to catch a few seconds of discussion on the ‘walk out’, completely unprepared for what would come after, the hostess chuckled and said in a sing-song sunshine voice, ‘Ag, never a dull moment hey!’. It took me a couple of seconds to register that I had, in fact, heard what I had heard. The sheer stupidity of it shook me, the fact that someone in the public eye and in the same industry could so easily dismiss what is clearly a serious attack on the freedom of communication, on fair and unbiased broadcasting and reporting: the sentinel of every democratic system in history.

Upon reflection, I realised, that we South Africans do not love our country any longer, we moan, and whine, but for the most part our energies fall to apathetic levels. Give a scandal a couple of months and we forget. Give an idiot the job of conveying the gravity of the attacks on our democratic institutions and we hear them make a flippant remark – a remark which starkly shows, in reality, how out of touch we are with the liberation movement. The liberation movement does not belong to the ANC, or to me or to you, but us all. The crumbling of the ANC liberation movement is the outward sign of a corresponding inward decay in every South African.

 Our hopes, for those who care, lie on the shoulders of NGOs, and opposition parties, but rarely with the people themselves. The recent student protests highlighted this disconnect: they attacked the institutions and not the Government. They abused race relations and strengthened racial divides instead of unifying themselves. They attempted to attack the foundations of Science with rhetoric that was distressingly reminiscent of the Nazi’s contempt for ‘Jewish Science’. They failed most of all to reenact the bravery of their alumni who did not fight for themselves but fought for those who could not fight and who had no voice.

This selfishness has spread like cancer in our country. 2009 has metastasized throughout our democratic body and the incumbent ‘Zuma tumor’ is exploiting it, it is clearly in their interests to keep us divided. Whites do not particularly care, those that are skilled or wealthy enough are leaving the country in droves – hampered only by Home Affairs. Whites, in general, are ipso facto racists, blacks are not (there is a large ‘desperate’ corpus devoted to defending black on white racism). Indians don’t even get an honourable mention (let’s ignore the G-word for now). What utter madness!

In this Christmas season, everyone is worrying about food, and clothes, and beaches, and holidays. We spend exorbitantly on ourselves but nothing on our country (I am not talking about what is ‘stolen’ from Tax revenue).

Imagine if we had enough liberation spirit left in us to start a public fund to pay prosecutorial services to hunt and combat those forces which seek to take our liberty from us? Is it too much or too late to ask for us to get a grip?

Imagine the power of a revived and renewed liberation movement, the people’s movement, for the people and by the people.

Whine, whine, whine, the beloved country.

By Brad Austin