Thousands gave their lives for the sake of freedom and democracy. Their blood flowed down the river of time and meandered into the voting lines of hope in ’94. The lamenting cry of anguish and pain turned to an ululation of joy and hope when the first democratically elected president declared

“...Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign! The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement”

For months every second conversation, debate and even joke was politically charged and pointed towards Mangaung. Now that the curtain has been drawn we ask what the real perturb in the nation was.

When schools are closing down for whatever reason; the sun is setting. When books are thrown away into the veld and dams instead of pupils’ desks; the sun is setting. When toilets and basic sanitation are a source of dehumanisation; the sun is setting. When all of these unnecessary injustices engulf us, the thawing sunshine of freedom fast becomes the dim light of dusk introducing a long and cold night. Moreover, we just might find ourselves being the skunk of the world again. Where has it gone wrong? Might I suggest, that the source is in our political leadership as a whole, both ruling and opposition parties. 

It’s a sad day indeed when a country that is by all means meant to be the beacon of hope and justice to the continent and indeed the world can be spoken of as, “…losing its sense of direction, and that, we are allowing ourselves to progress towards a costly disaster of a protracted and endemic general crisis…” - T. Mbeki

May all our politicians, never forget the shoulders of the great men and women they stand upon. May they remember that these men and women are great not because they made great speeches, and did politics well, rather because they were selfless and servant-hearted in their leadership. Their sole focus was on serving the people. I wonder how many parliamentarians today could sincerely echo the titanic words of Nelson Mandela and say that they are working for the people and if need be, they are prepared to die. Extreme? No. A servant leader for the people. On receiving the Nobel peace prize, Albert Luthuli said, “...Happily I am but one among millions who have dedicated their lives to the service of humankind, who have given in time, property and life to ensure that all men shall live in peace and happiness...”

Decades have come and gone, yet still we hold in high regard our leaders past such as John Langalibalele Dube, Albert Luthuli, O.R Tambo, Nelson Mandela and endless is the list. Selfless servitude is the common cord that binds them together. In 50 years time I wonder what qualities we will speak of when we speak of our current political leaders.

South Africa, our motherland, is a great country; Its beauty unparalleled, its history unique, its people inspirational and as a whole brimming with potential. We need, nay, we demand leaders who grasp this core truth and who fight tooth and nail to set this great nation on the course it was always meant to be on. En route to greatness. It’s our destiny, it’s our calling and it’s our duty.

Bind yourselves with the very same cord of selfless servitude that has marked our great leaders past and maybe you might also enter the hall of fame and your name stand amongst the great. Right now you are galloping in the wrong direction.