I'm Feeling A Little Glum

Someone last night said to me they had recently stumbled upon my blog, and now dedicate Fridays to reading it for their weekly laugh. That made my day. But Bron, I’m sorry, today is not going to be one of those days.

You see, I’m feeling pretty glum. It could be the late night and lack of sleep, it could be the preggy hormones, or it could be that for the first time my rose tinted view of South Africa is less rosy, and more realistic.

Last night we went to go watch Alan Committie at the Pieter Torien theatre at Montecasino. If you haven’t watched him live, do yourself a favour and buy a ticket- he is true comic gold.

As with all South African comedy shows, the majority of the fodder is always based on real life events in SA – load shedding, Zuma, crime and the ANC. We go there to laugh, because the state of affairs in this country make it so much easier to do so – we as South Africans are forced to find the humour in what is becoming a rapidly deteriorating country. At one point Alan turned to the audience and said “But despite it all, we truly have one of the most beautiful countries in the world, right?” and the audience cheered and cheered. Normally I would have joined in, louder than them all, but last night, I couldn’t.

Have you driven up and down our roads lately? Have you seen the rubbish, the mess, the weeds, the derelict buildings and the taxi ranks? Unless you travel by helicopter, you too would have been stuck for hours on end during load shedding, wondering why the robots weren’t solar powered (it’s a crime issues you see). You, like me, may have also seen pedestrians get knocked over, motorbike accidents and car accidents ranging from irritating bumper bashings to body bags. When you finally reach your destination you too may have had to use a bottle of water to wash your hands and rely on a generator or gas stove to cook your food.

In December we drove to Port Alfred. The carnage on our roads has me debilitated to such a point that for 11 and a half hours I could not close my eyes – even as a passenger – because I had the irrational thought that unless there were 2 sets of eyes on the road at all times, something dreadful would happen.

Coupled with this, our recent incident has left me paralysed with fear when driving home, and pulling in to my own driveway is now a mute-radio,unclip-seatbelt-watch-gate-close-whiles-keeping-an-eye-out-for-suspicious-activity process. And that’s during daylight! I wont even go to gym or out at night unless I’m driving with my husband. This weekend I’m home alone and I’ve already planned to be locked up indoors by 6pm.

All this while Zuma makes a mockery of what used to be my favourite place in the entire world, Robert Mugabe memes and load shedding schedules flood my Facebook feed and I pee in the office bathrooms with a torch because we have no power.

I suppose my entire view has shifted because it’s no longer just about me. In 100 days or less I am having a baby, and that baby is going to be born into an environment where I don’t know if I can fetch him from creche on time because I may or may not be stuck behind a dead traffic light. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to heat his room in winter or protect him from a taxi playing chicken at a 4-way stop. I don’t know if I will be able to walk him in his pram in my street without holding my breath, and I don’t know if I will find him a school we can afford where textbooks aren’t burnt and the teachers aren’t on strike.

So excuse me friends, for I am feeling fucking glum. I hope it lifts and I hope my fleeting thoughts of emigration fade very quickly. Because if there is one thing worse than the way I’m feeling today, it’s the thought of moving to a place where I don’t have my family and friends by my side.

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  1. So well put! We came back to the land of milk and honey without blinkers, five years ago in July; and things are bad…. But still better thank living indoors for eight months of the year and with NO family around…. With a 10 year UK experience – it is going to have to get really really bad for us to dust off our little purple passports again – the question is how bad is really really bad…..? Hoping you have a “happy” weekend x

  2. So sad but so true Kate.. I always thought I would love to have kids one day..until I looked around a week or so ago and feared for the safety, environment and “state of the nation” i may one day have to bring a child into.. It sent chills through me. Hopefully the gloom and doom will dissipate but the reality of the situation is unfortunately inescapable. A friend and I were talking yesterday about how de-sensitized we are as South Africans. Every other person we know has been hijacked, broken into, robbed, defrauded or has some or other horror story to tell and as South Africans we have become so uncomfortably comfortable that we sit back and accept that it just is the way it is…

  3. I think we all go through something like this, perhaps the leves are different, but the concerns are about the same or weigh as much as everyone else. I don’t live in a place in which the brake is so broadly seen, but if we were to stop and look around, we could easily point out just how broken this place really is. The school systems are falling apart, there is no place for children to have fun or learn, the programs that we do have cost to much so parents are forced to turn to other things, and most of the time they don’t look eye to eye so their kids are more than likely going to spend time alone with their siblings if they have siblings.

    It is tough to think about being pregnant and having our eyes open to all the awful in the world. By the same token, is good to think that we can attempt to change the way in which our world is turning by teaching our children, and those around us to make it better. It takes time, and a lot of love. There is good in all the rubbish, it’s just hard to find.sometimes.

  4. Life is really tough in SA at the moment but we have to educate every person we come across to vote with their brains and not their hearts. I will ensure that you and your family are safe even if we go and live on the sniff of an oil rag in Bela Bela.

  5. Received another humorous email pertaining to the state of the nation a couple days ago. I clicked to open, then hit “delete” before reading it completely. There is no longer a funny side to see; it’s beyond a joke. People need to wake up. I’m returning in April for a friends wedding (lived in the UK for the last 12 years – left a year after high school); I’ve not been back in 4 years… When I think about South Africa I immediately feel an old anxiety and a sadness. I think it will be the last time I see my once beloved homeland. The WORLD is in trouble but South Africa is on the precipice…

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