Look who’s telling us to be optimistic!

Are you an optimist or are you a pessimist? Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? I am asking this because of our President’s recent call for us to start seeing the positives about this country instead of focusing on the negatives. The President made this call while addressing South African businessmen who were attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

On Tuesday Sdumo Dlamini, the President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), reiterated this call on an interview conducted on SAFM. What these political leaders are asking from us is for a little bit of patriotism. It seems that some of us are just about ready to throw in the towel as far as this country is concerned.

When I listened to Mr Dlamini I remember thinking that he is not the best candidate to speak to South Africans about optimism. It is after all him and those of his ilk who invoke in most of us a sense of despair and resignation. Our current crop of politicians does not inspire a lot confidence in my opinion. Many of them are mired in corruption and the abuse of power.

The Minister of Public Works, Thulas Nxesi, has released the report on the upgrade of President Zuma’s home in Nkandla. The report does confirm that over R200 million has been spent on improving the security around the President’s private home. The first citizen must be in a lot of danger for such an amount to be spent securing him and his family.

I suspect that this report does not help to fill up your optimism tank. How about the fact that a South African commercial bank has to fend off accusations of treason from the reactionary ruling party? I do not think that helps either. What about our country’s crime levels or the fact that in 2011 our politicians are reported to have spent R4.7 billion on entertainment, catering and travel allowances?

What about the fact that we do not really have a functioning government in SA without the help of highly paid consultants? In three years we have spent over R100 billion on these so-called consultants because of the lack of requisite skills inside government. These consultants have become a mini government on their own and the strange thing is that some of them were once employed by government but left the state and then came back to their “jobs” albeit at a much higher pay.

Now where is the sense of patriotic duty in that? Bear in mind that most people who get the lion’s share of business from government are those who have political links to the ruling party. It is easy to spot these ones. They often demonstrate nauseating levels of crass materialism that let you know that nothing matters to them but themselves.

You have people who have been in business (if I can call it that) for a few years and yet can afford far more than those who have been trading for a longer period. That would be fine if the new “entrepreneurs” were smarter and worked harder but that is not the case. They do business based on who they know and not what they know.

I am not trying to deplete whatever level of optimism you might have had. But I am trying to show you that politics is the very reason many people are pessimistic. We need something new then, something different. What could that be except the Kingdom of God?

I have coffee today with a guy called Kobus (I did not get his last name) and I thought how else could you get a guy called Afrika and Kobus sitting together for a coffee unless this is under the auspices of God’s kingdom. It is only God — not our political persuasions — that can unite us.. I am an optimist but only because I am filled with God’s Spirit and not political rhetoric.

Can I tell you something? If you are pessimistic it is because you are not doing enough praying. God is very optimistic about our nation and this is because He has plans for us. There is a redemptive purpose He has for our country.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you, Afrika, for expressing our Source of optimism and drawing us to the action of prayer:) Those facts make the glass half full!

  2. Optimism is not something one can switch on, or conjure up on the simple belief that “God has plans … redemptive purpose for SA”. As with the nation of Israel (e.g. Deuteronomy 28), so with every nation on earth, God’s plans are CONDITIONAL. My study of Scripture, confirmed by research in specific nations, gives the conditions for Political Optimism: e.g. Jeremiah 9:23,24 “Kindness, Justice and Righteousness in Humility” = KJR in H. Combing the Bible, I find more Scriptures referring to these national Values than even to issues of our personal salvation. As Josiah discovered, “all goes well” with a KJR in H nation (Jer. 22:15,16). This must be the case, for Kindness, Justice and Righteousness are sourced in God’s own governance of the universe, and Humility happens when we “know God” as that kind of God. National success is a God-designed Consequence of KJR in H. All our repentance and prayer (2 Chron 7:14) must be based and directed by KJR in H principles. Governments are meant to be “God’s Servants” (Rom 13:4) delegated to rule as God rules – with KJR in H. No national blessing can be expected unless Governments rule with KJR in H, as God requires them to.