Trying to Survive

In Opinion, Reaching A Higher Level by Marelise Prinsloo Jacob

There is a song that goes: “And I can see you standing there, wanting more from me, but all I can do is try.” I suppose that is all most of us can say, we try, because we hope.

We hope that all our efforts will one day pay off, we hope that our loved one – once we finally find him, will stay near us. Most of all I think we hope for happiness.

A long time ago, when South Africa was country living in isolation, people had to make their own way, create their own standards. With politics constricting even art, it was hard to be an individual, to be someone who had an opinion.

But human beings never were much impressed with the idea of being told what to do, how to do it and when.

Today South Africa is a free democracy, but things are still hard. With poverty, AIDS and transformation ruling the political scene, there is little room anything else. Yet people still try, the entrepreneurial spirit has never been so vibrant, and even though this is a good thing, it is still a telling sign of the current situation.

Badly implemented affirmative action, nepotism and corruption are only a few things keeping the ill-equipped in, and the talented, hard-working out. Not only does this cause an increasing negative atmosphere amongst the youth, it also halters a countries growth.

With managing directors who barely finished high school in charge of sanitation, security and health care, it is hardly a surprise when people start dying of typhoid.

In all fairness, the finger of blame should probably be pointed a little higher. A health minister with a dubious doctors degree obtained from a dubious, somewhat obscure university somewhere in Russia, is not always the best example to follow.

Practically denying the existence of AIDS in a country riddled with the virus, the minister is not setting herself up for getting the Role Model of the Year award. Instead she encourages the poor and infected living HIV to eat the African Potato, claiming this will help their plight.

And then she is surprised when doctors and nurses leave the country for a better work environment, and a little sanity.

Occupational therapists, speech therapists, dentists, physiotherapists; they are exiting the country in droves, leaving the hospitals overflowing with patients, basically in the hands of third-rate substitutes.

Some brave and loyal – perhaps even patriotic – doctors choose to stay, knowing full well they are the absolute only hope patients have to stay alive. With electrical power and water supply not always there, medical supplies stolen or undelivered and dirty hospitals, public state hospitals have become a disaster area.

The rich and middle-class who are lucky to have medical aid and perhaps can afford to be taken to a private hospital are still ensured of proper medical care.

However, it is the majority of the countries population who are suffering under the complete incompetence of a minister and government who seem to take no notice at all.

Perhaps they are noticing, they’re just turning a very unsympathetic eye. By cutting subsidies for children’s homes and homes for the elderly, they are causing a problem everyone knows they are not intending to fix.

It is a disgrace and a disappointment to witness the indifference the South African government is showing towards their people. Hiding behind excuses like “It’s Apartheids’ fault” is just not working anymore.

Private corporations and institutions do all they can to help communities in need, but most times the need is greater than even they can provide for.

All we can do is to try, even in face of cold, uncaring individuals who line their pockets with funds not meant for their personal bank account. That is all we can do.

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