Our honourable leaders say that things aren’t that bad. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. Trade deficits and growth figures are analysed and explained.  Promises of job creation and GDP growth stimulation abound. Everyone with a computer and Wi-Fi dissect every word and every action and we complain like hell about increased taxes for a week or two after the Budget.  We moan and groan about the fuel price increases and rush to the filling station on Tuesday night to save R48.00 – and buy four Magnums at the convenience store for R 96.00 while waiting in the queue.  The monthly upwardly mobile grocery bill is a disgrace! The Jacobs and Douwe Egberts retailing for R 170.00 a Kg! Where is this going to end? But tomorrow is another day and when we wake up we will switch on the lights, run the water until it is hot enough.  Then we’ll get into our cars and drive to the gym.

En-route we see and don’t see the beggars at the traffic lights, the same ones we see every morning.  After gym, a quick shower and off to work we go.  After tea, it’s off to the physiotherapist to straighten out the kinks from overdoing it in the gym. That’s why we pay fortunes to the medical aid.  The atrocious conditions of the government hospitals the last thing on our minds, it is only the poor and the homeless that must deal with this should they require to be stitched up or need medication after another night out on the streets.

After work and driving home for a quick shower and change for dinner – the same beggars at the same traffic lights.  Why do these on the women sit with their feet in the street? And two, yes two! snotty toddler and a baby strapped to her back!  Coming back from the restaurant some of the beggars are now kneeling in the middle of the intersections, braving the cold and the wet, hoping for a last kind soul to hand them something. Damn fools, they will cause an accident or worse…

We listen to (and repeat) anecdotes about “millionaire beggars” and back home smile at the dogs as they come running to greet us, smelling the T-bone left-overs even before we are out of the Beamer.

The picture of beggars under cardboard box blankets or children kneeling in the middle of the road seems to recur when we look at the dinner bill with annoyance because even franchise restaurants are now charging R 190.00 for a steak! Why can’t these people apply for a social grant like all the others and stay out of the roads. Oh yes, they can’t because they’re illegal aliens!

Back home the bloody Wi-Fi connection is acting up again, so getting the exercise watch from Takealot will just have to wait until we can get someone out to fix the connectivity issue. An ambulance screams past three streets away. Probably some Nigerian drug turf war somewhere in Beyers Naudé claiming casualties. This place has become like all the other banana republics on the continent.

My neighbour tells me that a truck ran over the Congolese boy that sleeps on the middle-man across from the BP. He died on impact. Another homeless soul to be cremated and disposed of tomorrow, one less eyesore on our way to work. The pathetic state of this nation.

A thought just struck me – how bad must the circumstances in the Congo be, to leave it for a life like this?

Published by

Johan van Zyl

I was born on 6 June 1961, six days into the new Republic of South Africa and the 17th anniversary of D-Day. For the moment I am employed in the private Sector as a Logistics professional, residing in Johannesburg – where I was born and bred. Apparently there are only two types of people in the world: those who make things happen and those who wonder what the hell just happened. I am an aspiring novelist – aren’t we all – and love to wonder about the simplicity as well as complicity that make us human, although I sometimes wonder if we have really evolved from being single cell organisms. I love life as well as a handful of people. Next to being outdoors, reading and writing are high on my priority list. I love company, even my own – sometimes.