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14 June 2001
Do we really care?

Met a guy in a local pub the other night. At first glance Theo (his real name) seemed like any other typical white South African - overworked, underpaid and taxed to death. Little did I know that he had a major eye-opener. Faced with a good friend (black) in a battle situation he realised that something was wrong. How can people, fighting for the cause they were led to believe was the right thing, kill each other? This was the situation years ago, when the white man believed he was fighting for Christianity and the survival of his race. Not that there were no black guys fighting with the whites for the same cause (Christianity that is). Not to mention the communist threat that was endangering us from the North.

We've come a long way since those days. Today our government supports Fidel Castro, Gadaffi and the likes. Their supporters in the fight for justice and freedom in the old "regime" which upheld apartheid for so long. Friends are friends, and good friends are hard to come by - that we all know. When will the time come though where you have to start weighing up the pro's and con's of maintaining your relationship with certain friends? Do you go with the ones promoting war, anarchy and destruction, or do you change to the more acceptable friends according to the requirements of your people and country?
The ANC has come a long way. Through destruction, murder and attempts to overthrow the "then" government to the current situation of responsibility and accountability to their people and their country. Yet, all we have seen so far is self enrichment and placing themselves and their "comrades" on a level far removed from the people who voted them into power.

Yet, there is so much of the good stuff still on the ground, where it matters. Individuals, organisations and companies are doing there utmost to accommodate those that suffered because of apartheid and is still bearing the scars. The young, the old and the in-betweens are all being helped to find the best way and become independent. A variety of "self-help" schemes have seen the light with black empowerment companies rising up to challenge the long established white run companies for supremacy. 

It makes you feel positive about the future of South Africa and it's people when you take note of rural folk making a difference in their own communities. A good example of the willpower within the black communities to succeed: You will not seen a single white beggar at a street corner with goods to sell. Yet, every single black standing at intersections have something to offer for sale. It can be plastic rubbish bags, coat hangers, mobile phone accessories, biltong (dried raw meat) or super glue. What does that say for our white nation?

Where do we go from here? A question with a fairly simple answer, though it's going to take guts and determination -
First you get the lot that's on the bandwagon. There is no law in our country, so let's join the law breakers and do our own thing. Let's put me, myself and I at the top of the importance ladder. Let's cheat the taxman, the lawman and our fellowman and make our money. Let's ignore the law and show these "kaffirs" that we will survive and they won't. 
Then of course there's the more challenging option. It's simple really though with a mighty high price tag. Go out of your way to help, educate and understand. At the end of this is the most difficult part, to accept. Isn't that the Christian way? Or have we succumbed to all the negativity that's surrounded us for so long already? Or is it just that we know too much to bother?

Can anyone in the world really blame us for being negative, for not caring enough and for getting excited about the whole HIV/AIDS issue? Here are some facts about HIV/AIDS in Africa :
 
     Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 67% of global HIV infection. 
     There are around 4 million HIV infections in South Africa at present. 
     Between 1500 to 1800 new infections occur each day. 
     More than 140 000 new AIDS cases will occur this year of which 25000 will be children born to HIV infected mothers. 
     22.8% of South Africa's sexually and economically active population are already HIV+; this is 33.8% up on 1997. 
     By 2005, South Africa's population growth will fall to about 0.8%/year and possibly go into decline thereafter. AIDS related death will climb
     from around 400 000/year now to about 800 000-1 000 000/year, cutting average life expectancy from 68 to 48 years. 
     Nearly 1 in 10 South Africans now aged between 20 and 40 are expected to die by 2005. 
     By 2010, around 25% of the adult population will be HIV+, that's roughly more than 6 million people. 
     In late 1998 25% of students at Durban Westville University tested HIV+. 
     A survey among 18 companies in Zambia found that HID/AIDS was responsible for 62% of death among senior managers. 

Now let me explain why we get so frustrated with our black "brothers" - 
Show them the facts as above and try and explain why they need to use a condom. He'll accept the facts, he'll recognise the dangers, yet he'll go home and do the opposite. And that's a 95% guarantee. With a President that dispute the fact that HIV is the primary cause of AIDS, how far are we from winning this battle. With a government and it's people (employees) that's slowly getting into the groove of taking bribes for an extra income, who will not be tempted to break the law themselves? With taxpayers' money disappearing out of state coffers on a daily basis, with no-one being brought to book (even though being identified), why not cheat the books. And this is carried over into every day life in South Africa.

I have only one wish for this country. The ANC must wake up and smell the roses!
 

More information on HIV/AIDS can be found at : http://www.hivaids.co.za