The Real State of the Nation Address

Turn on the TV, or find the right frequency on the radio, or sit down with your daily newspaper. What do you see? What do you hear? What kind of news is breaking in the Constitutional and democratic country that is alive with possibilities? The robbing of lives, over trivialities like cell phones. The paralysing and blinding of infants. Our schoolyards, which used to resound with laughter, chatter and recitals of the 23rd psalm now have a new soundtrack. Labour cries, as the bathroom stalls have become maternity wards. Cries of “please, stop!” as sex education practicals happen against the will of the girl child. These harrowing images, which should cause us to draw our breaths in shock and hang our heads in shame, have become as commonplace as Saturday morning cartoons. Our moral fibre lies unravelled before us, and it should cause us to weep for our nation, yet seemingly, we’ve seared our hearts towards it. “It’s not our problem”, as many of us say. On the 18th of April, the story broke of the gang raping of a 17 year old mentally challenged girl seven young men. As if that wasn’t horrific enough, these men recorded their gruesome act on their cellphones. Her cries for mercy and the sound of them jeering and egging each other on were music to their ears. The video went viral, and people were requesting it on social networking sites, like it was a muffin recipe! On the 19th of April, the editor-in-chief of The Star newspaper had this to say: “How did we get here? How did we as a nation raise such monsters that could find a joke in such a repugnant act? Why should the girl child live in perpetual fear of who in essence are her brothers, her keepers? There is no time left to lose. It’s time to heal our nation. It’s time to recreate the village that raises the child in safety, in harmony, and in joy. And time, is not on our side.”

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