Over and Over

Oh Africa, Africa! How annoying can be your crumbly attempts at innovation, your incompetence in trying to reach some mythical “first world standard”, and how heart breaking your children, scrambling and climbing over each other to reach the earthly pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow Nation.


Today, I was shocked and horrified to be able, from my work computer, to view and download municipal accounts for any number of random strangers – right off the City of Joburg website. That’s my comment in the article, by the way. “Anonymous internet user”. They probably only used it because frankly, I type better English than most of the emotionally-12-year-old techie nerds on that forum. Usually.

I believe that the outsourced developer company responsible for this horrific state of affairs may also be responsible for the new SARS eFiling site, by the way, so don’t believe your tax information is safe, either.

We seem to have such a small pool of competent IT skills in this country, and that’s sad. It becomes more than sad, however, when an amateur web developer can charge the Free State Province in the region of 40 million Rand for a slapgat, entry-level website and get away with it. 

It all pretty much makes you wonder how long we can hold it together. With basic service providers – electricity, water, roads – being so deep in debt that they can barely keep up the maintenance of the decaying city infrastructures, and with a combination of criminality, lack of skills, misuse of funds and -yes – basic incompetence eating away their ability to service the customers they already have, never mind the future millions of citizens who aspire to such luxuries as running water and electric power, the Rainbow Nation is fast devolving into a second rate bit player on the international stage of civilization.

Not that this is necessarily bad, in the big picture. You know my feelings about civilization, the dominator/patriarchal/wetiko culture, and the sanity of those humans who pursue it with all they’ve got. Yet it’s still poignant. We thought we tried.

But the light seeping around the kitchen curtains at dusk informs me. The shape of the newly-unwrapped bar of white soap tells me. The stretch of the body and the tumble of mind into the abyss of sweet sleep after a great day herding databases assure me: this is why we keep yearning to come back here. Time after time and life after life. To feel the blood and tears and caress the shapes and taste the agony and descend into the ecstasy. Over and over again.

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