We like to think we’re special in South Africa, especially compared to our African neighbours. Trouble is, we’re not so special. There’s plenty that Africa can teach us, and Ghana’s presidential debates are an excellent place to start.
It’s been a sad old time in South Africa recently. Our miners are being shot, our president has been typically lacklustre, our economy is slowing drastically. That shiny, vibrant rainbow of hope we convinced ourselves we lived under is slowly disappearing under grey clouds of pessimism and doubt. Don’t believe me? Then ask the Economist.
All this negative publicity is hitting us poor citizens hard. We’re not used to all the criticism, especially from the outside world. Since 1994, we’ve been fed an unrelenting diet of flattery and compliments, and we’ve grown accustomed to the fawning. Don’t you know about Nelson Mandela? Don’t you know we have the best constitution in the world?
Don’t you know we’re the biggest economy in Africa? And Mandela, did I mention Mandela?
Of course, there have been a few road bumps along the way – crime, education, corruption, housing, service delivery – but none of this has seriously dented our faith in South African exceptionalism: given our past, we’re doing pretty damn well. Just look at the rest of Africa. It could be so much worse.