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Culture, Sport

Instant Intolerance

by Unathi Kondile / 08.06.2012

“Pitso. You’re fired! How anyone can draw against Ethiopia is beyond beyond. Go! Voetsek!” are probably the words echoed in some closed roomed in the South African Football Association (SAFA) building. Ironically, “Safa” means “we’re dying” in Xhosa. I can just imagine working there. Being axed takes on a whole new meaning. Safa fired me!

As it dawns on me that we have fired our latest Bafana Bafana coach, Pitso Mosimane, I can’t help thinking that we as a country have developed a particular penchant for purging problems precociously.

We fire our problems away, almost instantly, with the exact same persistence of a toddler in a supermarket when it comes to making demands like “I want that chocolate now mommy!”

That’s us! “Bafana Bafana coach must go now mommy!”

This is not surprising. We fail to surprise ourselves these days. If we don’t like something or someone we ensure that we get them fired. Surprise, surprise.

If we are unhappy about service delivery – we destroy property and render any other functioning services functionless. If we are unhappy about a president – say President Mbeki – we ensure he gets fired. Replace him with another president we are unlikely to be happy with. If we are unhappy about the Springbok coach – say Pieter de Villiers – we ensure he gets fired. Then replace him with another coach we are unlikely to be unhappy with. If we are unhappy with our police commissioner – say Jackie Selebi – we ensure he gets fired, arrested even. Replace him with another commissioner, like Bheki Cele, whom we’ve already fired.

If you catch my drift then I suspect that continuing with this list of “if-we-are-unhappy” might lead to unhappiness. Let me get rid of this train of thought immediately.

Now seriously comrades, we have somehow become a very intolerant society. One that thrives on getting rid of things instantly. One that thrives on our immediate whims being pacified instantly. Years ago this was called instant gratification but today, as I type here, I wonder if gratification hasn’t been replaced with intolerance. An instant intolerance.

Our capacity to be patient, to listen to one another and explore matters in depth seems to have worn out. We no longer tediously drive through information highways. We just fly over them. Picking out whatever can lead us to our next fix of “unhappy”.

Here’s the thing with unhappiness:

If we are unhappy with 11 men playing football on a field why don’t we fire them? Instead of firing a man who was technically not on the field? Forget the whole ‘leader must take the blame’ mantra for a bit and you’ll realize who the real slackers are.

If we are unhappy with the president of the country why don’t we blame ourselves for being incompetent citizens who fail to hold government accountable?

Damn! There I go with the “if-we-are-unhappy” again.

The problem is that we are not addressing the problems. We skirt our problems. Find someone else to blame, get that person fired, replace them, get the replacement fired, replace the replacement, until what?

*Image © Gallo Images / Lefty Shivambu.

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