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by a NEASA member

We find ourselves in a boiling pot, bubbling with conspiracies and Ministers running around and shouting orders as if on a military parade. To worsen the already existing distrust, many of these conspiracies will turn out to be true – The Zondo Commission taught us that.

So here I find myself, back at work with a small team, that the Minister’s orders dictated, with which I have to face an abnormal challenge. Many of those who I now desperately want to supply, to kick start the business, have not paid and others are simply not on the list that includes the “allowed” as decided by our newly created Master Ministers who have no idea of how my particular industry interacts with others.

And there they are, proudly claiming victory – that the lockdown has flattened the curve amidst the glaring reality of the circumstances in South Africa that barely supports their claims that isolation and distancing did the trick.

The lockdown did not accentuate inequality but severely deepened it and that is the reality with which we will now have to live with, whether our businesses survive or not – as history unfolds, this will go down as a blunder of unimaginable magnitude.

During the final days of the Marxist experiment in the Soviet Union, Soviet novelist Chingiz Aitmatov retold the following story, which has been paraphrased here:
Stalin called for a live chicken and proceeded to use it to make an unforgettable point before some of his henchmen. Forcefully clutching the chicken in one hand, with the other he began to systematically pluck out its feathers. As the chicken struggled in vain to escape, he continued with the painful denuding until the bird was completely stripped. “Now you watch,” Stalin said as he placed the chicken on the floor and walked away with some breadcrumbs in his hand. Incredibly, the fear-crazed chicken hobbled toward him and clung to the legs of his trousers. Stalin threw a handful of grain to the bird, and it began to follow him around the room, he turned to his dumbfounded colleagues and said quietly, “This is the way to rule the people. Did you see how that chicken followed me for food, even though I had caused it such torture? People are like that chicken. If you inflict inordinate pain on them they will follow you for food the rest of their lives.”

I refuse to follow and be grateful for these breadcrumbs I now sit with.

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We are all in this together.

Privileged and challenged to be South African.