Title: HOPES and DREAMS By: Joe Odiboh (Winner: African Leadership and Excellence Award, 2012, Ireland) About the Author Mr. Joe Odiboh is a South African citizen, originally from Nigeria. Born on th…

Title: HOPES and DREAMS By: Joe Odiboh (Winner: African Leadership and Excellence Award, 2012, Ireland) About the Author Mr. Joe Odiboh is a South African citizen, originally from Nigeria. Born on the 9th Day of May, 1960, he is an art teacher, Security Service Provider, Artist, Comedian, Writer and a Master of Ceremonies. He went to South Africa from Nigeria in 1994 where he acquired the South African citizenship by naturalization. While in Ireland in 2011, he found himself, and rediscovered his hopes and dreams which made him win the “African Leadership and Excellence Award” 2012, in arts and culture, sponsored by the African Voice Newspapers in Ireland. He is now a contemporary artist with numerous paintings and have gained recognitions with Peace 111 New Urban Peace Collective sponsored by the EU. He runs art workshops as volunteer, where he teaches people art under Sabona Group for Sligo Peace Capacity Building Project funded by Peace 111 Programme, through the European Union’s Regional Development Fund. DEDICATION: Dedicated to former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and President Barrack Obama of the United States of America. To Former President Nelson Mandela Between November 1994 and February 1995, former President Nelson Mandela visited me nearly everyday in my dreams at Surrey Estate, Athlone, Cape Town, in South Africa. During his visits, we both discussed the issues and problems in South Africa as it affects the people, and both discussed ways to remedy the situation. He was so impressed with my contributions and made me his special Political Adviser in his cabinet. The ANC was divided over my appointment as a foreign immigrant. After series of deliberations in various dreams, the parliament hesitantly ratified my appointment and I continued in my service as Adviser to the President Nelson Mandela in my vain dreams. On the 18th Day of July 1996, as an act of fate, my daughter was born on the same birthday with former President Nelson Mandela at the Mowbray Maternity Hospital, in Cape Town. That same night, the former President Nelson Mandela visited me to wish my daughter very good tidings and celebrate with me in my dreams. We both joked and laughed like school kids about life and what the future holds for the people of South Africa. Then, on a very serious note, he looked at me intently and asked me to write a book based on all the issues and problems as discussed during all his visits. He asked me to write these things exactly the way they are without fear or favor and to help seek ways to remedy the situation. We looked at each other for a while, smiled, and said in unison, “The Mandela Comedy”. It was a big joke. He got up and we shook hands, saying again altogether once more, “The Mandela Comedy”. He smiled at me strangely with confidence and went his own way never to visit me again in my dreams to this day. Though it was all meaningless dreams, I did not treat this issue as one, believing there is a reason and purpose for these dreams. In compliance with the wish of Nelson Mandela Foundation or Nelson Mandela Children Fund, I have decided not to use the name of Nelson Mandela in the titled for this book, I have therefore chosen the title: “Hopes and Dreams”, a title which did not only deal with the problems in South Africa, but reflected on the problems in other nations and the problems of the world. While in Ireland, I have found my lost destiny and rediscovered my hopes and dreams. I will not be afraid nor will I waver in my commitment to write former President Nelson Mandela the book which I promised him. Today, I stand tall and firm knowing God is on my side in the realization of this dream. I have written this book without fear or favor, and without bias as I see the problems in South Africa and in other nations and on earth, and I have tried in my little ways to help all South Africans and the world in general to rethink, and have a change of heart and attitude in the part to peace, truth and reconciliation, and in ensuring a better life for all on earth. I believe this is why God have kept me alive all these years to make this dream come true. If need be that today I die of diabetes after the publication of this book, I will be glad to rest in eternal peace knowing that my life in South Africa and on earth have not come to waste. I will be glad that I have tried and done my utmost best to help resolve the problems of injustice, poverty, racial bias, crime and violence and those ills and vices in society which tend to create a divide in the common bonds that hold South Africans together as a people, and have used the opportunity to reflect about Nigeria and most other nations on earth. I will be glad that the dream of over twenty years ago in my life with former President Nelson Mandela have been finally realized and fully accomplished. By Author: Joe Odiboh Famous Quotes by the Author: Ideal leadership and the practicality of power requires true and just leadership to live in discomfort, unhappiness, and hunger to understand the discomfort, unhappiness and hunger of the people who are victims of injustice in society. Any leadership, which ignores being part of the plights and suffering of the people, and remains at ease while the people are no-longer at ease, is like a garden full of weeds. Author: Joe Odiboh Chapter 1 The Part to Truth and Peace in South Africa Today in South Africa, long after apartheid is gone and forgotten, we do appreciate the good efforts and hard work of government to educate its people and bring about better life for all. Despite all these great efforts on the part of government, we still see terrible incidents of rapes and gruesome murders, escalating rate of criminality, violence, and people who still live in abject poverty instead of self-empowerment through black affirmative action of government. We still have expansion and creation of informal settlements and illegal structures by the people, and not the government. Communities are still segregated in several settlements; many black people still live in shacks where some are hopeless and helpless in the life of alcohol and drugs, in sickness, diseases and deaths. Here, we still have people who have lost faith in life and in the new democratic order and are negatively impacting on society instead of celebrating freedom and democracy, exploring life and taking opportunity of government black empowerment programs to its fullest potentials. While the government is doing its best to educate and provide for the people, a lot of people are not ready to compliment the efforts of government or help themselves to make a better tomorrow. It is so sad that many people are derailing the efforts of government instead of helping the government to help themselves make South Africa a better place to live. Sad, as this situation might seem, some people in some highly impoverished areas in the society have formed the culture of social irresponsibility and waste their social welfare money on alcohol and drugs, making life miserable for themselves and their children, and result to spending days in rubbish dumps waiting for dirt to arrive by rubbish dump trucks from away in more affluent suburbs or cities, so that they can scramble through the rubbish dumps for something to eat or drink as if the government do not care for their needs. Here, in some national documentaries on television screens, we see in great sadness faces of families, mother and child, children and babies scrambling through rubbish dumps for contaminated leftovers to eat, contaminated drinks from the bin to drink; young men and women, babies who are the future of South Africa. The saddest thing is that apartheid is dead and buried a long time ago in South Africa, freedom and democracy is thriving and those in positions of authority are seemingly seen by the people as having the best of life like the masters in the book, “Animal Farm”, drinking fresh milk. These people seem to forget that those in positions of authority are public servants who are working day and night to build for the people and their children a better tomorrow and therefore deserve decent wages and good life in other to be competent in their duties to the people. There is no country on earth where public servants do not have good living conditions, and South African leaders cannot be an exemption. They are working for their money and they are not as greedy and corrupt as what we see of other leaders and public servants in most other African nations. They are far from being like most other world leaders who wish to live and die in power, greedy for wealth and behaving like thin gods before those who placed them in positions of authorities. South African leaders are humble and simple people who are down to earth and understood the problems of their people as part of their upbringing. Instead of helping the government, some people have formed the habit of criticizing the government unnecessarily and continue to cry wolf over the evils of apartheid, knowing that even this kind of life where people feed from rubbish dumps was impossible during the days of apartheid white minority regime. These are some of the things that are very worrisome, annoying, and something we must all lament about, and should never be allowed to happen in the newfound freedom and democracy under black majority rule. This kind of situation where people are trying to derail the efforts of government is not the kind of freedom or democracy people fought and died for to make South Africa free. These negative forces in society are the third-force of crime and violence which fight to make the government of South Africa look like an incompetent demon-crazy to create a negative feeling that the government is not doing enough for its people. At times, one begin to wonder if these negative forces in society were being paid by the third force to eat dump while they bring in the cameras to film these hopeless scenes, encourage some South Africans to live in deplorable conditions of life and commit abominable and heinous crimes in other to discredit the efforts and good intentions of government. Imagine an incident where a famous and disabled Olympian is being charged for the murder of his girlfriend, and another incident of gang rape and gruesome murder of the raped girl at the time when South Africa is hosting the soccer “Africa Cup of Nations”. All these negative plots happen at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on South Africa. The truth is that most political Wards representatives and the people in these areas where these negative impacts on society are taking place are not doing South Africa proud, and they are hurting the good image of government. By allowing negative things to happen in their communities, and by damaging the good image of South Africa, it is hard for foreign investors to feel safe enough to invest in the lives of the people. Every negative act in society by anyone is a step in the wrong direction, a step backwards in the social economic growth and development of South Africa. A thousand kilometers journey begins with one single step, it is a national duty and obligation for every South African to take every single right step in the right direction for the common good of all South Africans and children yet unborn. We all know that we are not perfect, and that there is no way in life we can live perfect lives. Yet we know that every human action is controllable and that the choices we make in life decide our destiny. What we sow in the field of life is the harvest we reap in those aspects of life. Since we are not perfect people, at least we can try to control our thoughts, words and deeds. At least we can try as South Africans to become better people. No one can blame us for trying our best because we have only one nation, one country, and only one South Africa. An only bubblegum does not get lost in the teeth. The path to truth, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence is not an anus anyone can open comfortably with one palm. The problems in South Africa are not something to be left to the singular efforts of government to remedy with a magic wand. We must not forget where we are coming from, our past and our history and we must allow these virtues to become the strength we need now and tomorrow to make amends. We need this knowledge and wisdom from our historical past in helping to resolve all our current problems in South Africa, knowing and bearing in mind that we cannot solve all these problems at once without any storm and stress, and without igniting the burning flames in the devil’s door. It is something that requires the efforts of every citizen and visitors to the land. The problems in South Africa belong to all South Africans as individuals and as a nation, and together everyone must make meaningful contributions to make South Africa great for all South Africans. We know that if over the years dreams die, South Africans have kept intact their dreams to see a free and fair South Africa which belongs to all, free and just, united and strong, and a country free from racial bias and any form of discrimination. The issue of racial discrimination is not simply about color or race, but about social equality, economic empowerment, and equal social conditions of life, equal opportunities to a basic standard of living for all South Africans irrespective of color or creed. This is not a problem that must be addressed by only the government, but also by all those who helped create such conditions of inequality, the white race. It is equally fair that they honestly and sincerely help facilitate a system for rationalization of the wealth in society necessary to turnaround the fortunes of this great nation. Without mincing words, the white people of this great nation must not be content about their good standard of living which they inherited from apartheid era, but they should endeavor to assist the government to undo the problems created by the apartheid regime through understanding, sacrifice, togetherness and love. By doing this, it will enable all South Africans keep alive their hopes and dreams. Every South African of every color or race has hopes and dreams, and these hopes and dreams cannot be fully realized under storms and stress in their lives. It is not an easy thing to find joy and happiness in inequality and unfairness. This implies that since the evils of apartheid was defeated and drowned in the Cape Point between the Indian and Atlantic ocean, the inequality and all those strings and attachments associated with the apartheid policy and regime is sure to fall with its system. How these strings and attachments will finally vanish into the thin air is a question of moral issue. Only time will tell. South Africans are people who will never stop dreaming. It is the dream of the people to see every South African having equal rights and justice, equal share of the nations resources, economic growth and development. This does not imply the economic growth and development of only a cross section of society, but of all South Africans of every race, color and creed, irrespective of social economic background or parental up-bringing. It is the hope of every South African that the great hopes and aspirations which over the years they had held so dear to their hearts will be fully realized and accomplished without any particular person or race having a better life than the order, and with true integration process of every color or race living side by side as neighbors with each other in the same communities without racial divide, or informal settlements still in existence. Until that day when everyone live side by side without black or colored settlements still in existence, South Africa will still be seen as a segregated country where unity is far from diversity. A country divided against it-self cannot stand the test of time. It is the dream of all South Africans to be united as one nation, one country, and one destiny. This is the dream of the founding fathers of freedom and democracy, and it is a task that must be done if the name South Africa must continue to have meaning before the rest of the world. It is no use pretending that all is well knowing that things are far from being well for the vast majority of the people. Living the way things are at the moment in South Africa is like self-deceit, knowing that the vast majority of the black and colored communities are segregated and marginalized which has resulted in the high rates of crimes and violence in these communities. The issue of unemployment is one demon that is destroying the social lives and conditions in these communities making them hot spots for unruly behaviors and Calcutta republics for the towers of Babel. Living in South Africa, we cannot pretend that we do not know the difference in the standard of living of some particular race if we compare it to some other race, especially to the black race. We know the great difference in the various areas of the society, depending on which color or race of people are living in such areas, their social economic background, conditions of life in those areas, and which cannot in any way be compared with other areas. These kinds of diversities make the work of government even harder in attempting to bridge the gap in the social economic conditions of life of the people. · This division is growing by the clock, racial consciousness and awakening is getting worse and more dangerous in the battle to correct the ills and social divide in society. Gaps cannot be bridged between race and color if segregation gaps and social conditions get wider from day to day. It is no use uniting together as a people like hypocrites for sports, a Rugby or Soccer match in front of television screens without uniting together politically, socially, and economically as one people in one nation with one aim and one common destiny. · Any unity that is not of togetherness and love is like a garden full of weeds and thorns. These weeds and thorns in society are the negative things we all see in South Africa today, choking the society, stinging innocent citizens like bees, and threatening day by day to tears apart the common bonds that unite South Africans together as a people. That is why some are living in joy and peace, while others are living in sorrow, tears and blood. Innocent children and babies are being raped and killed in some areas, people are being robbed, killed and murdered in cold blood, gang wars and taxi wars are in the offensive, drug wars and immorality have blinded communities, and there is a general insecurity of lives and properties in most areas inhabited especially by black and colored communities. · In the midst of all these, life has become as cheap as biltong. Violence, irresponsibility, unruly behavior and disrespect for anyone by anyone have become a culture in society, something that has never been, and should never be the culture in South Africa. Children are growing up with very bad influence in society, something that is not of African culture or nature in African family or traditional system. Children no-longer respect their elders, and people no-longer respect their leaders, something that is alien in the way our mothers conceived and gave birth to us as Africans. · All these unholy abnormalities in South Africa are being reflected in the music, art and theatre, where violence is the theme. The influence of American Hollywood cinema, rap music, ghetto life in the USA and in South America, and drug wars in Mexico have found their ways into black and colored communities in South Africa with our people thinking that we are Americans, and forgetting we are Africans. As Africans, we must act and do things like Africans, a system of respect, dignity, togetherness and love. It is understandable and tolerable to see most Africans living the way they are in South Africa because they are black people being ruled by black leaders. This kind of thought is the frame of mind most people carry in their hearts as South Africans, and we use these thoughts to drag ourselves backwards and make life more difficult in this country. As Africans, we think and behave as if freedom and democracy is a right to spoil and ruin everything being done by our Africans leaders in the ANC and other political parties. We think and behave as if we can only respect ourselves, behave properly and respect a government if South Africa becomes Europe with European leaders. We behave as though we are not prepared for freedom and democracy and that, if a laborer is not beaten by the master he will not work properly to respect the master’s will. Our African leaders in this country unlike other countries are humane people who are not ready to place themselves as masters but as public servants to the people. This is something to respect and not something we must abuse and take advantage of in doing all the wrong and negative things in society. We must understand that it is not the government that is erecting shacks and Wendy-houses in the various locations and informal settlements, instead; the government is faced with the difficult task of demolishing these illegal structures in the provision of proper housing and facilities. It is not the government that is raping children and women in the communities and killing innocent souls, instead it is faced with the responsibility of protecting the children and women in the society and bring the criminals to justice. The government is not murdering and assassinating people like what we see in some other nations of the world, instead it is tolerant and understanding in its battle to rid society of these menaces. The government is not perfect because as humans we are not perfect, but it is doing its utmost best to better the lives of the people in this great nation. As citizens of this nation, we owe our country a great responsibility by meeting the government half way through in the betterment of the human race, and in what contributions we make to make South Africa a better place for us and for all our children. We must learn to face the truth and reality by not blaming the government for crimes they did not commit. We must stop to demonize the government and use our community forums to fight crimes and the evils in our communities. The people who are doing all the negative things in society live among us in our various communities, we know them because they are part of us. It is for us as people in the various communities to identify these people and rid them of all the negative things they are doing to destroy our communities and bring them to justice. We must understand that as communities where these evils are being committed, we are the ones at the receiving end of these crimes and violence, and all the negative things in society as they affect us as a people. The problems in our communities are our problems and we have a responsibility to deal with them positively the same way we deal with problems in our families. We must start to appreciate our leaders and stop character assassination or disrespect of our leaders. We must start to appreciate every effort of government because the parliament will not initiate any law in government policies to harm its own people. They can do that in Zimbabwe or the rest of African nations but definitely not in South Africa. South Africans need to crawl out of their shells and go into adventures in other African countries and continents around the globe to see how life is outside their country in other to become exposed, enlightened, more sociable and appreciate the good efforts of government in their own country. It is a high time the people must put a total and final full stop to the negative acts and deeds in South Africa and stop dragging to the mud all good efforts of government being run by our leaders. We must learn to criticize them constructively and advice them on what solutions we think as reasonable and feasible in solving our problems and national crises. This is what freedom of speech is all about. Freedom of speech is not freedom of stupid, foolish and careless words in society. I believe that the way we embraced freedom foolishly and carelessly as a people without thinking what positive roles and responsibilities we must play as a people in the new democratic order, is the reason why we keep doing the wrong things we are doing in South Africa, same way as we have done in the rest of African nations. By doing all these negative things in this country as Africans, we are not encouraging other races in this country to respect our people and our leaders; neither, are we encouraging them to face up to their duties and obligations to the nation. We know that the white people owe South Africa a great deal, and they also know this. This is why they are very quiet and patient, watching us closely and monitoring our activities to see what direction we are leading the country, knowing they cannot and will not allow us to destroy their destiny. They are ready and prepared to help make South Africa great if we as individuals and as Africans show good and sterling qualities as a people. I believe they are prepared to merge together with us as brothers and sisters if we behave responsibly as Africans with the spirit of Ubuntu. The white community cannot live in the same community where their children and daughters will be raped, killed and mutilated by people of other race. They are not prepared to live with people in the colored communities where drugs and crimes is prevalent. Though many of them take drugs but they have not allowed the incident of drug addiction to tear their communities apart, same way as it has done in the colored and black communities. They are highly organized and law abiding, living in their own world, and seldom allow the negative influence in the black and colored communities to affect them in their own world in South Africa. For effective integration process to take place for national growth and development, it is imperative therefore that we should create an enabling circumstance to make them reasonable and wise enough to contribute their quota to making South Africa greater than it was for them during the apartheid regime and colonization. As Africans, poverty is not strange to us. We know that we are tolerant and patient people who work and sacrifice so hard to build a better future for our children. With poverty and long suffering, we have grown up in life to be very strong people who can endure the tribulations of life on this planet. Our strength that have made us great and survivors on earth should not be used by impatient and recalcitrant youths to destroy the good image of the African people who have struggled and suffered so much to bring us freedom and democracy in this country. Those who are dragging the good image of South Africa to the mud and are committing crime and violence in South Africa are not people who fought for freedom and democracy in this country; they are opportunity seekers who take advantage of freedom and democracy to demonize the country. These kind of evil people in our various communities in South Africa must be seen and classified as enemies of the state, because their aim is to bring us sorrow tears and blood. However, in the building of a united front for social gains, political and economic growth and development, we must make a great effort and difference in proving the love we have and share for our beloved nation. How can you commit so much crime and violence and destroy a country you love so much, which your people fought and died for? How can you rape, maim and kill your own brothers and sisters, and ruin the good image of your fatherland? Where then is the humanity in you? Where is the spirit of Ubuntu? Is crime and violence your culture and tradition? These are the questions every criminal element must start to reflect on in moral principles before thinking of the evils that they do in this great nation. It is better to live in poverty and humility than to live in shame and disgrace as a thief, rapist, murderer, or baby killer. The greatest, wisest, and wealthiest Africans today on earth once lived in poverty and humility. Their parents suffered and struggled in life to help them build a better future, and this inspired them to aspire to greater heights in life. I believe former President Nelson Mandela, former President Thabo Mbeki, and President Jacob Zuma did not grow up in very rich and affluent homes and families same as most successful Africans today. These people knew the meaning of struggles and suffering and they were content with the hope and dreams that was the milk of life that flowed in their hearts. Their passion for hopes and dreams is the story of success in this country, same with such people like Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Joe Modise, Steve Biko and many others who sacrificed their lives to bring us freedom and democracy which criminal elements in society now use and abuse to the detriment of the innocent and law abiding citizens of this great nation. This is why we must unite together in the fight and struggle to rid this nation of criminal elements and become a God fearing nation determined in our resolve to create a long and lasting peace, freedom and democracy in our part to greatness where people are free and safe to dream and hope for a better tomorrow. We must draw our strength from our weaknesses in the part to greatness. This is what makes us strong and wise. This is what makes us as Africans great on earth, not shameful incidence of gangs, rape, stealing, or killing of innocent souls and murders. It is sad however that in most other African nations, we have learnt how to suffer and be silent, and we have formed the habit of accepting poor African leadership as part of our cultural heritage and upbringing. We have learnt how to honor corruption, admire greed, and respect those with wealth or in positions of authority. As good or bad our ways and cultural upbringing might seem, one thing is certain, that we are not rapists, thieves and murderers by nature. The culture of violence is an alien culture imported and borne out of overt unkindness, envy, or prejudice. We used to be very happy and merry people who are not greedy for wealth or hungry for souls or human blood. We used to have love for each other as one family and respect our elders and leaders of our communities. Even so, we know we are not perfect, and there have always been and will always be evil people in our society, many of whom are into occult, spiritualists, and witchcraft as a way of furthering their evil intentions. Only if we re-evaluate our minds and imbibe this spirit of goodwill, we cannot grow as Africans to become better people and better nations in the face of current globalization. It is a good thing to be identified for what we are as moral people than what we own as individuals, or for what evils we do as a people in vanity. One thing we must understand and accept is the fact that the world being what it is and has always been recognizes us as African people whether or not South Africa is a rainbow nation. It is seen and regarded as a third world country though most parts of South Africa are more developed than most European countries, especially the Eastern Europe where most people still experience poverty, hunger and starvation. No matter how much resources we invest on infrastructures, the world is at ease when most black people are impoverished and live the way they do in this country because, they think the problems of Africa belongs to Africans. They believe without questions that poor African leadership is responsible for the African woes and dilemma, an issue that is natural in the African continent. Though we cannot allow poor African leadership and poverty to rule our lives, we must not allow worse evils such as becoming rapists, thieves, crime and violence to become our cultural heritage amidst corruption These are not noble and responsible replacement for our misplaced priorities in our general conducts and attitudes to life in the lives of our nations and various communities. The white people in South Africa are living decent lives and are enjoying peace and tranquility in their respective communities because they chose to live that way and adopted a better life policy for their children. The choices we make in life is what determine the way of life and situations and conditions of life created for our children in our communities. If we choose to live like vampires we will become vampires in the life of our communities, something that is sure to impact on the lives of our children and future generations. The nature or social conditions of a community is a true reflection of how the people in that community are as a people like flocks of birds with the same feathers. No one in that community is exempted from the good, the bad and ugly situation in such a community. In communities such as those of the white race, they are not raping and killing their children and women, robbing each other on the street the way we do in the black and colored communities, or kill their brothers and sisters or immigrants in their areas. The worse any man can do in personal anger and frustration with family problems is to kill members of his family and turn the gun on himself in the usual white man fashion and culture of domestic violence. Even if they commit crimes, it is either a whitepaper crime or well-coded crimes done in the civilized way. These are very few and reported incidence which are dealt with by the criminal justice system. The white people are not living recklessly and irresponsibly like we do in South Africa because they know what they want in life for all their people. This is why they are prospering in South Africa while most of us are living with all the negative things in our communities without shame or sense of reasoning and national disgrace. Should reverse be the case for the white people in South Africa, you will understand how intolerable and impossible it is for the world to stand beside and look, or watch the white people live the way most of the black people do in this country. That is why we must open our eyes everywhere and better start to face the truth and reality between white and black. Even now that apartheid is gone and over with, they do not have much regrets because the existing system have appreciated their understanding and support. This is why it is very necessary and important for the African people to respect, appreciate, cherish and support the present political dispensation with goodwill and good things in the way we behave ourselves, and we must stop the incidence of crime and violence in society so that you can see the good in this government and reap the rewards of our actions. You can never reap anything good in life, or from the government by raping and killing innocent children and women, commit violent crimes, and disrespect the government that will provide for you and your family. Nothing good in life comes to a criminal, and what you take by force will be taken away from you by force. Those who live by knives and guns will die by knives and guns. That is just the way it is in life with its own set rules and laws of natural justice. What we sow is what we shall reap in life. The white minority apartheid regime in South Africa did not only build council houses and improved the conditions of life of the white minority, the government provided them with jobs, qualitative social welfare services, good wages, and good quality of life and privileges that enabled them to have a good future in the land they called their own. This kind of goodwill from their government of the past is what the African people in government are trying desperately to do for all South Africans irrespective of their color or race and many of us are abusing this system instead of using it to positive affirmative action to better their lives. By abusing the good efforts of government policies and programs of empowerment, we are not encouraging the government to do more by frustrating their efforts. As Africans, we must encourage the government in their efforts for the African people in a very responsible way, so that the resources used in combating violent crimes and negative influence in society can be re-channeled towards nation building and the provision of good standard of living for the common man. Africans must understand that they are the ones making the work of government more difficult in South Africa through irresponsible citizenship, and the incidence of crimes and violence in society. Government cannot do everything at once because it has no magic wand to make miracles happen overnight. People must learn to have patience, trust and understanding that good things don’t come easy in life. It takes a great deal of time, proper planning and implementation of government plans and policies in development plans and projects. There is no country or government in Africa that is doing anything close to what the South African government is doing for all its people in consideration of the complex situation of living in peace and harmony without creating a crises that might tear the country apart. It takes the wisest men on the face of the earth, including God’s guidance to rule a complex country, such as South Africa, after the apartheid era. South Africans must learn to appreciate the government, respect its leaders, and help to contribute meaningfully to the social economic growth and development. The leaders in government are as human as every South African, and they have taken upon themselves the responsibilities of riding this country through the greatest storm on earth with great care and caution. They should be appreciated and helped by all onboard the ship to its destination instead of raping, killing, and tearing each other apart in the ship as it sails to peace, truth, reconciliation and justice for all in the promised land. The progress made in society is not measured by the crime and violence of the people, or simply by the strength of how many houses, roads and bridges are constructed or built for violent and unruly citizens, but by how much investment is made in ensuring a qualitative standard of living for all, and provision of the basic human needs that fulfills the hopes and dreams of the people. These hopes and dreams are not inclusive of crime and violence. The ball is now in our court as individuals to play into the goal of love, peace, progress and national growth and development. Facilitating our hopes and dreams is something the black majority rule of the ANC in South Africa is trying to do, and we must take into considerations the need to appreciate and compliment this effort if freedom and democracy must have true meaning for all the people of this great nation. We know that it is important for the government to continue in their efforts to focus on improving the quality of life of every single child or anyone proud to be called a South African. This the government cannot do effectively if these children are being raped and killed, and our people are being violent and killed in cold blood day and night. It is a very difficult thing to make progress under insecurity of lives and properties, when people are violent and chaotic which could lead to anarchy. There is a great difference between a hungry man and an angry man but there is no difference between a criminal mind and a criminal. A criminal is someone with an evil mind and intent to hurt man and humanity. A hungry man is a struggling man battling and working hard to provide for himself and his family with hopes and dreams to conquer hunger and poverty in the family through hard work, discipline and dedication. There is no difference between a liar, thief, rapist, or murderer. A rapist is not a hungry man but a violent person, with the heart of a demon. A hungry man has no strength or the energy to rape or kill anyone, except the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and have lost his mind. Even so, there is a great difference between needs and wants in economics. We know the difficulties people are facing in life, and the problems of unemployment. This should not be used as excuse for criminal activities and violence in society. The time and mind negatively used for criminal activities must be used for positive thinking and creativity with hopes and dreams to focus on productivity. The culture of laziness or moral laxity in people and youths is responsible for the high rates of crime in society. Another factor is the good efforts of government to provide for the people basic human needs such as housing, free health services and other social welfare services. People are abusing this system and wallowing in laziness and lack of hard work and creativity. Many people have stopped dreaming and started acting irrationally and irresponsibly without future ambitions. They think and believe that their hopes and dreams and their future ambitions is the sole prerogative of government actions, policies and agendas because of freedom and democracy. These are the people who do not understand the true meaning of freedom and democracy, or the role of government in the life of a nation. This ignorance and frame of mind where hopes and dreams cease to exist in human minds is a deep cut and pain in the ass of government who is under pressure to provide everything free for all it’s people, especially for the black or colored communities. This pressure of irresponsible demands for free everything makes it difficult for government to justify responsible demands from the irresponsible ones. Even so is the problem of recognition of what the government is doing right or doing wrong in their lives. They fail to see what is right from what is wrong and this negative energy is channeled into negative acts and deed in their words, their thoughts and deeds. Knowing that human wants are insatiable, some people wish to have everything by force. If the government gives someone an RDP house, the next day another illegal structure will be erected next to the building or at the backyard for other relations or tenants. The person is not satisfied with government housing program, he or she wants free food, free clothing, free water, free electricity, free education, free beer or wine, free gas and cookers, free plates and spoons, free washing machines and Turbo dryers. They wish to ride on the metro rails trains free of charge and shoplift if freedom and democracy permits in the shopping malls and centers. They wish KFC, McDonalds, Pick n Pay, Hungry Lion, and Checkers were free for anyone to have anything free. Because of this frame of mind, people who have no jobs or any means of income, and have no money in their pockets or wallets wake up everyday and spend their time walking around and window shopping day and night, week by week, month by month, year in and year out under the shadow of temptation to either shoplift, break the shop and steal, or rob people to meet their needs. Whereas it was possible for these people to acquire any minor skill such as carpenter, wrist watch repairs, auto mechanic, construction, electrician, plumbing, welding, panel beater, spray painter, driver, fork lift driver, machinist, and those relevant skills that will empower them to get meaningful and gainful employment both in the public and private sector, or start own business. Instead of empowering themselves, they waste their days and time on earth window shopping, walking around hopelessly and forgetting that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Others hang around the streets in their locations and settlements while other people are at work waiting for someone to rob and kill for his money or cellular phones so that they can smoke drugs and drink beer with the money. When they are caught or killed in this evil act, they blame their crimes on the government and on unemployment. Some of these people who have been given houses by the government reason in a way that a hungry man faced with difficulties on how to survive in life and cater for the needs of his family cannot eat or drink RDP houses, or sleep on newly reconstructed roads and bridges. They feel that it is very hard for them to see these development efforts of government if their own lives are not built and reconstructed to meet with their hopes and dreams. Having a house is one thing, but catering for the needs of the family is a different issue entirely. Making a country more beautiful is one thing, but being unable to have a life and live like a human being in that beautiful country is another problem in the lives of most South Africans. This is the real major reality problem with candid reality check that is torturing the hearts and minds of most South Africans. Most black people tend to see the beauty and development in South Africa in the eyes of nightmares, because they personally own nothing of it and feel alienated from it; they are not part of it, hungry, jobless, penniless, homeless and helpless. It is like living in a sudden nightmare where hope is simply but despair. It is like a living hell, dead and alive, being buried alive in a beautiful grave with eyes wide open and none to weep or care. While the government spends billions of dollars on military hardware, reconstruct roads, bridges, and create new structures which is not a bad thing to do, and spend billions of rand on certain programs and projects which does not empower individual lives personally in upgrading their living standards as proof that the government is working hard to make infrastructures better, all these billions of dollars and resources should be channeled especially towards having qualitative basic human needs for all South Africans so that they too can be part of the life in society. A lot of people are financially and socially dead, economically buried, simply waiting for their real funerals by the undertakers. The lives of all these millions of people can be reconstructed and reawakened, so that their dead bones can wake up, arise and shine. Homeless people can have social welfare for council housing, feeding schemes for those who cannot put food on their table for their families, incentives for clothing, medical cards and pocket money to spend until they find their feet to become fully whole again in society. South Africa cannot have social equality in society if this is not done, and the injustice in society cannot be remedied if people remain homeless or forced to live in shacks, hopeless and helpless. Until people have the basic standard of life which includes proper furnished housing, clothing, food, medical card, and pocket money to spend pending their employment, they can never see or appreciate the beauty or development in South Africa, and the incidence of violence and crime will continue to erupt like an active volcano in society. This is why the government must for once tackle this problem because of all its merits. People who have furnished homes will not buy stolen goods from junkies to put in their homes which already have these basic needs, and those people with homes will not wish to break into other people’s homes which is like theirs, and people with basic human needs will not envy the needs of others. The first step to fighting crimes and violence is to ensure human rights and dignity of life. When there is dignity of life, people tend to maintain their human dignity and would not wish to lose it for the life in incarceration. Guaranteeing a basic standard of living is what leads to human growth and development. Every basic human need is all and the same for everyone on earth and any responsible government that guarantees these needs for all its people is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. This is what freedom and democracy is all about, and a government that ignores this fact is a struggling government that will struggle and continue to struggle in vain till the end of time. Lack of this kind of government in most parts of Africa is responsible for the poverty in Africa as a third world continent full of civil strife, insecurity of lives and properties, as well as rebellion and genocide. This is why it is so sad in the African continent with all its natural and mineral resources, whose resources that lay abound on the earth are more than enough to guarantee Africans basic human needs are being wrongfully managed by most African leaders over the century. Most of these African leaders have failed all Africans and have made mockery of African freedom, independence and democracy. Today as Africans, it is so unfortunate and shameful that we have no shame. Some of our shameless leaders gather themselves together without shame at their AU summits like stone-heads wearing European suits and traditional attires busy doing nothing. They are there without shame or disgrace, each one representing the failures, the suffering of their people, reminding us daily how terribly shameful we are to have these people as our leaders from one government to the other. As Africans, I enjoin that everyone should sit on the floor in shame wherever we are for at least three minutes daily, cover our heads with sack cloth and mourn for African leadership from one generation to the other, and observe three minutes of silence for their failures. In this way, I believe we will see the light of hope and be able to decide objectively what future we wish for our future generations. It is unimaginable that a country that sells millions of barrels of crude oil daily cannot provide basic human needs for all its people, and worse still, the people who own the land from which the crude oil is being produced are the poorest in the world today, their land and farms polluted and degraded, and the most underdeveloped in human history? This is the dilemma in Niger Delta states in Nigeria, a typical example of African failures of our hopes and dreams. What a terrible example of shame and disgrace in the heart of corruption and greed? Despite all these, the people in that nation are the most boastful and arrogant people in the African continent who think they are very clever, smart, intelligent and the giant of Africa. Unknown to them, the world is laughing at that nation today as the most corrupt nation in Africa without a sense of reasoning. If South Africa have the crude oil that some African nations have, everyone in Africa will migrate to South Africa in search of better life same way they migrated to Europe and America. Even without crude oil, most Africans have already migrated and occupied South Africa as if it was their own country. South Africa is the Europe of Africa because it is still a country that is doing its best like none other in Africa to make a great difference in the lives of its people. This is the more reason why South Africa must continue to set the pace in African leadership and help teach our other African leadership the part to responsible leadership. South Africa is the only hope and role model for all Africans. This is why South Africa need to invest on qualitative basic human needs in their social welfare system and try to control it’s border posts with proper migration policies. Because there is no qualitative social welfare system to cater for automatic basic human needs, some people in South Africa are angry and frustrated. They express this anger and rage in crimes and violence, destroying the efforts of government in the so-called reconstruction process. The government must therefore place much premium on developing human lives more than the emphasis placed on rocks and stones. As I may rightly say, “An African child who refuses to enjoy the ideal comfort of a cozy European pram, shall suffer from being tied with scarf or a towel to the aching backbones of the mother’s back”. It is therefore imperative that the pro-democracy government now in South Africa should help our brothers and sisters make the necessary decision whether to tie an African child with a scarf or towel to the back of the mother’s aching backbones, or empower the father to push the child around in the shopping malls with a cozy European pram among other white folks in our land. South Africa today is faced with a lot of challenges, which is making everyone very nervous in the society. Basic standard of living have deteriorated amidst high cost of living. Corruption and poor service delivery is said by critics to be hampering the efforts of its people to have a better life. Even so, there is not much corruption in South Africa compared to other African nations, hence there is the urgent need in not allowing this aspect of social ill to be part of government hidden agenda. There is need for accountability in government and the necessity to prosecute corrupt cases without let or failure. This is because we all know how corruption have dragged the African continent to their knees. This experience is visible in Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Kenya, Cameroon, Swaziland, Democratic Republic of Congo, and most other parts of the African continent.

To Be Continued..................

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Great Benin Bronze

EDE N'ERHENA VBE EDO

"

These anti-Edo political organizations you folks went to join are the most anti-African - and Africans - in the world.

They're worse than anything; we obviously can't stop you though, even Ewuare II's manifest destiny lies in our own regional party.

We have egba Omo Oduduwa and so on, NPC, AG, the forerunner of them all NCNC and then now these cancers of today.

Stay "with them", but register for your most important election first: your local election, register Edo Political Front, and if you don't, vote the front.

No self respecting Edo will - in the future - find themselves the flag bearers and cheerleaders of foreign parties with indirect rule political and economic mandates, it just doesn't work.

No sane Edo person lives to "have the ear" of someone who doesn't have Edo at their heart.

The Supreme Court is the place to remove the frustration of these lethargic and "periodic" additions to the voting rolls; here - where I live - you can fill in the forms regarding changing your voter registration at the post office and other easy access places.

At the rate things are going we're going to find ourselves truly in decline as our populations suffer from simple things like protein deficiencies in children

" - Reggie Akpata

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