The Chain Reaction E-Mail

One thing that I have accepted as far as the World Wide Web is concerned is that it is efficient in spreading a message across distances, cultures and creed. Actually the whole phenomenon of mass communication is an efficient tool in spreading and assimilating ideas into the minds of the public especially if one wants to achieve a certain effect. We see it everyday with advertising and message coupling in sms communication services.

There have been two terrible e-mails with attachments doing the rounds that I have received which I have found not palatable. In fact I found them despicable. The first e-mail entitled

‘Remember to Vote’

claimed to show images of a hotel and a resort swimming pool in Beira, Mozambique in 1975 as well as another set of the same location showing the facilities in 2007 in dilapidated states. This second set of images, I must admit, blow a hard punch on one due to the harsh state of the facilities. Then there are the words:

‘Welcome to Independent Africa! The idea of democracy!!!!’ – accompanying the e-mail.

I have tried to write the words verbatim to emphasize the textual effect of this e-mail. My first reaction was that perhaps this e-mail, which was forwarded to me by a colleague, was part of a chain reaction e-mail that was doing the rounds to get an idea across. Most of us are well aware of forwarded emails; they range from humor to obscenity!
There has been such e-mails that I have received from colleagues in the past and I must say most of them were positive. For instance there have been e-mails about lost children with attachments of the photos of the children which is helpful in speeding the process of finding the little ones and reuniting them with their respective families. i have also received e-mails encouraging positive thinking to the recipients .

Now comes this terrible e-mail i have hiherto referred to and while I was digesting it there came another one and this time the architects of this sinister plot had outdone themselves; they had methodically bundle an array of photos together; these photos were showing buildings in Johannesburg which were in neglegence. This second e-mail was entitled:

‘The Death of Johannesburg’ in the new South Africa.

And it had the message

‘Do not forget Pretoria!!!!’

‘Very very Sad’

For emphasis the latter words had a sad round face inserted after the word ‘sad’. Due to space and the respect that I hold for my country, country men and women I shall not include the photos here, otherwise I shall be playing into whoever it is’s hand.
The point I am trying to make here is that there is a sinister force at work to discourage the new positive thinking in our country, yes go on you may call it New South Africa. And what it means exactly it means a break away from a segregated state where people could not mix into an inclusive state as far as race and culture are concerned. What it means it means an undivided country, furthermore what it means it means solidarity to our country despite the fact of who is pulling the reins. Finally what it means it means countrymen and countrywomen ready to work together to make South Africa a better country – not to work against it. The two e-mails, I hope more are not forth coming still, they are exhausting to look at. They are despicable!

When one start to really think deeper about these images one start to have an idea that they are part of a negative plot to discourage people from believing in the current government; actually I was not blunt enough – the images are part of a plan to argue that Africans cannot govern themselves! That democracy in the hands of Africans is not democracy; rather it is a misused tool to destroy the country through recklessness and plunder. I strongly believe that to be South African or an African in our time has nothing to do with colour, we have passed that stage, it has everything to do with accepting Africa’s past; engaging assertively with the present and looking forward into the future with an attitude to make Africa a better place to live in.

Let us look at the situation in Johannesburg in terms of deterioration. Why is the place deteriorated? Why will Pretoria deteriorate? (Remember this was the fore-grounded fear in the e-mails).  Ralf Zimmerman’s film Jerusalem (2008) has answered this question; The owners of most of the suburban areas move out once black people move in; when they move some of them lease their property; will the tenant look after the place with the care and dignity of the owner?  My dear reader by implication i do not mean black people are careless, carelessness know no culture nor colour. It depends on one’s upbringing. The desertion of certain areas/suburbs by the the bourgeoisie in our country due to the influxs of other cultural groups is a clear indication of separation that still exists and we must not think that it is white people only who behave this way – the emergent black bourgeoisie also behave likewise in their zeal for exclusiveness!

If people care about a place they need to remain in that area regardless of the demographic changes that take place as some people move out and relocate because of job offers elsewhere and new people move in.

If the love and a feeling of camaraderie persist as new people come in they are bound to pick it up that those who have been settling in that area before them are proud of their community/district. Yes if people can just be communal and work together as well as live together we will all arrive into the New South Africa; not all of us are there yet henceforth the despicable e-mails.

In the light of this, then the terrible e-mails that I am preoccupied with these days illustrate a neglect not on the part of the government alone but also a neglect of those people who say they care about the City of Johannesburg.  What are they themselves doing to bring change? This is a symptom of what we have been witnessing with people threatening to move elsewhere and also really do moving out of the country to Australia and other parts of the world simply because they are not happy with who is in charge here. I think a real South African will stay on and will try and contribute to the betterment of this country in the smallest way possible. They will put up with the situation and work out a plan to change it.

Having said this, whoever it is who is circulating the terrible e-mails should try and think constructively and positively about the image of this country because ‘we make it what it is, not the political parties ‘ – we are the ones who fuel the life of the political parties in the first place anyway by believing in them and embracing their ideologies. I challenge who ever it is who think negatively about our country to stop and do their bit to uplift it regardless of political loyalty. You can start by offering solutions counter to the bad things that you see; even just thinking of ways to improve the situation will do.  This is the challenge i pose to you; are you game?

16 April

2009 © mmutle arthur kgokong

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Mmutle Arthur Kgokong/mmutleak

I am based in Tshwane, South Africa. I have a background in Theory of Literature and History of Art and I'm an enthusiastic Blogger. Strewn here are my musings covering my interests ranging from visual art, television, movies and occasional opinion pieces on matters of public interest.