Dear Mr. Zuma
This is in response to your Office’s call for public contributions towards the State of the Nation Address.
I would like you to discuss nothing at all. Other than (bad) entertainment, what are your words good for?
You rose from the poverty that apartheid left you in, and by some mysterious power (which you have mistaken for your ancestors’ blessing) soared to the very pinnacle. That’s not just heroic: it’s messianic. You think an ancestor did that for you? No. It was your moral power. You’ve reduced that to nothing, too. That’s why you feel this infinite need to look to the dead to inspire the living. You would rather credit ghosts for your good deeds lest those deeds haunt you with the unbearable knowledge of who you could have been. I don’t think you can understand the magnitude of what you have lost.
Had you simply come along to do evil, history would be more forgiving. That you first showed so much promise and then squandered it is what makes your betrayals so much more spectacular and hurtful.
Who is praising you now? Are they praising you from the heart, because of who you really are? Or are they just tickling your ears as you give them what they want at the expense of the people who look to you? Do you have to pay for the forced applause?
How much did you sell the little, little pieces of your great, great soul for? Did you at least gain the whole world?
They’re sainting and ordaining you. But are you ready to meet your Maker? Will you lie to him who knows how to ask questions? You don’t have much time left. However much longer you live, you’ll still be a long time dead.
Many will line up to dance on your grave.
It won’t do for me to magisterially weigh the cases made for and against you to determine their merit. Instead, I’ll tell you the cumulative impact of your presence on the media – the taste, as it were, that you leave in people’s mouths – in personal terms. I do not take pride in being Zulu anymore, and you are the reason. When you are presented as proof of our people’s nobility, I shudder. For if you’re the best the Zulu people can produce, then we are what happened when God decided to curse this land.
No, please, I am not interested in Jan van Riebeeck: he is not my blood relative. He does not make me ashamed of what courses in my veins. You are and you do. If I wanted to hate white people I could simply stay away from them. But you and I have too much in common for me to escape our shared heritage that easily. Sesilahlekelwe yisithunzi. You took all our dirty laundry as a people-group – some of which was a result of historical influences, I know – ran it through the mud and soiled South Africa with it.
I know, I know – I have no right to talk to elders this way, anginanhlonipho, etc. blah blah blah.
If you would prefer to be spoken to like an elder, then behave like one. Otherwise you will be booed.
But let’s imagine I did still care about etiquette.
Is it nice, being able to chop and change the rules to your benefit and convenience? You’re the president of a republic when it suits you and a patriarchal elder when it doesn’t suit me?
Yet I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ve resigned. #ZumasResigned.
Or do say something. Tell us more beautiful lies about our plastic democracy and paper rights and your multitude of token efforts at fighting with your left hand the corruption you commit with your right hand. Give the speech in Mandrin or Russian. Either way I will not watch SONA2015 if you’re speaking because it will be a waste of time. If I wanted to watch drama I’d do that, not listen to you tell a good story. Leave fiction to the people who get paid to produce fiction.
Or say nothing.
You have washed out the meaning of words. You were. You no longer are. You counted. You no longer count. You mattered. You no longer matter. And that’s why I’d personally prefer it if you said nothing for SONA2015. This is my call for you to #SayNothing.
Say nothing. Silence is golden. Give us the peace, the time, and the dignity to mourn what’s left of this nation. Respect us enough not to take any more of our time and attention. Let some meaning remain in words by not abusing any more of them. Do not insult our intelligence once again by standing in front of us to recite a speech written in an ivory tower by someone who doesn’t even know. A speech, frankly, that you won’t even know. The charade is abhorrent. Spare us. Most importantly, if who you used to be matters at all, if you want to spare your old self and leave something good about you for history to remember, refrain from saying anything. Say nothing. That’s the only worthy tribute you can pay to a legacy you have reduced to nothing.
Do not say that you have resigned – that’s an accomplished fact. We accepted that without your help. Do not say that you will pay back the money: there isn’t enough of it to go around for anyone anymore. To borrow a song line: you say it best when you say nothing at all. There is nothing left to say. So say nothing.
Stay in touch
#SONA2015 #SayNothing #ZumasResigned #FormerPresidentJacobZuma