The true meaning of self-sacrifice

08 January 2020 | Opinion

Before every election in southern Africa - and often intermittently during public holidays - we are reminded of their blood that waters our freedom, and how democratic nations in the region owe their gratitude and undying support to former liberation movements.

We are told to harken back the glory days, when battles were fought for our freedom and when those now plumb with power were fighting wars in faraway places, and being educated in tropical climes.

For this we are supposed to be eternally grateful, while overlooking current transgressions and a lack of integrity.

We are reminded by their actions that they did not fight the struggle to be poor, as treasuries in southern African nations become looting pools, and a competition unfolds to see who can fatten themselves the quickest.

It genuinely seems as if there is a contest to decide which political parties are the best siphoning machines, as they brazenly plunder their nations' resources for their own self-aggrandisement – regarding government resources, including land, as their own personal property, while the majority of the populace is left in abject poverty.

Now what are we to do, as they deploy their barbs at some imaginary ideological enemy, and tell us that some bogeyman from the West is after them and wants 'regime change'.

We should remind them what true self-sacrifice is.

They should know that selflessness is found in appreciating that they are owed nothing for the fight against colonialism and apartheid.

There should be no sense of entitlement.

If one does something for someone because you honestly want the best for that person (in this case your country); then you should not expect, let alone, demand any form of gratitude or loyalty. It is this lesson that has been sadly lost when it comes to our former liberation movements.

And as some have eloquently expressed: Their greatest enemy can be summarised as a blatant refusal to progress, and give way to the new global village.

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