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No cake on the table


Our city has been through a lot in recent weeks and more protests may be little more than a fortnight away.

Our city has been through a lot the last while.

Emperor Nero was not a nice guy. In fact, he will go down in history as a real-life super-villain, of sorts. 
You may recall him being the guy who used Christians as human torches, but there was so much more to him than merely this single claim to infamy. 
For one thing, he lived a life of extravagance and excess, until things turned ugly; as his slightest wish was viewed as everyone’s command.
Nero loved the arts and beautiful things and even considered himself quite the musician. The problem was he was no maestro, and when you have a reputation for overreacting while wielding the power of a god, few are likely to correct your personal misconceptions.
This may not sound like the biggest of worries but largely, as a result of this, Nero lost touch with the people of the once mighty Roman Empire. 
As time passed his thirst for extravagance and excess grew greater, as did the strain that his frills, fantasies and fancies put on the masses. 
His passion for beautiful things drove a wedge between the ruling and ruled, widening the gap between them and eventually breaking all grasp of reality that the last Roman emperor thought he once had.
While the Great Fire of Rome, on the night of July 18-19, AD 64 devastated and brought an empire to its knees, Nero left the people to panic while he played the fiddle.  
However, Nero was by no means the first leader to come into power having either lost or in the process of losing any concept of the needs of the people.
Before losing her head, literally, Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France.
She also liked pretty things, always got her way and lived a carefree, cruel and costly lifestyle.
While the people of her kingdom were starving and emaciated, she remained as voluptuous as always.
As the queen looked down her nose at those born with silver spoons in their mouths and blue blood in their veins, she never spared a thought for those for whom disease, death and involuntary diets were the order of the day.
As with Nero, the gap between the ruling and ruled grew wider and wider and when she was told that the people had no bread she is famously quoted as saying, “Let them eat cake.”  
Not too long after that, on October 16 1793, she knelt before the guillotine and no cake was served. Only mob justice.
Our city has been through a lot in recent weeks and more protests may be little more than a fortnight away.
Sadly, the cause for concern is neither new nor unique to Kimberley, as the stench of raw sewage in Barkly West reminded me on Saturday afternoon. The appalling state of the Province, its cities and towns are widespread; and violent service delivery protests are becoming so common that they are bordering on normal.
Part of the problem is that people are fed-up and rightly so; but this not an excuse to cause death and destruction but rather, it warrants action.
The main cause for contention stems from on high where the Queen of the Kalahari and co have gone the way of Nero and Marie Antoinette.
I can’t say they were playing the fiddle while Kimberley burned because they were nowhere to be seen. 
No cake is likely to be served either but there is a KFC in every town.
Empty, angry stomachs are growling for a revolution and as next year’s election grows ever closer, the leadership needs to remember that they aren’t royalty who were born into power, and we don’t need to spill blood in the kingdom to overthrow them.
We just need to spill ink on the ballot.