Home Opinion and Features Opinion: Someone actually gave the instruction to stomp on the gravel

Opinion: Someone actually gave the instruction to stomp on the gravel

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I saw a municipal truck rolling slowly down Beaconsfield Main Road hauling a load of what looked like sticky black gravel. The team walking alongside the truck were shovelling the sticky stones into potholes and stamping it down with their work boots.

File picture: Pexels

FOR THE record, I neither get too excited nor too dejected when I read or hear about shuffles in the political arena. Whether it’s promotions or demotions, appointments or dismissals, I could not give a hoot any more.

Recently I read that our country’s dear No.1, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR22 camp is facing massive pressure from the more radical economic transformation (RET) group, which could dash all of the current leader’s hopes for his re-election bid at the December national conference.

Also recently, I casually scanned over an article in which it was reported that the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Kagisho Sonyoni, was elected as the ANC Youth League chairperson in the Frances Baard region during a regional conference.

Seriously, I cannot dress in black and go around mourning what seems to be the decline of one icon, nor do I feel inclined to strap on my pom poms to cheer the rise of another political shining light.

I have become so jaded of late that all I see is that individuals rise through the political ranks – despite all the promises they make to the people from their soap boxes and platforms – to benefit themselves, advance their ambitions and increase their influence.

At this point in my life, I have lost all hope of seeing the society, in which I find myself stuck, benefiting from the advancement of individuals, parties or factions. And this is not just a South African nor a Kimberley problem, nor is it aimed at any specific party or individuals. This is the way things are worldwide. There seems to be a pandemic, not only of a nasty virus that looks like a reggae golf ball, but one of greed, lust for power and increasing domination.

I am just fed up with the whole system, the entire stinking pile.

My frustrations boiled over as I was parked in Beaconsfield a while back.

I saw a municipal truck rolling slowly down the Main Road hauling a load of what looked like sticky black gravel. The team walking alongside the truck were shovelling the sticky stones into potholes and stamping it down with their work boots.

I actually looked further up the road, in the direction from where they had come, to see how far behind them the compactor was, but there was no compactor. That was the extent of the ‘repair work’ they were doing.

No surprise, when I drove down the street this past week after the recent rains, a few of those holes were opening up again. Maybe the gravel was not sticky enough.

The way I see it, some boss had to give instructions to repair that road. Someone high up had to calculate and then someone had to approve the budget. Someone else had to do the planning and there were probably people who had to organise the materials and workforce.

Then there were the people actually doing the job that day. Are we to believe that someone actually TOLD them to do that! And are we supposed to believe that no one, from the top to the bottom of this pile, could figure out that they were wasting a little bit of time and lots and lots of money?

But I suppose we have to accept that this is just how things are in our modern world. People, parties, factions and governments will always be jostling for power. And by this time many South Africans have realised that the power being grasped for is not the power to serve.

However, in stark contrast to this circus, at Easter time there is another leadership style that stands front and centre, high and lifted up above the pickled fish, hot cross buns and chocolate Easter eggs. It’s the Person that is celebrated by Christians the world over at Easter time.

In the written account of one of Jesus’ closest followers, on the Thursday evening that John’s Lord and Master was betrayed, it was revealed to Jesus that He had been confirmed as the supreme ruler over the entire universe.

Now whether you believe it to be true or not that all power was in His hands, the point is Jesus believed it. Now for a moment imagine what a dictator would do with that measure of power. In fact, think about it, what would you do?

As for the King of kings, what He did is recorded in John’s account. The Ruler of all creation, the One who had the right to snap His fingers and demand to be served, got up from his place at the table and did the most menial task that the lowest ranked slave would do.

Without saying a word, He took a jug of water and a basin and washed a dozen pairs of grimy, dirty, dusty and sweat-caked sandaled feet. It must have been humiliating for those who considered Jesus as the leader, watching their lord and master doing what any of them should have done.

Read the account for yourself one day. You will notice that the only One who left the room with unwashed feet that night was the One who had washed everyone else’s feet. Their Master served, but He was not served.

And without even getting into the details of His arrest, torture, execution and eventual resurrection – all highlights of the Easter weekend – we could stop and consider this one event that took place around the supper table in that upper room that Thursday evening long ago.

A Leader who serves, who uses the resources at His disposal to benefit His subjects? That is a Ruler, a Leader, even a King that I can respect, even admire, and yes, ultimately love. A leader that I would have no problem serving.

So, as we have this Easter time to contemplate the life of Jesus of Nazareth, His teachings, His example and His great sacrifice for His subjects, let us take a few moments to say a prayer for our leaders and our aspiring leaders; that they will be influenced by the example of the King of kings and Lord of lords, and catch the real purpose of leadership … which is – as they themselves promise each election – to serve.

And if the Bible is not your preferred source of authority, consider that leadership guru and author John C Maxwell also said it nicely suggesting that, “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader.”

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