Home Opinion and Features OPINION: ‘United we stand, divided we fall’

OPINION: ‘United we stand, divided we fall’


“South Africans are not especially good, not especially bad. To be really special, you’ve got to be American.”

Supporters of US President Donald Trump pray during a protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona on November 6. Picture: Jim Urquhart / Reuters

By Kevin Ritchie

SOUTH Africans’ opinions of themselves have always been a little over-inflated. Nobody can be as awesome as us, we say pointing to a hat-trick of Rugby World Cups and an awesome 2010 soccer world cup for which we awarded ourselves a gold medal for hosting.

Nobody can be as k*k as us either, we’ll tell you, pointing to politicians who have no sense of irony and couldn’t spell shame if you showed it to them in the dictionary or an ex-president who robbed us blind and perverted justice. We’ve got pastors that spray Doom on their congregants as communion or raise them from the dead only for them to die 10 days later.

We rail against our own Deep State; WMC, and just outright deny anything we don’t like hoping that if we do it long enough it’ll come true.

We’re capable of great kindness and mindless cruelty – in real life as well as social media. We’re not especially good, not even our secular saint Nelson Mandela, bless him. And we’re not especially bad.

To be really special, you’ve got to be American. They’ve got a president-elect in Joe Biden which, argues Usman Ali on Facebook, should logically make Donald Trump the president-reject.

Agent Orange, though, is going vrot like a bad naartjie in the White House, a monumental sulk, his fingers stuck in his ears refusing to listen, fighting to the last. He got the initial results – the ones that the rest of the world, with the exception of Russia and some others, accepted – in a bunker like the tin-pot dictator many think he is. His, though, was on the golf course.

His spiritual adviser, Paula White, broke the internet with her impassioned public prayer for divine intervention as the votes were being tallied. Leavened by a dollop of speaking in tongues, she summoned angels of victory from Africa – the very s***hole Trump famously disparaged. Maybe the voices in her head were telling her to WhatsApp the Suidlanders and all our other white genocide nut-jobs lurking in the dark web.

Thankfully the internet responded the way it sometimes does so brilliantly, by setting her clip to Eminem’s Without Me soundtrack, adding a bobbing white cat for good measure. Like all good fundamentalists, she would have done well to study his lyrics – maybe even play them backwards.

Elsewhere fellow televangelist Kenneth Copeland laughed like a hyena, manically for minutes in front of his captured faithful at the news of Biden’s victory.

Maybe they knew something we didn’t. Trump might have been solidly beaten by Biden in the popular vote, but at the last count he still had 71 million votes despite his lies and the state capture; the most of any incumbent president and a lot more than when he actually won the presidency initially.

The rest of us, though, don’t have reason to laugh. That’s enough anger and hatred – and automatic rifles – right there to make our toxic cesspit of social media, Brackenfell, Senekal and Clicks fade into absolute insignificance.

God save the dis-United States – for all of us.

* Ritchie is a media consultant, journalist and a former newspaper editor