In Celebration of the New Year



Listening to the mood of South Africa, one senses a collective sigh of relief that 2018 is almost behind us. This has been a difficult year in many respects. February’s new dawn instantly evaporated in the heat of revelations over state capture and corruption. The rot has been exposed in 2018, and it runs deeper than we ever thought.

Marry this to the uncertainty over land expropriation, and it’s an unhappy marriage indeed. We fervently pray that 2018 will not be remembered as the tipping point for South Africa’s decline from technical recession to economic bankruptcy, from social tensions to racial violence, and from constitutional amendments to land grabs, disinvestment and agricultural collapse.

That is not an inevitable future.

The beginning of 2019 offers a fresh opportunity to change course. One of the most fundamental ways to achieve this is through our votes. In May 2019, the national and provincial elections could place South Africa on an entirely new trajectory. We can leave behind uncertainty, tensions and fear, to reclaim the driver’s seat. But to do that, we will need to change our national discourse in the next few months.

We need to stop speaking in tones of defeat, anger and war-mongering. Yes, there are people raising tensions in South Africa; but are we going to give them the central platform of every conversation, or are we going to respond in the opposite spirit?

The only way to defeat a spirit of division is with a spirit of unity. The spirit of fear can only be expunged by a spirit of love and hope. There are amazing initiatives being birthed in our communities to bring people together, to build, uplift, heal and unify. Let’s join our energy to those initiatives, speaking life into our nation.

No one can dictate the agenda without our consent. So let’s rebuild our country through our words, through our focus and through our actions. Let us find channels for our creativity in 2019. When we stand again on the doorstep of a new year, twelve months from now, let it be said that 2019 was the tipping point for South Africa’s revival.

On behalf of the IFP, I wish you and your families an uplifting celebration as we welcome in 2019.