We are only a determined, united nation on the sports fields
WHAT kind of a country is this that only experiences a semblance of nationhood on the fields of play, but suddenly forgets to be the same determined nation where it matters most, off the field, to make real the call of a "better life for all"?
From July 27 till August 12, the beloved nation was "all things bright and beautiful" for the 2012 London Olympics. We were one and behind the honour that our sports people could bring under our flag.
On August 16, we were at daggers drawn. All was dim and ugly at Marikana, leaving 34 miners dead. A week before, 10 people were killed at the mine - including two police officers.
Consensus is that the tragedy could and should have been avoided. That the tragedy happened despite an established and shared national view, points to leadership failure.
Not only is this failure on the part of government, but across all sectors of society. A national intuitive ability to see the tragedy coming and prevent it was absent.
The country has become familiar with recurrent tragedies. The lives of the poor do not appear to command as much attention.
Inequality, poverty and unemployment may find frequent bold mentions in political speeches, but there is no unanimity that these triple ills could have been the probable causes of the simmering tensions that reached explosive point at Marikana.
Appeals behind the establishment of the commission of inquiry into the tragedy caution against the apportioning of blame.
The nation is asked to put its accusing fingers on hold. Patience, it is advised, ought to be exercised until the facts are established.
The findings will be made in four months' time. While the nation patiently waits, life has stopped for some. The land of possibilities, that saw the needy travel distances to seek and find opportunities to make life livable, is now being dug to bury the human remains of the dearly departed.
The survivors must be wondering how could a society celebrated worldwide as a paragon of democracy turn a deaf ear on their quest to make ends meet so tragically?
Bottom line pressures that unrepentantly cannot find their way clear to profitability, outside black cheap labour, must have been a contributory factor behind management keeping a non-negotiabledistance.
Contending forces within the trade union movement, and associated turf battles reducing people to mere numbers, added fuel to a flammable situation.
As a custodian of the country's mineral resources, the government remains accountable for social labour plan obligations that go with the issue of mining rights to the quality of life of the surrounding communities and the miners.
Unheard, neglected and vulnerable, frustration inevitably drove some disconsolate miners to find misguided solace in voodoo that promised invincibility and bullet-proof prowess.
That some, drilled into the spells of this mumbo-jumbo, actually believed they will be invisible is a sad descent to a state ofhopelessness.
Failure by police to have detected the troubled state of mind in which the miners were regrettably placed them in no higher rational level by their action.
The duty to maintain law and order equally applies to miners not being placed in harm's way. The use of live ammunition to disarm them can possibly not stand as a rational way to safety and peace. The Olympians sadly returned to the country's flag flying at half-mast.
Is this a nation our sports people went to London for?
A better life for all can ill-afford seeing ordinary people failing just to stay alive.