I like my country. We have interesting people, we laugh every day and we achieve things. Every second day Cape Town is hosting one summit or another or Table Mountain is being draped in a sash for winning some beauty contest. There’s always something President Zuma is congratulating South Africans for in his State of the Nation Address (Bafana Bafana, look away). I do however feel like we are often forced to be patriotic, and are given no choice but to like something merely because it is from this great nation. I’m proudly South African, but if a Proudly South African item of clothing is ugly, I will say it is ugly. I support South Africa but I also support quality. I appreciate this Buy Local or Die campaign run by some of our musicians. We know that many of our musicians are living on molasses and bread and they need us to support them, but if the music is not good, we need to say so. That is real patriotism.
I buy local music, more now that I’m employed and have disposable income. I try to support artists I like. I attend concerts and parties where South African artists are set to perform, although I try to get in for free most of the time (I’m human). I shouldn’t be judged for using my prowess to wangle a free ticket when my intentions are good. My intentions are proudly South African. South Africans are hustlers. We hustle ourselves out of paying money for things (etolls, traffic fines, TV licences, tips). My home town (Port Elizabeth) is allergic to paying for anything. People will complain about having to pay R30 to get into a Zahara gig. We are allergic to making money, and spending money. There’s frugality and then there are PE people. Does this make us less patriotic than Joburgers, who are more willing to fork out money to see their favourite local artist (who probably hails from the Eastern Cape)? Maybe I should call myself Frugally South African instead of Proudly South African.
Patriotism’s biggest stage is coming up: the *Olympics. This is where we’ll all rally to support our athletes, most whose names we’re seeing for the first time, in pursuit of gold. We could just dig this precious metal from the ground, but I guess a semi-gold medal is more valuable. There’s no greater time to wave the flag of patriotism than when you’re winning.
*Good luck to our track and field athletes, hockey teams, badminton, canoeing, boxing cycling and archery guys, and any other obscure sport I’ve left out. We’re behind you.