20 January 2014

South Africa: Analysis - a Culture of Entitlement That Holds Us Back


Over the weekend main editorials once again lamented the reaction of police to what we still call the "service delivery" protests in Mothutlung and which led to the deaths of three people last week.

That police were heavy-handed is trite. Already the Human Rights Commission has pointed out that if the police had implemented their own recommendations after the Andries Tatane shooting in 2011, these three fatalities would not have occurred. But there is a much larger dynamic that is playing out and that is part of these protests. It is a culture that is beginning to cause real damage to our nation, and to our future. And it's about entitlement, politics, elections, and initiative.

Most nations have myths and legends about their formation. Britain has a proud history of withstanding invasions from Europe, France a proud history of supplying those invaders, Germany is more complex, while Russia looks back on its "glory days" as a major player in European politics. These myths help to create popular culture and form a major part of present-day political discussions.

In the US there is a culture of self-sufficiency, of doing things for yourself. If you go back to the...

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