Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems
South Africans were left speechless (and still unemployed) on Tuesday, 27 October, when President Ramaphosa unveiled a 9m tall bronze statue of Oliver Tambo, at the OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. We’re left wondering how the country is able to afford a R13 million statue (yep, you read that right) amidst Covid-19 and the absolute slaughtering of our already fickle economy.
The statue depicts Oliver Tambo standing with his arm outstretched; holding what resembles the Freedom Charter. Although, I am sure Tambo would have appreciated the sentiment on, what would have been, his 103rd birthday, the struggle hero might too have thought that the exorbitant amount of money spent on this could have been put towards housing, food, business rescue…Hell, aren’t we dealing with a crippling healthcare system that already cannot accommodate patients with pre-existing health conditions?
Some ANC critics were also not very pleased by the fact that the statue bares the ANC badge, saying that Tambo would not have wanted to be associated with a political party so mired by fraud and corruption.
At the unveiling Ramaphosa said Tambo was the architect of South Africa’s freedom.
Tourists: An Urban Legend
“It is, therefore, most fitting that this statue that we’ve erected here at the airport that is named after him, is going to be a gateway to the continent and to the world. As people who come to visit our country, taking their first steps on South African soil, they will see this magnificent bronze statue, gleaming in the South African sunlight”, said Ramaphosa.
The question is, when will these ‘people’ be visiting? 2022? With only a handful of countries now open for international travel, as well as global restrictions changing daily, it seems unlikely that we will experience tourism and international hospitality again for quite some time.
The President said he was aware that some people were not happy about the amount of money spent on the statue, but that it is “far, far miniscule” compared to sacrifices made by the ANC’s longest-serving leader and the returns expected from the tourism attraction.
Well, alrighty then. Perhaps the statue can provide shade for all the South Africans left homeless and destitute due to the economic and sociological nosedive that our country is currently facing.
Of course, the Twitter streets were going crazy and I would highly recommend checking out what the South African people had to say on the matter.
Don’t forget the koesisters, masekin. Enjoy the show!
*These are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Vannie Kaap News.