Do not laugh at a fallen man's misfortune
In South Africa, and indeed across Africa, we practice what is called ubuntu! I cannot find a more appropriate explanation of this expression, suffice to say it literally means African people are filled with human compassion and will go out of their way to welcome even strangers in their homes.
This has been inherited from our forefathers. I guess this milk of human kindness runs deep in their bosoms, something that influenced their decision to welcome, feed and shelter pale strangers from across the sea many centuries ago. And the strangers mistook their kindness to stupidity.
The strangers, or so the story goes, ended up pushing the landlords from their ancestral homes; took over their livestock; their land and forced the landlords into becoming their slaves who would be at their beck and call in what was to be the worst tragedy visited upon humankind.
That is why I will not rub my hands in glee at the tragedy unfolding in London. I hear that security is chaotic. The G4S Company hired to provide security has confessed that they are not going to meet the requirements. Their greed in pocketing profits has now put the lives of our compatriots at risk.
I also hear that thousands of immigration officials are voting to go on strike. This means our compatriots could face unending queues when they arrive at Heathrow airport. Like I say, I empathize with the British sincerely, because we have a assaying in Sepedi, that: lebadi la monna ga le segiwi!
Ahhh, the richness of our traditional languages. For the benefit of our Pommie friends, it literally means that a man’s misfortune is not laughed at. I recall how the British media went to town about the worst decision Fifa had ever made in awarding the 2010 World Cup to South Africa.
They wailed and whined about the un-readiness of South Africa, the unfinished hotels, roads, not to mention the stadiums. Some had not even been to Africa in their lives, yet they wrote volumes about the risks of been bitten by dangerous snakes in the streets of South Africa.
I am not gloating. Yet I know I would be called heartless, cruel, lacking compassion, unsympathetic, cold and whatever expletive they may find in the spoken language for reminding them about the hurtful things they said about our lack of development and sophistication.
A security firm even proposed to provide helmets and bullet proof vests to their compatriots, because the streets of South Africa had been over-run by violent gangs where shoot-outs were the order of the day.
Some of them claimed that their people would be decimated by the AIDS pandemic in South Africa. I would have laughed if their vitriol was not so pathetic. I mean, how do people coming to watch football get infected by the AIDS virus? Unless if they would be coming under the pretext of football, yet in reality in search of the forbidden fruit!
Do not laugh at a man’s misfortune!
I do hope sincerely, that even at this late hour, they will find the strength, fortitude, the will and vision to overcome the chaos that has engulfed the Games and provide us with a spectacle to remember.