by George Annandale
I woke up on Saturday morning to the exciting news that over 500 “Bundles of Joy” were born on Christmas day in South African hospitals.
We need this glorious news like a hole in the head. Truth be said, besides the 500-odd babies born in hospitals a further five-thousand-odd were born all over the place; babies born in abject poverty from parents who cannot sustain themselves, never mind their “Bundles of Joy”.
What the tellers of the stories of delight omits from their good tidings is that more than 200 of these “Bundles of Joy” will be dead as Dodos by next Christmas, many of them having died most horribly of hunger or HIV/Aids related deaths.
The bearers of good tidings also forgot, conveniently perhaps, to tell us how many of these babies were born to unemployed and poverty stricken parents who can hardly afford enough food to render onto them the energy required to procreate. Many of them having probably harnessed their last bit of energy, most likely derived from an energy bar or Wilson Toffee, stolen from the nearest spaza-shop.
To add more gloom to the supposedly joyous Christmas birthing occasion, it must be noted that more than a hundred of the babies who survived the first year, will die a horrible and suffering death before they are five.
The four-and-a-half thousand who remain, after the initial carnage, does not face a life of moonshine-and-roses either. At least 50% of them will live on the breadline, having to scrounge a living from rubbish heaps, dust bins, begging and petty theft; never knowing whether they will see the next Christmas and not even having a clue that, odds are, they will be dead by twenty-five.
“What is wrong with that?” – some may quite rightly ask, not realising we live in a country, part of a continent that, with the best will in the world, have never been able to sustain itself and its people without alms and food donations.
That the ANC government and its partners refuse to acknowledge or address this very real problem is inconsequential to most. To them, the so-called leaders, the populist promise of social allowances, whilst hoping for a miracle, is the only way to handle the crisis facing the country and the continent.
Instead of facing the fact that too many people are competing for resources, they while away their time, making transformation plans whilst blaming everything, from labour-brokers to white farmers, weather, apartheid, thieves-in-their-midst and wages, for the plight of the poor and desperate.
To them, the so-called leaders, as virulent African breeders of note, the very idea of any legal constraints on breeding, like measures propagated, implemented and enforced by many civilised or half-civilised country outside the African continent, as solution to their overpopulation problem, is quite unthinkable, or as some would say, “Too ghastly to contemplate”. Instead of preaching moderation, African leaders urge their illiterate followers to “Go forth and multiply” and promise them monetary rewards as an additional incentive, encouraging them in their belief that their breeding is an assurance policy against famine and pestilence.