South Africa and the “Panem et Circenses” cycles:

Definition: “Bread and circuses” (bread and games; from Latin: Panem et circenses) is a metonymic phrase referring to superficial appeasement. It is attributed to Juvenal, a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century CE — and is used commonly in cultural and particularly in political contexts.

In a political context, the phrase means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace — by offering a palliative: for example, food (bread) SASSA pay-outs (a monthly stipend as a “reward” system for being black and poor.) or entertainment (circuses), (in the South African context), would include Rugby, Cricket, Soccer Tournaments and the hosting of international sporting events like the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Please do not try and convince us yet again that should the Springboks win the game next week and seal a victory over the British Lions, that somehow, by deus ex machina going to be good for a country. That may be our country needs a dose of good news after the pandemic? That a win against the British Lions will somehow help with the subsequent destruction of people’s democratic rights through martial law (read the lockdowns), euphemistically touted as a “state of disaster. That winning will erase the genocidal socioeconomic inequalities since 1994, which are both systemic (meaning it’s inherited from the Apartheid structures), and political (meaning it’s a socio-political choice by the ANC government). 

The looting and mayhem of the past two weeks are a striking symbol or symptomatic of a system that is by definition designed to maintain and enhance human suffering (read, keep black people poor) by the ANC government and its partners, the white capital class and the business oligarchs. The deliberate lies along with the state and white capital sponsored media campaigns will not work this time. No number of sporting wins will change the daily realities of a broken society and a criminally negligent government that has all but forgotten its people.

See, the ordinary people of South Africa have crossed their “Rubicon.” Things can no longer go back to just “service delivery” protests, they must now believe that it is possible to overthrow this government. And that has gotten the First Magistrate of our Republic, Matamela and his “fellow black and white trough hunters” seriously anxious. That is a good thing because, for the first time, the ordinary people of South Africa have shown their power and proven that voting doesn’t work, but disrupting the status quo does in a way that you have their attention.

No more “bread and circuses” (fuck the wins)! No more fairy tales like the “Rainbow Nation” (fuck the homespun mythologies)! No more Mandela, Thabo or Matamela is somehow going to make a difference in the lives of our people, and we must just give them a little more time. So far as I know, there is not a Stock Exchange or bureau de change in the world that accepts free rugby or soccer tickets to watch the Springboks or Bafana Bafana win as legal tender, nor can you use it as a “food coupon” at your local Shoprite or Pick & Pay.

If the ANC government doesn’t see the recent events as a dry run for “Storming the Bastille” as a watershed moment in their history, or as a massive vote of no confidence in their (in) abilities, and an urgent opportunity to turn things around massively and quickly, then they should be consigned to the rubbish heap of history. Their ill-gotten gains may not be enough to buy them a ticket out of this country, seeing as their theft and malfeasance has grounded the very national airlines (SAA) they may need right now to escape from their misdeeds, the dumb bastards….

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their Government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” ― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta.

“Where the people fear the Government, you have tyranny. Where the Government fears the people, you have liberty.” – John Basil Barnhill.