How many of us can say with a clear conscience, free of any doubt whatsoever, that we are not somewhat fed up with the land debate?
Any which way you look at it, the issue is associated with unhealthy levels of emotion. As the fiery debate continues, we are probably yet to see the end of it. In the meantime, South Africans are tearing at each other and sadly, often bleeding it out.
At the heart of it sits the notion that none of us are accountable for the wheelings and dealings of the past. Of course this can be good enough reason to shrug the shoulders, but the burden of a legacy left behind, a land debate crisis that became part of the South African inheritance, cannot be denied that easily.
Venturing into dangerous waters, I recall my brother once seriously querying the presence of Europeans in Africa. He was at the time working for a successful, dynamic multiracial company that played a pivotal role in drawing investors to South Africa. As far as staff quotas go, he was definitely part of the minority and comfortably so. Don't get me wrong. He was exceptionally happy there.
I queried him briefly on his statement. He just smiled and said: "This is not our place. We're displaced."
Today, he works in Europe. Uprooted his entire family. I on the other hand, regardless of the desperation I often experience along with my fellow South Africans regarding our future, cannot bear the thought of being an ex-pat. Mostly because there is a piece of land under the clear South African sky with my name on it, a place where my roots run deep.
Way back in 1943, Abraham Maslow presented his theory of human motivation to the world, depicting it as a hierarchy of need, levels within a pyramid. It states that needs lower down in the hierarchy, must be satisfied before individuals can attend the needs further up. The needs, bottom to top, are physiological: safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.
Without getting lost in the jargon, it translates that if your basic needs are not met, neither can you progress to having your psychological needs met and if that fails, self-fulfilment – achieving potential, fails dismally.
According to the latest statistics released by the United Nations Refugee Agency, close on 70 million people worldwide were displaced due to wars, conflict and persecution. This means that every minute of the day, 31 people are being newly displaced. Even more disturbing is that 51% of these displaced people, are children.
It is hard to imagine how life a la Maslow could turn out for this very vulnerable 51%. No wonder the problem is referred to as "an ocean of humanitarian crises". According to the emergency appeal for 2019, 132 million people will need humanitarian aid in the coming year. Clearly, humanitarian funding cannot keep up with the need.
And so it happens, that without having to be a scholar in psychology - 70 million people roaming the planet, will struggle immensely to reach the top of Maslow's pyramid if at all get a glimpse of a bright future.
With proof of our crisis as mankind being so obviously overwhelming, why are we oblivious to why basics matter so much?