Monday, August 06, 2012

Early thoughts on a political evolution

I have always been a political junkie. Some would say it’s a passion others a misfortune. In retrospect is a combination of many streams that have defined my life so far. However at the very core I believe that it is ultimately an extension of my true intellectual disposition toward history, as politics is in a sense the footprint of history played out in the present.

My early childhood was spent in the South African city of Pretoria – the executive capital of South Africa. Pretoria is a fairly attractive locale that is nestled in a valley. The city is known for its jacaranda trees, its attractive residential areas, parks and laser straight main streets that offer urban area a sense of order that sees it as the Jekyll to the ‘Hyde’like status of Johannesburg (the sister city that resides less than fifty kilometres to the south). Pretoria is also South Africa’s executive capital (the Government offices are located in the Union Buildings) and was during the apartheid years the brain trust for these hideous policies. Today it serves, virtually in the same offices, the ruling elite of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Not a business city, port or vacationing hot spot (those accolades go to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town respectively), Pretoria by its very nature has been at the centrality of South African politics. Growing up in the city it was not uncommon to run into diplomats and their families and in my schooling I did so on many occasions. This gave Pretoria a slightly international and highly welcoming flavour that contrasted sharply with the provincial numbness of is bureaucracy that continues to rubber stamp in drone like fashion the agenda of the ‘apparatchiks’ of the relevant statism.

 It was in this contrast that I believe my political consciousness was born. I welcomed the internationalism but in doing so invariably grew to detest the bureaucracy, which seemed to loom as a joy kill over all that was human with Kafkaesque intent. One could argue that my early appreciation for small government emerged from this reality.
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