It didn’t help to read the news this morning. Two items on IOL caught my attention and both only deepen my sadness on this beautiful day. I’ll quote parts of both articles and you will see what I mean.
baby lay on the pavement sucking on his bottle, with one hand shielding
his eyes from the hot sun. Toddlers huddled in the shade of a street
vendor’s table. A little girl bent down to wee on the pavement.
This was the disgraceful scene outside a Johannesburg inner-city creche
that was shut down on Tuesday in a continuing crackdown on facilities
breaking safety and health by-laws.
Arriving at the Basa Creche in De Villiers Street on Wednesday and
finding it still closed, parents abandoned their children at the
entrance and demanded that teachers look after them. They said this was
only right, as they had paid their fees.
Parents then went off to work.
‘Children were too tired to play and fell asleep on the pavement’
teachers inside the building would not allow the children to enter. So
a group of about 20 youngsters, ranging in age from one to about four,
were left to fend for themselves on the pavement.
Two-year-olds Patrick and Patricia Ndlovu climbed into The Star’s car
for shade. They began crying when the driver had to leave and they
found themselves back in the sun.
Nosabatha Nqali, three, was sitting on the pavement talking to her
friend, wishing their teacher would bring them something to eat.
"I want to go to school," she said, smiling.
By noon, all the smiles had gone. By then, the children, bubbly and
running around in the morning, were too tired to play and fell asleep
on the pavement.
I know these parents have to work and often don’t have the luxury of a space to keep their children if problems like this occur but how could any parent leave a child so young on the streets of any city, let alone Johannesburg, like that. Perhaps I don’t understand the parents’ circumstances but it seems to me that this is little more than neglect and disregard for these poor children. Of course the teachers’ attitude is also disgusting. To just leave these kids out on the street like this is just as bad, especially for people whose occupation is to take care of these kids. Let’s not forget the local authorities who should have been there to make sure this didn’t happen. Very bad behaviour people. This picture breaks my heart. Check out the full article for more.
The next article is just as bad, except on a larger scale.
Mbabane – Said to be one of the ten most expensive cars in the world,
the Maybach 62 is sleek, glamorous and – some might argue – a little
out of place in a country where two thirds of the population lives
below the poverty line.
But if that country is Swaziland – and the person behind the wheel, so
to speak, is King Mswati the Third – this argument would not stand in
the way of him signing on the dotted line.
The Maybach, produced by the German-American car manufacturer
Daimler-Chrysler, has become the latest addition to the royal fleet –
and Mswati took his first spin in the vehicle last week.
Only 1 000 of the hand-built cars are assembled annually
king drove up the main street of the capital in this beautiful car, and
he was flanked on either side by bodyguards in cars which were almost
as magnificent," said cashier Martha Dlamini.
She witnessed the motorcade passing through Mbabane en route to Mswati’s palace at Nkayoyo, on the outskirts of the city.
According to Daimler-Chrysler, the Maybach’s features include a DVD
player, television set and cordless telephone. To this, the king has
added a few features of his own choosing: heated leather seats, a
refrigerator and a bar.
Only 1 000 of the hand-built cars are assembled annually, at a cost of
about $350 000 (R2,1-million). However, the version bought by Mswati
has apparently cost $500 000.
His purchase of the Maybach comes at a time when over a quarter of
Swaziland’s 970 000 people are dependent on non-governmental
organisations for food aid, and many who are HIV-positive go without
the anti-retroviral drugs needed to prolong their lives.
The Southern African kingdom currently has the world’s highest HIV prevalence rate, of about 39 percent.
At the same time, increased competition abroad is undermining Swazi
exports, while foreign investment in the country is static – and
unemployment put at 40 percent.
The real question comes at the end of the article:
The question will remain in the minds of ordinary Swazi citizens: what
is it about King Mswati that seems to make him blind to the plight of
his own people?
Is this any better behaviour that the previous article? How can a leader of a nation behave so recklessly? There is no excuse for such extravagance in light of such poverty. Sometimes I feel that there is such disregard for our fellow beings on this planet. There are some who dedicate their vast fortunes to the upliftment of their poorer brothers and sisters and, at the same time, far too many who have and act only to meet their selfish needs. Thank goodness this man is not my leader.