We’re still standing

by Diane de Beer
Production: Round of Applause – South Africa Still Standing by Marianne Thamm
Photos: Nardus Engelbrecht

Living in South Africa, you don’t have to imagine stories to tell. It’s all there for you, courtesy of the Gupta family and a few politicians who decided this country was theirs for the taking.

Journalist Marianne Thamm is in the unique position to tell this story and give her fellow South Africans another look at the story that still dominates and dramatically changed all our lives.

She calls what she is doing Performance Journalism and she’s got  a show. With the information at her fingertips, how could she not share on stage? And she does it brilliantly.

It’s not a big ask though. The story has all of us hanging on every word – even though we’ve heard all of it before, it still renders us all speechless.

But she’s not going to leave us slithering around in the mud, she dishes the dirt and gives us all the shining lights with our remarkable constitution (a living document) heading the list.

And when a young fan corners her after the show, she encourages her to register. There’s method behind what some might regard as madness.  

Coalitions are what we’re looking for in 2024 she advises, but ask who exactly you are voting for. Don’t just accept that you will be happy with the whole package, check the details. If foreign intruders have taught us anything, it is to be less trusting. Everyone isn’t always in it for the greater good.

She also shares some good news about the public service which has been at the forefront of the destruction but is undergoing dramatic changes. Some underperforming civil servants are being re-trained and if the work is still substandard, moved to other posts where they might fare better.

AfriForum is beginning to help poor black people; we are getting to grips with freedom under the law while knowing what it is like to live without it, lodged in our memory bank. 

There’s Gift of the Givers; South Africa would not have survived without whistle-blowers and politicians should know that there’s always one in the room. Our media is free; we can insist on political transparency; the Zondo Commission …

I think you get her drift. But there’s more and what she reminds us about is the resilience of a country that came through apartheid and then had to battle its own people trying to steal democracy. We can do it.

There’s no blind trust left and while we might be battle weary, democracy is worth fighting for. We’ve had a taste and our people can thrive.

Those with money can make their way through by going off the grid and paying for the services they need, while at the same time fighting for the rights of those who are less fortunate.

Yes, we are still standing, but now it’s time to fly, is this cheerleader’s stance.

“When the people fear the government, it’s tyranny; and when the government fears the people, its democracy.”

And like this warrior journalist Marianne Thamm personifies, we can all find a way to join the fight. It’s a worthy one.

  • Round of Applause – South Africa Still Standing by Marianne Thamm
    14 October 20:00 | 15 October 17:30
    Theatre tent @ Wilgenhof
    Tickets at Quicket