The dancing and the ponderous

More South African contrasts.  We’ve just passed the most wonderful band playing outside the Waterfront – a group of young men playing with a naturalness, energy and exuberance that brings a lump to the throat.  On the TV this morning, they were [I think] marking the 10th anniversary of the Constitution with an event of such weighty boredom as would make the Eurovision Song Contest seem interesting.  Delegates from each of the provinces were reporting progress on equality, progress, freedom, justice … people were addressing one another with a studied respect … and the sound kept breaking down.  Not that it mattered.  But don’t knock it.  I always believed that a violent society was a place of short-cuts – bombs and bullets instead of listening to a point of view or valuing a different tradition or outlook; slogans and over-simplifications rather than struggling to understand; fear engendered rather than the kind of sympathetic space in which diversity can flourish.  Wholesome and participative democracy on a grand scale may seem worthy and dull – but it is precious, precious.

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