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The ANC, the DA, and the peri-peri chicken

Bruce Gorton | 2013-10-11 13:51:30.0
South African restaurant chain Nando. File photo

The recent Nando's chicken scandal from Mahikeng leaves me with an odd feeling – a basic approval of the ANC.

Normally I am pretty critical of the ANC, because normally I think there is a lot to criticise - but this time?

I actually think if the story is as reported, and the ANC fed 2 300 people Nando's for 10 days I am pretty happy with that, it is the precise sort of thing we need to see more of from our government.

And they didn't even do it for such a huge amount of money. The ANC claims it was for R45 000, the DA claims it was about R130 000.

On the ANC’s figures for 10 days they spent under R2 a meal, for the DA’s its R5.65, either way that is pretty darn cheap.

Even if one assumes that it was actually 230 people over 10 days, it is still within the realms of reason considering Nando's prices.

And it is the precise sort of thing that really does build our nation. Nando's as a takeaway is proudly South African in origin and proudly Portuguese in cuisine, the sort of cultural infusion that leaves us all feeling that much fuller for it happening.

A people who eat together can better appreciate what is good about each other, and while on the surface this may look like frivolous luxury – a degree of frivolity and luxury are necessities.

The mechanisms of inclusiveness, the idea of “this is who I am and I would like to share it”, whether they be through stories, good food music or anything else are the things which are considered “frivolous luxuries.”

They are Chinese New Year, Christmas and Kwaito, Durban curries and jokes shared at the pub. These are all things we could live far more cheaply without – but would we want to?

We like luxuries, and we need as a people to like each other a whole lot more.

Yesterday a bunch of idiots marched against "white genocide", holding the flag of our past. A past in which the government of the day tried in vain to maintain "apartness" - the way we can come together on things as simple as good food shows how futile that mindset is.

That old South African flag represents an ideology that failed, an ideology of seeing each other as enemies, not compatriots.

When we can stop seeing each other as threats, and start seeing each other as the source of good things we will stop being many nations divided by the horrors of history, and start being one nation united in our common interests.

And that is what things like Nando's represent to me - that we are growing together and sure it isn't easy or painless, but we will not be apart any longer.

Besides I would much rather see our government spending that money feeding people really good chicken, than on things like Nkandla.

The automatic defensiveness of the response to the DA’s claims here? I can see where it comes from because the DA is the opposition, but it is unnecessary. I think the DA is wrong and that this is one case where I can say “Good on the ANC.”

Everybody likes Nando's.

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