President Cyril Ramaphosa talks to former US president Barack Obama at the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture. There was beauty in listening to Obama, but here in SA we are running out of time. Ramaphosa’s New Dawn needs to become tangible.
Image: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

We are a nation of talkers‚ not doers; of politicians‚ not entrepreneurs. We analyse problems brilliantly; we solve them poorly. We are a nation of great policies‚ but of little implementation.

On these shores you get elected for having a big mouth and a deft Twitter finger; you will get precious few votes for having achieved anything. We like political singers – we applaud them loudly and return them to office even as they rob us blind while lulling us into stupidity and acquiescence with their ditties; we save our harshest words for those who create products‚ factories and jobs.

Before Barack Obama became US president in 2008 we were talking about universal healthcare (the NHI). He left office in 2016 after two terms and had put in place Obamacare. Here at home‚ hospitals have no medicines‚ no specialists‚ no cancer treatment machines‚ no electricity and sometimes no water. We are still talking about the NHI. In 10 years we will still be talking about NHI. We talk‚ we don’t do.

So last week Obama was in town. We love him here. We packed the Wanderers Stadium to listen to him. As soon as he finished speaking we left the stadium and went to our comfortable homes. Did we actually listen to the man?