Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Ingrid Wolfaardt

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE


I drove home from a meeting yesterday with a very well known NGO/PBO organisation, hoping they will be able to get involved in Prince Albert and its community, specifically the children, to hear that their main sponsor has pulled out because the brand did not get enough exposure through the program, despite the fact that thousands of children were being positively influenced, and that the organisation running the programs, had to withdraw from all provinces except the Western Cape where it is based. And I was so peeved off, not so much with the company who took this decision, fair’s fair, the money came from their marketing budget but that billions are wasted in the state budget, money is thrown around raucously for projects I do not have to remind you of and yet there isn’t money to make a difference in children’s lives, or rather it is so difficult to get hold of money for such initiatives, that one often needs to take to, going over the waters, even NGO’s with proven track records must still fight, beg, borrow and bend backward to get funding for work that will change the face of our country, for better, needless to say.

And as I am driving down the main road of Paarl with its oaks and national monuments, I try and reconcile this with a book I am reading called, “Why nations fail,” and have the following lined up, “The origins of war in Mocambique”, “The price of inequality” and “The promise of land” because I am trying to get my head around why our country looks and behaves the way it does and how do we get ourselves out from going “’round and ’round” the proverbial, political, mulberry bush.

In the reading, I realise I know nothing, understand nothing how nations function and why they look the way they do. I need to redress my own take on politics and say that the type of political and state institutions present are critical to a country’s health or infirmity, so I take my words back: politics is key and crucial to where we go are going as a nation. What I focus on, the collective good of citizens outside the political arena is as ever important and as critical but what happens on the big stage in many ways determines what happens on the small. And I should know this, I’ve even written a novel exploring how macro structures, mind sets, value systems filter down even into intimate relationships.

So I’ve got a lot of learning still to do, but it feels to me that those gladiators in the political circus (I use this word with a straight face) know as little as me, I keep on saying to myself as I read Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s book, “I wish I could send a copy to Malema,” then later I say to myself, “Oh, if only Zuma would read this as night time reading before bed, or Zille or or or…

So I look forward to the budget speech today to try and bring what I am beginning to understand about extractive and inclusive political structures and strategies, with what he is going to say. I am also challenged to look at the budget of our own small fruit export company and ask myself, what part of this is committed to social responsibility and even if it means giving off a holiday or two, a new this or that, what do I choose to do with the money I am a custodian of? I guess the cliche, charity starts at home is still relevant or better said, charity outside the home starts at home.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    February 27th, 2014 @12:15 #

    I admire your constructive response. I find it hard to get beyond fury. One of the unpleasant discoveries of the last year was finding out how very, very little individuals are allowed to give registered NGOs before incurring truly punitive taxes. But "sponsorship" counts as advertising and is fully tax-deductible -- but then it all becomes a "branding" exercise. URGH.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Ingrid</a>
    February 27th, 2014 @17:24 #

    It seems to me we carry a self-serve gene with us, to go beyond that requires something that is not human? I truly try and channel my peevishness and frustrations into action. It's the only way I can deal with it.


Please register or log in to comment

» View comments as a forum thread and add tags in BOOK Chat