I have a theory

Oktober 21, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

I have a theory. Not to be mistaken for Martin Luther King’s dream, although it does touch upon both politics and religion. I consider both topics to be dangerous ground to cover. Hence, I do this posting with some trepidation.

South Africa (that’s now the old one where I used to live in) used to call itself a christian nation.   The churches were full, there were no/little sport on Sunday and the Scope came with little stars on strategic places. So I’m told; we were not allowed access to those subversive publications. Even Ruiter in Swart had to be read with circumspection so as not to have it confiscated.

It is now 16 years later, and little of what was previously considered to be the hallmark of a christian nation has remained. This has been the case now, according to my observation, for many years. In fact, things seem to have started changing shortly after 1994. It puzzled me how quickly the changes could take place, putting a bit of a question mark behind the whole thing of the “christian nation.” And before you start an sms campaing against me, what I mean by that is, if we were this truly christian nation, then the changes could or should mos not have taken place so abruptly.

So why did this happen? This is my theory.

People live off the incentives offered by society, a wise colleague of mine once said.

In the old SA, and maybe more so on the platteland, you would have found that the ‘important’ people in town would serve on all the committees there were to serve on.   School committee, school board, church council, Broederbond and what have you. I would assume their could have been some other influencial committees – just can’t think of them now.

So the same people, by default rather than by design, became the major influence in town. More in particular, they became the people who could influence your appointment or promotion.


Also, everyone toed the line with regard to what was considered to be patriotic and acceptable behaviour – politically, morally and in religious terms. Not that everyone necessarily subscribed to those principles, but everyone accepted that you should be seen (or pretend) to do so, because everyone is to some extent watching everyone. So the opinion formers of the town would express opinions which they knew constituted the minimum requirements for acceptable behaviour – once again, not because they necessarily subscribed to those, but because it was “the right thing” to do. That is what society expected of them. Or maybe, that is what everyone thought society expected of them.


So it became a bit like a dog chasing his own tail. You behaved in a certain way because you thought that is what society expected of you. Individually, very few might even have had their hearts into their actions, but all assumed that everyone else (and everyone else = “society”) considered this to be the way to conduct themselves.  

Soon after the change of the guard in 1994, however, it dawned on people that there is very little to gain from conforming to what previously constituted “proper” behaviour. Deviating from this norm did not necessarily constitute a career limiting option any more. Maybe for the same reason, two weeks after the 1994-election, you would have been hard pressed to find a living member of the NP who would admit to have ever supported apartheid.


Those in power, and in particular those who previously could influence your destiny, have lost that influence. So the incentive to toe the line fell away, resulting in people going their own merry way, and ignoring the previous norms that were set.


So my theory is that the previous conforming behaviour had more to do with personal gain than with true beliefs or convictions. Hence the speed with which things changed after 1994, creating the impression of a moral decline, whereas everyone maybe just become slightly more honest.

Eish, now I’m tired! I think maybe I should rather stick to writing nonsense and twakpraatjies.

4 antwoorde op I have a theory

  1. brug het gesê op Oktober 21, 2010

    Honesty is good.

  2. Douwe het gesê op Oktober 21, 2010

    I like your theory!

  3. Nie sleg gedagte nie – wanneer die kerk se invloed te groot word, heers die dogma!

  4. jjjonker het gesê op Oktober 25, 2010

    Kerkorrel het die situasie baie mooi beskryf in sy liedjie ‘Energie’. Hier volg ‘n uittreksel:

    Jy moet staan in jou ry
    Jy moet jou hare kort sny
    Jy moet altyd netjies bly-y-y-y
    Jy moet al die pryse kry

    Jy moet in ‘n huisie bly
    En trou en kinders kry
    In jou karretjie ry-y-y-y
    Stem vir die party

    Ek se^ nee dis ‘n mors
    Ek se^ nee dis ‘n mors ja
    Ek se^ nee dis ‘n mo-o-o-ors
    ‘n Mors van energie

    Betaal jou paaiemente
    Selfs al kak jy weens die rente
    Wees versigtig wat jy doe-oe-oe-oen
    Of jy verloor jou pensioen

    Ensovoorts, by http://www.lyricsvip.com/Johannes-Kerkorrel/Energie-Lyrics.html

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