In reading Tim Cohen’s column, as I always do with joy, I noticed in the end of it he too had arrived at the bridge whose name we can still not say aloud. Yet sooner rather than later it will have to be crossed: what did the colonial era bequeath the republic? It is so sad to see Eskom, built by the indefatigable energies of HJ van der Bijl and with union government backing between 1922 and 1950, on its knees; and the country with it.
Equally disheartening is seeing Transnet, launched by unification of the four separate railway systems in 1908 into the South African Railways and hugely modernised in the 1950s by the union government, about to disintegrate.
One might even mention the welfare system of state old-age pensions and child welfare grants. They were fought for by the Volkskongress in the 1930s under HF Verwoerd and introduced for whites in the 1960s by the Nats, and were taken over and extended by the ANC.
Will the South African Social Security Agency survive and continue the tradition?
Anyone even daring to cross this bridge is still nailed. In his satirical 2009 Out to Lunch column David Bullard imagined a SA without colonists, in his wicked way, and was thanked with a swift dismissal and excommunication. Helen Zille hardly dipped her toe in the "running water" debate, and was tarred and feathered.
Yet the discussion must still be had, at a substantive level without recriminations or personal insults. This will not entrench victimhood, but will set us free.
Are South Africans mature enough?