I’m not sure about everyone else, but when I heard last week that the Beebs would be broadcasting Question Time from South Africa, I was quite miffed! We all agree that Nelson Mandela was a great icon but of what use is taking a whole programme and it’s crew off to South Africa with my hard-earned license fee when there are pressing issues right here in the UK which equally need debate?
Add to that the shocking similarity I noticed at the start of the programme of the set in Johannesburg to those of previous episodes here in the UK. Everything was the same, down to the lighting and montage, which means they probably shipped everything over there including the props!
My outrage soon evolved into something more mellow with the first question during the programme. Something about how ethical was it that the South African public booed President Jacob Zuma at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Oh Lord. Never in the history of Question time has there been a more passionate audience and a more fiery panel.
Africans don’t do PC (Where else would you hear words like ‘House Negro’ and ‘The white Man’ being thrown around?) and I’m sure David Dimbleby will be making very good use of the next three weeks off after such a fascinating and emotionally charged debate. I felt sorry for him a times because, this debate was raw, heartfelt and compelling, very unlike the typical ones he encounters with a British audience and political tip toeing of British MP’s with what they can or cannot say.
To sum it up, South African born British MP, Peter Hain was told to take a hike. This was no place or time for tepid sentiments, the audience were out for blood! The South African cabinet Minister, a Lindiwe something (this must be a very popular name in SA! I know a lot of Lindiwe’s) will most likely get a Christmas bonus from her party; the ANC. She gave a sterling,though unconvincing defense of her government’s attempts at tackling key issues in the country. I applaud her ability to remain unfazed when she herself was booed by the audience while condemning the booing of president Zuma. She reminds me of some of president Goodluck Jonathan’s numerous aides who serve as his mouth piece for spewing gallons of rubbish like a leaking pipe.
We also confirmed that there is still deep-rooted resentment between whites and blacks in South Africa and all the media hype about how everyone was living in one love was utter rubbish. There is massive corruption within the government and at all levels (And there was I thinking this was only rife in Nigeria!). The president allegedly paid for a security upgrade at his home using tax payers money. This upgrade also allegedly included a swimming pool. Seriously, If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was Nigeria.
I was listening to the Nigerian News Network this week (only because my mum is around). I never watch NTA news…never. Since I observed that my blood pressure was always higher after listening to news from Nigeria. The result of watching the sheer brazenness with which public wealth was being squandered shown on telly with no remorse. I decided it wasn’t worth it, dying for a country that didn’t give a hoot about me. This week, it was announced that the senate building was going to get a million dollar make over. I haven’t seen the Senate building in years but I’m pretty sure that in the last ten years, not much wear and tear could have befallen it to warrant a huge renovation costing millions of dollars, especially when there are millions who do not even have a roof over their heads, let alone renovate their place of work.
This Question Time episode in South Africa was an eye opener and I’m grateful to whoever it was at the BBC who thought of it. Africa needs a voice and tonight, they had one in the form of Question Time. There are very few platforms that enable Africans be in the same room as the people who govern them, let alone express their frustrations and anger at their country’s leadership and for this I am grateful that those people in that audience today, got that chance.
I wish there could be a Question Time in Nigeria. I’m trying to imagine whom the likely panelists would be…..just the thought of it makes me laugh.
Was my license fee put to good use on this occasion? Hell yeah.