Give them circuses

“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” Juvenal

02 April 2024

Alas, with the banning of the EFF from SONA 2024, the South African public was denied both bread and circuses this year as the president tiptoed around the dire reality of life in South Africa today, where around 49% of South Africans barely survive off state charity in the form of social grants. The average middle class household, or those earning between R5 000 and R20 000 per month, have 40% less purchasing power than they did in 2016.

As if living without service delivery and the breakdown in the social contract isn’t enough, we didn’t even get to enjoy the spectacle of inter-party showdown drama of the red berets disrupting proceedings and, generally, putting on a jolly good show, usually the one thing we could count on getting some value from our tax rands. I have the sense that citizens – we peasants and pawns in the great international socioeconomic game – are not getting our dues. Across the world, disaffected citizens are giving up on democracy that fails to satisfy any of their day-to-day needs, or baser desires. The general mood is one of dissatisfaction at the excesses of the global commercial and political elites, as extreme wealth inequality grows without limit.

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