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October 2018

I have been thinking recently about what makes a good person and what makes a good citizen of South Africa?

Now and again I ask myself – what is the purpose of my life? What gives my life meaning? As a person, I believe that I am on earth to make a positive contribution in the lives of others. I need to be honest, reliable, considerate, caring and hard working. I need to work to generate an income so that I can feed and clothe my family; educate my children and prepare them for the world that they are going to live in (as well as I can because I do not know the world that they will live in); prepare for my retirement; and above all, make my little contribution to our society and our country.

As farmers, we don’t work for anyone else – we are able to use land and natural resources to earn a living. However, the land does not do the work – we have to do the work on the land to produce the crops that we can sell. However, we choose to generate an income, we have to generate that income so that we can survive. 

What would make me worthy to call myself a good South African citizen? A country has laws which we have to respect. The purpose of laws is to ensure that our society functions properly. I need to pay tax so that I contribute to the country. In South Africa now there are more than 17 million people who are getting grants from the government. Where does this money come from? It comes from the government and that comes from the taxes that people pay. Farmers even pay taxes that we are not aware of – import tax on many of our inputs, tax on the fuel we use, and VAT on our inputs. If we do not pay tax, the government would have no money and our country would stop functioning. 

Does being a good person, or a good farmer, or a good citizen have anything to do with my colour? No, indeed it does not. We are all South Africans and we need to work together to make a better future for us all. I love the words of the Dalai Lama: If we were really to see one another as brothers and sisters, there would be no basis for division, cheating and exploitation among us. Therefore, it is important to promote the idea of the oneness of humanity, that in being human we are all the same.

Publication: October 2018

Section: Pula/Imvula