Its palpable. The traffic on Louis Botha is celebrating. Everyone is hooting. Its bigger than when SA won the Rugby World Cup. And if you're not South African you don't know how big that is!
Congratulations American voters, you did it. Doesn't it feel good to have a warm-blooded mammalian creature at the helm again? The rest of the world is very, very relieved.
My prayer now is that this energy and excitement can be harnessed. "Follow it through" my dear grandfather used to say, ad nauseum. Don't sit back and think your job is done. That all too human tendency to let others lead, make decisions for you and when they do bad you just shrug shoulders while saying "ag, that's politics" is what gives leaders permission to inch towards forgetfulness.
Make no mistake, we are as besotted with the man as you are. But we'd like to throw in our penny's worth. Or Rand's worth. (its cheaper that way). Hell, what's a blog for if its not for a bit of opinionated chirping from the wings? We can tell you a thing or two about politics in Africa, oh yes we can. And even though this election seemed more like American Idol than politics, still, we'd like to share.
We can tell you that Charisma is bewitching, heady, dizzy-making. We love it, we want to be close to it all the time. Its like falling on love. Your partner is so wonderful they can do no wrong. So be like the lover who needs her independence - hold your man accountable for his promises. Don't just give him carteblanche coz he's hot.
We can tell you that Change cannot be outsourced. It can be managed, sure, but you got to do the hard uncomfortable work yourself. You can hire someone to clean up your mess, but then its easy to just keep making the same mess again. Do it yourself, and you'll keep it clean.
And we can tell you that Your Neighbours are important. What other people think is important. I guess by now many of you have realised that the rest of the world has an opinion about the USA and not a very complimentary one. We care because you guys have what we would call a big footprint. The power to do good, yes. But also the power to be the big kid at the party who ate all the cake and slurped up all the juice and didn't leave any for the rest. Years ago, at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Joburg, there was a very cool Tshirt that I didn't manage to get my hands on. Black with luminous green font, worn by slim bands of protesters at traffic lights - "What shall we do about the United States?" read the tshirt. It was a question that had to be answered, but that was back in 2002, pre-Baghdad, pre the last 5 grinding years of hope erosion. Finally, it feels like maybe the United States can do something about themselves. We hope so. We will be watching this man with great interest. We want to share.
But look at me, I'm the one spoiling the party now, like a strict old teacher with sharp gary larson glasses.
I truly am very excited. It feels like a real chance.
Enjoy the celebrations, and keep riding that energy - the hard work begins now, I reckon. Yes, you truly can.