Hannah Goss and her horse Graffiti
Hannah Goss and her horse Graffiti

Hannah Goss and her Appaloosa Graffiti

(Photo: Cheryl Goss)


It’s Royal Show time in the capital city right now, and the kids are having a ball. The organisers are celebrating the 163rd renewal of Africa’s oldest Agricultural Show, and we’re told it’s the third oldest in the world. The boss was asked to make the honour guest opening speech at last night’s formal dinner: having broken his duck in a similar capacity at the Royal Queensland Show in Brisbane, Australia, he wondered whether he should follow the same theme. No, this was about us, about our home and KZN, and some of the best agricultural country in the world. A gathering of ministers, mayors and men of business were reminded how furiously the British, the Boers and the Zulus had fought for the spoils of our territory, and why this is such a spectacular place in which to live.

Earlier yesterday, Hannah Goss made her “big” show debut on her faithful Appaloosa, Graffiti. It was a daunting moment, coming after just a handful of dressage tests, and just five formal lessons in her life from the inimitable Jenny McConnell. That this is a budding champion is evident from the photo. Here’s Hannah adorned in rosettes and medals, before she smelt the roses.

Reverting to the speech, there is a lesson in the stories of the great battles between those three nations, and their impact on the way we are today. They reminded us that we teach history the wrong way around. The first thing we should learn as a child, is that we are all part of the same human race. The last thing we should learn is that we’re South African, Protestant and of European ancestry, for example. Just recently, The Economist magazine, which claims to be Europe’s leading voice on global economic opinion, carried a foreboding headline “Be Afraid,” on its front cover. The message, with respect, is misleading. It represents a world view of Western political, economic and social dominance that is struggling to come to terms with its own decline, and with the emergence of another world, of which we’re a part, stepping boldly into a future of momentous change and great opportunity.

We live in a country, in a region and in a world of great change. South Africans are nothing if we’re not enterprising, courageous and sheer bloody-minded. The challenge for our young people is to graduate from our schools, colleges and universities, to go forth to new lands of conquest, and to dare themselves and our society to see a new and a better time. Every generation wants to believe theirs is the best of times and the worst of times. Our young people should live boldly. They have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

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