By Bianca Silva 

For those of you who willingly forgot school science classes, Newton’s first law of motion states that any object which is stationary or in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state unless an external force is applied. Newton, however, missed something. My personal experience would suggest that this law not only applies to objects but to people and their attitudes. Inertia can be quite dangerous. People sometimes admit to being in trouble, however, seldom will they actually do something about it. They either stay stationary or continue in the same direction however problematic it is. Admitting a problem is a good step but may not be enough. Refusing to do something about a problem is like traveling down a river towards a waterfall: you know it’s there and it’ll hurt when you get there but inertia says you will keep going down the river anyway. I guess you could say Zimbabwe has inertia, Mugabe’s attitude has inertia. What external force would be able to change their direction? People debate whether we should share our currency with them. We have tried to tackle this debate in our opinions section. Even when an external force tries to change an object’s speed and direction, seldom is it well received. In the case of South Africa, Tokyo Sexwale, who recently visited Rhodes and spoke at SASCO’s sixteenth anniversary, would be an external force. He believes foreign capital is necessary to fix our country’s economy and reduce the unemployment rate. However, his non-uniform ways may not rest well with organisations like COSATU. Often the masses prefer gradual change. Some call that laziness, others call it resistance to change. Mostly, I call it inertia. Essentially gradual change isn’t always effective, especially if you’re in trouble. Science says if the external force on an object is not greater than the object’s inertia then nothing will change. Our SA currency may not be able to help Zimbabwe and we may land up in a problematic situation. Zimbabwe continues with its uniform motion: a dying economy, rising inflation and a deluded president who thinks everything is fine. Sexwale might not be able to get foreign capital, especially if he doesn’t become president, and then chances are we may get stuck with a president who believes showering protects you from Aids.Inertia is set deep in politics and power plays; it’s all down to which force is greater. Inertia even infects office politics. Not all external changes are good. The challenge is to work out when an external force comes along, whether or not it’s good and whether or not you are the problem. Dodge the waterfall.


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