Last year, I happened to win a prize from the Cart Horse Protection Association – a huge selection of their wonderful Christmas cards. As a result, I spent several days writing festive season wishes for all my friends and family all over the world, and ended up using – and mailing or hand-delivering – every single card. It felt wonderful!
Mind you, despite sending them off early and paying extortionate airmail delivery rates, many didn’t reach their destinations in time for Christmas or even New Year, and some didn’t reach their destinations at all.
This year, I haven’t mailed a single Christmas card. I also haven’t received any, not even from people who usually send cards at this time of year. My friends Alison has had a similar experience – read her eloquent blogpost here.
Do you know why?
Because the South African Post Office has been on strike for the last few months. Actually, they appear to have been striking intermittently for several years. It’s not just that employees are striking and rioting violently or just not bothering to come to work, which is a serious enough problem – but the backlog of undelivered mail has reached such epic proportions that piles of mail are simply being thrown away, discarded, or – horror! – opened and pilfered… THAT is what upsets me.
Can you imagine how many lovingly handwritten or painstakingly typed letters, postcards, photographs, calendars, birthday cards, Christmas cards, as well as presents and parcels to and from all over the world have been treated in this shameful way?
The breakdown of such a basic but essential service is an unmitigated disaster.