Motivation is everything

The state of the nation bothers a lot of people. It bothers me. The difference between me and a lot of people is that I really believe in this country. I want to work towards making it better. I am not a politician, or a superhero and can only do so in small ways but I damn well am trying. There are lots of people like me. There are lots who do it better than me. It is encouraging

What’s disheartening are the people who just complain. They complain a lot. Often on Facebook. I feel like I’ve been inundated the past few weeks. Now, I am not for a second pretending that bad things don’t happen. Nor do I think it’s ok for someone to try and break into your house. It most certainly is not.

But I do take issue with people who just seem to complain for complaining’s sake. I wonder what they are doing to try and make it better. You’re living here. You may just as well make an effort. This paraphrased sentiment from Mumford and Sons puts is in perspective for me:  You will only win when your enemy is bigger than your apathy.

And therein lies the truth. People really are complaining for complaining’s sake. They’re not really as badly off as they seem to think or make out to be. Because if things really bothered them enough, IF it really was so important to them they would be doing something to make a change. Most of us are not activists but we are also not helpless.

Start with the basics: Get to know your neighbours. Lead by example. Do not drive drunk. Do not bribe that expecting cop when he pulls you over for driving drunk. Do not allow the municipal worker to tar your driveway for a couple of hundred bucks when that tar is destined to fill potholes. Don’t buy bootleg media. Support your local video store who actually employs someone and thereby support their family. Tip all service. Overtip excellent service. Say please and thank you. Leave some good food for the guy who digs through your rubbish to recycle your plastic. Choose your charities wisely but then give generously. Support your colleagues child’s school raffle. Greet and acknowledge each other. Don’t get angry over nothing and for petes sake – stop complaining and make a difference. And Buz Lurman will be fine if you share your sunscreen.

When did the Rainbow Nation become exclusive

I was in London when the so-called Xenophobic attacks erupted in South Africa. The UK media was focusing on their election and so I actually had no idea what was going on. Shame on me in many ways. How this passed me by seems unfathomable.

By the time I came back things had calmed down and so I didn’t know how what to say. However, a week or so later I do think it’s important to say this: Attacking someone for any reason is terrible. Attacking someone because they are different by any stretch of the imagination is so against what South Africa idealises it makes me sick.

I say so-called xenophobia because I do think a lot of this behaviour is just an excuse to behave criminally. We have a frustrated, unemployed youth who are eager to find “causes” to rally behind. I hope they know they have shamed their mothers. Their mothers and fathers who know what it’s like to be treated unspeakably because they were perceived as “different”. What an embarrassment for all they suffered for. Suffered for to achieve a free state where all are equal

One reason I love South Africa is because we are so very free in so many ways. Our law does not oppress race, background, religion or sexuality. Yay us. But then, turns out we’re greedy and we don’t like to share. I know it is tough out there. I have worked in the townships and in Hillbrow at night but I also know that most people will work for what hey want and don’t just want to “take” it.

Shame on those who think they are entitled. The government has a lot to answer for because I can only blame them for an unemployed and frustrated youth.

The South African and the stigma

I’m currently at Heathrow International Airport as I’ve just spent 8 days working in London. I enjoy coming to London – it’s a beautiful city, dripping with culture. The weather even played along this time and so it was really great. Unfortunately I was working most of the time so couldn’t enjoy it so much – first world problem.

My third world problem is that I met a lot of colleagues who just couldn’t resist asking about the safety situation in the country. I don’t blame them, they’re curious, they’ve heard things and at least they’re making an effort to find out from someone who is probably in the know. Someone who lives in “deepest darkest Africa” (insert loadshedding joke here) and can give them first hand accounts. I tell them the truth. The bitter sweet reality. I can’t pretend things are perfect. I am glad they asked

What bothers me is that things have changed a lot since crimes worst time. I don’t live in fear and yet people overseas live it on my behalf. Us poor South Africans. That is a stigma which has to change. I don’t know how to change it (other than answering questions and writing this blog) but something has got to happen.

People are scared to visit my home. Once they take the leap and come they generally love it, but we have to get them on a plane first.

I blame the media. Bad news sells and frankly you don’t have to look far to find it in SA. But it’s never quite what it’s made out to be and obviously there is so much good going on which the media really could not care two hoots about. It clearly is up to us as loyal steadfast citizens. I know it’s hard but please think twice before complaining (often just for complaining’s sake). Say nothing, or wait for a great story to share. there are a lot out there.

On that note I am happy to say one colleague (from India) who had just been to South on holiday was so enamoured with my country that she kept asking us to employ her. That is a compliment.