…Master Jack. No hard feelings if I never come back” so philosophise Four Jacks and a Jill in a song they released during the struggle in South Africa. The song was popular internationally and locally. I suspect the local popularity might have been because people liked the tune not knowing it was a struggle tune. I’ve always liked the song and only learned about 7 years ago that it was a struggle song. It didn’t matter to me and to this day I often get it stuck in my head. I really like it.
It resonates with me today because we are still living in a strange strange world. Frankly, for the first time in maybe forever (baring the World Wars) it feel like the whole world is experiencing strange times. Some stranger than others but we’re all in some version of it globally.
Of course in SA our strange times are what I refer to as interesting times but for others they are scary times. There are lots and lots of people I know that simply say “no hard feelings if I never come back” as they starting packing theirs hearts and eventually their bags for immigration.
I don’t know how to respond to these people. In reality I want them to know that I am disappointed if they go. If I can see a future for this country why can’t they? If I can argue that every country has it’s issues (and now potentially more true than ever) and moving will only result in some other drama then why can’t they see that?
Yes, living in what some perceive as high stakes mortal danger (versus say, Canada where violent crime is rare) might seem stressful but I’d rather live in a way where I can do my best to manage my danger than potentially get killed while watching Batman in the cinema. It probably helps that I’m quite fatalistic and that I feel that dying could range from a tree falling on me (I know someone who dies like that), to being hit by car (a fear I really have) then being a victim of crime. Yes, there are preferential ways to die but either way I’ll be dead. Oh, I don’t believe in jinxing my fate either if anyone in concerned by my musings.
I know leaving is about more than just dying but for me staying is all about the living. I choose to live in a country where have seen people beat all the odds time after time, where I have seen altruism and gratitude. Where I have seen good win and seen good people lose with dignity and extreme victories not boasted about. I have space and freedom here, I have other South Africans and I have that African dust on my boots. These are real things and these are things worth fighting for.
So, I don’t argue with those who want to leave because they need to make their own choices. But I do hope that my example and dedication could keep more people here and at the same time help develop a country we can all be proud of. I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime (because who knows how short that will be anyway) but it will happen and I want to know I helped.