The perspective from “down under”

I’m currently in Sydney on the company’s dime. And yes, I’m in conference rooms most of the time but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had a change to get a feel for the city. This exposure has obviously made me think of home and since this is one of the top places South Africans emigrate to I can’t help but think of it that way as well.

As far as home goes, this place is weirdly familiar. From the moment of landing it reminded me of South Africa. The city atmosphere is a combination of Pretoria and Durban (it has a harbour and some old fashioned narrow streets- what can I say) and people drive on the same side of the toad while enjoying a similar looking sky. (Stars are different in different hemispheres). A lot of the people sound a lot like us and they dress a lot like us. Somehow, a huge ocean apart two British Commonwealths developed to be very similar at face value.

People don’t emigrate because of face value though and I don’t really want to get into it, but if you’re going to make the change it probably helps tremendously that things don’t seem all that different when you initially land here. Every bit helps when it comes to feeling secure in what was probably the biggest decision in your life.

So, here I am in a city that’s kinda like home running two time zones (because home still needs me when they’re awake). It’s a bit surreal to know I’m allllllllll the way over here and my heart is alllllllll the way over there and yet I feel like I could walk out my hotel room and find my dogs right outside the door because nothing is that different.

Subsequently, I do not have epic comparisons to make about here and there. The only perspective I have gained in the slightest is about my people who are trying to make a life here. I know they don’t always want to be associated with me or their mother country,  but that’s ok because Africa is born in you. If you’ve decided to move then I’m not going to ask you to come back, all I can say is that I now get why the move may have been made just a little bit easier and why you weren’t missing Ouma rusks on the first day. Contrary to my own feelings, yet truly, I’m happy for your sake. I never thought I would ever even get this close to understanding your choice so literal perspective was helpful in this case. That is all.

Just another day

Nandos has done it again and brought out a brilliant advert which illuminates realities which only South Africans can truly appreciate and fortunately laugh at. Take a moment and watch:


South Africans will get this instantly; especially anyone who lives in the cities (with the exception of CT) and have to deal with blue light brigades more often than we’d like to remember. I think it’s funny. Of course it portrays things which are essentially wrong in South Africa but I still love it.

To me it’s about two things: the ridiculous entitlement of our ministers but also (and also greatly so) the great equaliser who is the taxi driver.

Here you have two parts of society: The extremely well paid ministers who are so important that they get rushed everywhere and then the under paid taxi driver who rushes everywhere because his (generally lower LTSM) passengers have real jobs to get to. I love how the taxi driver just takes no nonsense and goes about his day without the drama (because of course the back firing is unintentional) and will certainly get to passengers to their destination before all the ministers in their fancy cars.

Despite being comedic this advert clearly has a lot of symbolism attached to it and I feel like I could go on about it for the whole day. There are probably Sociology students writing PhDs about  what this advert symbolises.

I’m going to leave that to them today but I do invite you to think about it as well.Think what needs to be addressed in terms of what this advert symbolises and enjoy having a laugh while you do it.

Mandela Day needs to be Mandela year

I am an avid supporter of Mandela Day. I fully believe that rallying people to do a thoughtful thing on 18 July will show them how easy it is to care for others (humans or animals) and will make them realise how much these gestures are appreciated and how they really can uplift society.

True to  expectation Mandela Day 2016 was a very positive day across the country. Food parcels were handed out, libraries were opened, blanket drives broke Guinness World Records and  cups of coffee were handed out to people who do thankless work in the cold. Many, many, many other things were done and as a nation we will collectively pat ourselves on the back. Thanks Madiba for being an inspiration for something so diverse and meaningful.

I was part of the coffee drive I organised with some of my colleagues. I bought some coffee, organised some urns and spent my 67 minutes handing out hot coffee and tea to car washers, security gaurs, wastepreneurs, fruit sellers and security guards. Most were surprised that someone had thought of them, it made me feel good that we could say thank you to them for the often thankless work they do in the cold. Of course I feel good.

What has bothered me ever since yesterday morning though is that a single cup of coffee and biscuit handed out is only a moment in time for these people. I don’t know what I have done other to say “thank you” and “your work is appreciated”. Yes, on some level that means something. It’s a little boost for everyone, but what about today, tomorrow, a week from now. While I spend quite a lot of time working towards charitable donations / efforts I feel like Mandela Day  has come and gone and in many cases the impact is not long lasting enough.

There is a line of thought that believes that one Mandela Day can inspire people to make every day a Mandela Day. A Mandela Year, year after year, that is what we really need. So, I have thought of some ways you can try and be kind to those around you more often:

  • Make a sandwich or two every day and hand this out to a wastepreneur, newspaper salesperson or car washer you come across on your commute to work. If you can’t make it daily then try for weekly at least
  • When you go out playing Pokémon Go take your, or your neighbour’s dog for a walk. Better yet, contact a local animal shelter and ask if you can take one of their dogs for a walk
  • Separate your plastic and metal waste from your other waste and put in on top of your rubbish bin for the wastepreneurs. How would you like it if things you needed for work were thrown in the dustbin?
  • Treat car guards and parking meter operators as you would treat anyone else whose office you are entering. They are the CEO of that street, they should be treated as such. Same goes for cashiers. If you were treated as a servant (service industry) every day at your own work place you’d be grumpy too. Don’t forget about the lady who washes your hair or does your nails in the salon.
  • Go to that picnic or festival night your local dog shelter, nursery schools, recreational centre or nursing home has organised. It’ll probably be fun. Your few bucks for a picnic spot and some entertainment will go a long way
  • Support restaurants and recreational facilities in your neighbourhood. If you support them, they can stay open and employ people and you’ll have no vacant properties just a few blocks from your house. Less safety concerns and a great community spirit = winning.
  • Call your granny. In fact, write her a letter she can read whenever she misses you. I send post cards to my mom every day when I travel overseas. They only arrive well after I’m home but it reminds her that I love her. If I still had a granny I would write her too
  • Support local handymen. Obviously get a good reference but you might meet a reliable guy who uses your money to support this whole family
  • Do your very best to not slam down the phone when you realise you’ve just been called by a telemarketer. I always listen politely to their introduction and then firmly say “no thanks”. If they carry on after that I interrupt with “I don’t need what you’re offering. I’m ending this call”. I like to think it takes the edge off. They’re just doing their job
  • Tip well for good service. Let the manager know if you’ve received bad service. If things don’t improve it’s their loss when you don’t go back
  • Tip car guards and petrol attendants
  • Donate old clothing and everything else. It’s amazing what it useful to charitable organisations. Donate books to your local school. Books can really change the world.
  • Choose a charity to support every few weeks/months. I periodically donate to the South African Guide Dog Association and send dog food to Dogtown every 6 weeks or so once I’ve accumulated enough eBucks to buy and get free delivery via Take A Lot. Nothing is easier
  •  Donate an annual box or two/three/four/twenty to It’s a great cause. Club in with a few friends if you need to – it’s really worthwhile. When you donate put a few extra small items in the box and also write the child a short note to make them feel special. That note can impact a life in a very positive way – it’s nice to know someone really thought about you, even if you’ve never met that person face to face

There are many, many, many other things we can do but these are things I feel like “normal” working 9 – 5 people can do without too much effort. These are really small things that can make a positive impact on the souls who are often the most overlooked in society or taken for granted. If you’re able to organise town clean-ups or go paint houses at orphanages then please do that too but for most of us the small things done constantly will also help a lot.

You can set an example to your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, the world. Madiba Day yesterday. Joe Soap day, every day

Start today.

South African generosity is a well spring

There has been a severe drought in SA for what seems like ages now. Some areas have received rain recently but four provinces have been declared disaster sites. The government has made some effort to help but people are still dying in queues while waiting for water and children are competing with cattle for drinking water. Hundreds heads of livestock have been lost and a lot of people are in dire straits.

Thanks to the South African spirit of innovation and generosity thousands of people have come together in order to do what they can to support communities in need. One 1l,2l or 5l at a time ordinary South Africans have been helping in campaigns to bring some relief to those in need.

Individuals and companies alike have used social media to mobilise and the results have already been evident. People are digging deep and networking up a storm to make sure that everything is done to avoid more death. It’s heart warming to see the pictures and read the stories. People are simply helping because they can but they’re making friends along the way and literally savings lives. It’s amazing.

This to me is the value of the South African spirit. We will not let each other suffer despite our difference. It’s amazing how an emergency can bring people together.

I encourage you to get involved. I’ve already rallied my colleagues to donate water and one person alone is bring 55 litres tomorrow which I will take to a drop off point who in turn will take it to a truck depot. Every litre helps and can save a life.

Visit their website for drop off points and their FB page for updates. Please don’t delay to join the cause

“Project… South Africa, a reconciled nation” if you squint

The quote in my heading comes from a comment by DA Leader Mmusi Miamane in the Daily Maverik . This column is his response to racism which reared it’s ugly head over the festive season in a way we hadn’t seen for a long time. A spark had taken flame and a lot of people said things they shouldn’t have and either regret because their has been a backlash or regret because they probably said something they shouldn’t have in a way they didn’t exactly mean. But once you say racist things in South Africa it’s very difficult to wash yourself clean again.

Unfortunately, instances like these make all my efforts to highlight how great South Africans are, and how well things are going from a race perspective seem like twaddle. To quote Onkgepotse JJ Tabane in his recent Daily Maverick piece “how could [they]” these people who decided to spew hateful and derogatory things over social media have made South Africans take several steps back and look at each other as “us” and “them” again. The debate carries on and it seems like our legal system has to step in to try and make people behave. I really thought most of us were past this. I know there are still racists but I really hoped they would keep quietly to themselves so that us normal South Africans could carry on without influence.

I suppose the one bitter sweet thing that comes from this is that we clearly have to realise that there are still a lot of conversations which have to happen around this. We may have to re-have some conversations.

As Mmusi alludes to we have to also recognise that the inequality is still rife and that stems from historic racial divides. We have to try and help. So, I will do what I always do. I hereby ask people to please help each other, expect more from your government and frankly, just find your humanity.

Good luck to all true South African citizens



Great South African Grub: A braai

Braais are not unique to South Africa. I know America and the UK have barbeques and cook outs and I’ve had a version of a braai in Germany.

The thing about a South African braai is that it one of the things we can agree on as a nation. Everyone braais. Everyone has their family traditions and everyone has their favourite braai meat. But ultimately it comes down to the most important thing: Spending time under a South African sky enjoying the great weather and the great company of your friends and family. We love it so much we even now celebrate Heritage Day as Braai Day as instigated by Jan Braai

Jan Braai will have you believe you can braai almost anything but I prefer the simple tradition of:

  • Worse
  • Steak
  • Fresh Garden Salad
  • Garlic Bread
  • Pap n Sous
  • Braaibroodjies

(We’re South African. We can have two to three starches at any meal.)

These are all served as the main meal but at some point during a braai you’ve also snacked on crisps and large slices of watermelon. By the time the meat is served you’ve also had a lot of time to drink some ice cold alcoholic beverages. South African men love their beer, I like G&T though I have also discovered Beergaritas which are the most fun you can have in your own back yard.

If your host is a good one you’re starting your meal at around sunset and so you can all sit quietly and watch the country say goodnight in the most spectacular fashion while feeling blissfully content in that moment.

Braais are not eat an run affairs and so you stick around for more beers and probably ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. A few hours later you’re still visiting and by now you’ve relished in more watermelon and the quick guests have made light work of the leftover wors (that’s why you’ve got to have it handy)

Eventually wives drag husbands away and sleeping kids are bundled into the backseat. You’ve had a great time and you’re so pleased that your cousin has invited you around to his place for the same affair next week.


Parkrun South Africa

I know that Parkruns are nothing new but as I plan my New Year’s Day run I thought it worth writing a bit out this great ‘activity’.

It was thanks to Discovery Vitality that I came across Parkrun . This is an international movement which encourages people to get out of bed on a Saturday morning and have some fun outdoors. Participation in outdoor activities are becoming a bit of an anomaly in most households so it’s great that someone thought of a way to encourage people to get out there – and for free for that matter.

Parkruns tick quite a lot of boxes for me: Outdoors, physical activity, quality time with my dogs and husband, an opportunity to compete in a non-threatening environment because you’re ultimately only competing with yourself, taking part in a social activity – Parkrunners are friendly and Vitality points. What more could you ask for really. Yes, we don’t have a mountain or ocean but there’s nothing I can do about that.

In South Africa Parkrunning is most important for two reasons: We have a real obesity problem and historically a lot of people can’t afford to exercise or have a safe place to exercise for free (jogging in your neighbourhood alone not always the best idea). Parkrun now gives people access to safe venues and because you’re timed you can measure your progress. You can also run/walk at your own pace so no matter how unfit you are you can start (at the proverbial) “somewhere”. Physical activity has always been a chore for me but now I look forward to the weekly run and my future self thanks me for it.

The second reason is more obvious in that it brings South Africans together.  It’s great to see the same people week on week and know that they have gotten out of bed for the same reasons you have. It’s easy enough to have chat with them and so you can make new friends. Being a volunteer really open up potential for this as you spend quite a lot of time together setting up. Also It’s become popular to Parkrun no matter where you are over the weekend and so Parkrun has become a way for people to explore each other’s cities. JHB is infamous for having ‘nothing’ to do and ‘nowhere’ to go other than a mall so it’s nice to show off a bit of our natural beauty and social tendencies to people from other parts of the country. Jo’burgers are not all money driven snobs.

I hope that 2016 will see several more Parkruns starting up as it becomes more and more popular. Some runs now easily have 1000 runners a week and I suspect these numbers will only grow as people realise that Parkrun is also Parkfun (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

So, this is my new thing, it could be your new thing. Try it out.



The Good and Bad bundle

The last few weeks in SA have not left me feeling particularly optimistic and that’s why I have reserved the urge to comment on so many things that have been going on the in my country recently. However, today I feel considerably better and I thought I should do a very brief retrospective on news stories which have caught my attention recently.

Before I do that though I think it’s important to say that although a highly passionate person I do try and see things from all perspectives. I did a year of Philosophy at university and am actually qualified as a Journalist so I fully appreciate the need to be measured and empathetic. Below is not a news report though and should not be seen as such. This is my opinion on matters based on how I have interpreted issues based on the information I was exposed to at the time.

#feesmustfall :

This topic makes my head spin a bit as there are so many ways to look at this. I could have dissected this in an entire blog post but in the spirit of a retrospective I will be pointed. Firstly, I believe education should be affordable. It is sad that qualifying people can not study because they do not have the funds. Yes, they can get loans but there seem to be issues and irregularities there so this might not be the optimum Plan B to pay for your studies.

However, I do believe that there should be qualifying criteria for people who want to study. You can not simply be “entitled” to a tertiary education. There are worldwide expectations for someone who has a degree and it aggravates me that people do not want to work in order to obtain a degree. The benchmark for educational standards in SA has become too low and it’s disgraceful.  We are sending young people into the world ill prepared of what the working world should be expecting of them. I do think that a lot of these people are often the cause for protests of this nature and want to cause ructions because they believe in this entitlement. That is not acceptable. These people should be taken to task.

Ultimately #feesmustfall was a victory for students but it does concern me that now young people think that violent and disruptive activities will get you what you want. They need to learn that there are alternatives to such behaviour and at the end of the day you should still need to study for your qualification.

The disenchanted youth:

This is not a defined issue or headline but it’s something that I am recognising as having an ever increasing presence. There are so many talented young people in South Africa who simply have not seen the dreams of a free and fair state realised. These are often the people who have just been left on the sidelines and they don’t know what their options are. These are the kind of people who respond to radicalism and will believe whoever seems to be making progress on their behalf. The government missed the boat completely on these young people and it’s sad and will have negative consequences over and above a few statues being pulled down if things carry on.

Oscar Pistorious:

It makes me ill even thinking about him and all the drama around his conviction(s). This is why I write about it here though because people should really ask themselves why they are so interested in such a sad situation. While the brutal killing of a person makes me sad its people’s obsession with this killing that makes me sick. This trial gets all the attention because he is (in)famous but what about all the other cases which often just don’t get resolved because our justice system is so bogged down. While people suddenly pretend that they care enough about Reeva to want “justice” for her and her family I do wish we would care enough about all victims to demand the same justice for them. Most people are following this case for all the wrong reasons.

Heineke Meyer:

I’m so glad he’s gone .He was bad for SA rugby because he does not seem to have the ability to analyse his opponents or even his own players. He had access to some of the best talent in rugby and let South African’s and the players down.

Strike season:

Yes, that’s a recognised term in South Africa. I have no problem with people taking action within the confines of the law, but unprotected strikes are unacceptable. Even worse is that often strikes lead to the damage of property and willing workers getting victimised and hurt. That is not acceptable. Damaging the infrastructure your company requires to provide the service that provides your salary is not logical. Unions need to start reflecting on what they tell their members and made responsible decisions regarding true economic matters.

The water crises:

We’re clearly in a drought and so it’s no surprise that municipalities have put water restrictions in place. However, some questions were raised around whether failing infrastructure was part of the problem. I have no evidence to that extent so I wouldn’t carry on with that. However, what I have evidence of is people who still blatantly waste water. Why are companies washing their parking lots in a drought? Why does my neighbour still water his perpetually green lawn? Why do you taps still leak? People need to also take responsibility for themselves and realise that a group effort could curb a lot of waste. One encouraging this was how many people took to Twitter to report burst pipes and in JHB the municipality did respond quickly as far as I could tell – may the trend far outlast the water crises. 

Three finance ministers in four days:

This is the topic of the moment. From the second I heard about Nene being replaced I have had the following Kimya Dawson’s lyrics stuck in my head “And we’ll pray, all damn day, every day, that all this shit our president has got us in will go away”.  It seemed apt at the time.

For me, replacing Nene was one of the hardest moments to face as a South African optimist. It really seemed that this move threatened our country and our democracy because it became very evident that the President could do powerful things without parliamentary approval.

Panic was clearly an option a lot of people chose. My husband is an economist and was suddenly getting questions from friends about what they should do with their investments. It wasn’t panic without reason. We lost a lot of money in a few days and prospects for next year looked bleak. I chose not to panic because I believed this was a storm we could weather albeit it uncomfortably.

But then something else happened. South Africans lived up to their true potential and rallied against this sudden move. It happened so quickly that full analysis will be hard for anyone (but I’m sure there are a few Masters students out there who are going to try) but the point is that is happened on an unprecedented scale across all sectors even across all political movements. South Africa was unhappy .

And so comes Sunday night when the President countered with a startling move “new guy out, older guy in”. Of course this was also a surprise but a welcome one. This does not magically change things but it does stem the negative consequences. More importantly though it shows that the South African democracy still means something. My personal opinion is that “the investors” knocked on the Presidents door and just said “no”. Other people think that it was a politically motivated decision because popularity is important after all. Whatever the reason something positive came from something which made all of us very distressed.

That’s as brief as I could make this retrospective. I’ve covered some important issues and some less important issues but these are things which I have noticed in the country recently. There are many more things that have happened though so expect a second instalment of the retrospective soon. If anyone wonders where my optimism stems from (other than the fact that I think South African’s a good people who will strive for a great future) it comes from the fact that I enjoy living in interesting times. The Chinese and Terry Pratchette interpreted this as a curse but I think it’s an opportunity and I feel privileged to live in these times.

A weekend in Jozi

A lot of people complain that there is “nothing” fun to do in Jo’burg as far as extracurricular weekend activities go. It’s a metropolitan area with no mountain to climb and no sea to swim in. People seem to think that all we have to offer are blinged out malls and frustrated drivers.

Well, I hate malls but that doesn’t mean my only other option is to twiddle my thumbs at home and binge on series. I’m happy to say there is a lot to do in Jo’burg over a weekend and here are some of my favourites

  • Saturday Parkrun in Delta Park. I like Delta Park because it’s free, close enough to home, I can take my dogs and the park users are really friendly. It also helps that I get Vitality points. There are many other Parkruns in JHB and surrounds so find one that’s close to you and join the fun. It’s worth getting up early for.
  • Brunch at a cosy restaurant. So many eating places in Jo’burg have amazing food and great atmosphere and so dinning is a firm favourite past time for many Jo’burgers. Brunch is one of my favourite indulgences so of course I go out to find the perfect breakfast lunch combination out on the town. Post a Parkrun, Husband and I often end up at Craft because there food is good, their service friendly and they allow dogs. I couldn’t really ask for more. Other favourite brunch places are Salvation Café, Knead, and Grand Central. They are all slightly different but they all have a relaxed atmosphere and good food in common. These are all quite close to home so while these are my top choices I am sure there are lots of other amazing places in Jo’burg. Check out your neighbourhood and find “your” spot and do some people watching over delicious food. My mouth is watering just thinking about Brunch.
  • Visit a food market for brunch or lunch or to top up on some artisanal food products.  Maboneng has a great food market on a Sunday. Everything is stuff your face on the spot delicious. The Sheds is also a fun place to get some food and they’re open till late over weekends so you can even stop for a drink and listen to some live music. Neighbourgoods in Braamfontein is also a popular option on a Saturday but do note that it’s always very busy.
  • Sundowners is not something I do often but it’s a good option for a Friday or Saturday night. Neighbourgoods has a nice roof bar and The Factory also has a roof with a view and a craft beer bar. Churchills is a good bar to relax at on a Friday after work. They offer a cigar lounge feel while you sip expensive drinks and enjoy their free harvest table fare.
  • Maboneng is a great place to eat but also shop for local art and clothing. It’s an eclectic place in the heart of the city. There is a lot to do in the precinct. Check it out.
  • Picnics under an African Sky are a lot of fun. Packs some snacks and head out to Emmerentia or Delta Park for a relaxed afternoon. Both parks are also great to take the dogs and yourself for some exercise over the weekend.
  • The Wilds or Melville Koppies are other good places to get some walking done in the city.
  • Of course, braaing under a South African sky is the ultimate pleasure of living in Africa. So set up the braai, invite some friends over and just have a jolly good time.
  • Braais are great but dinners out are also sumptuous. Early dinners at Hundsons on a Sunday make me really happy as they play good rock music and their burgers are absolutely delicious. We went to The Supper Club at Coobs recently and that was pure indulgence. It’s pricey but worth it a 100 times over. The food is scrumptious and the service amazing. The wine fabulous. If you don’t have the budget for Supper Club pop into Coobs. I haven’t been there* but the food also looked great and I’m sure the good service spills out into there as well. Other great options for dinner are Croft & Co and Stelle , both in Parkview. There are sooooo many places to choose from – find your favourite.
  • If partying is more your thing go down to Braamfontein on a weekend evening. Here the bars and mini clubs are spilling over with fabulous people and you’re bound to have a good time.
  • The Theatres also show a variety of great shows. Check them out and choose something to your liking

So, that’s my list. Yes, I like to eat a lot, it’s totally a pastime because going to a pub or restaurant gets  you out the house and you can indulge in some sunshine, good service, great food and great company. At least I also exercise in the outdoors. What do you like doing in JHB? (If you even mention an Expo I’ll delete you

Update* I have now been to Coobs and the food and atmosphere there is also really good. The Supper Club lifts their menu off the Coobs menu and both are equally good. Go to Coobs for casual dinning, Supper Club for a special occasion.

We’re clearly in a hard place

Between the country’s youth feeling disenchanted and the president saying he will put his political party ahead of the country he swore to serve it’s a hard time to feel anything but distressed about the state of the nation. The president’s spin doctor says his speech was taken out of context. Of course he would say that. I just hope he realises what damage his speech did to his party because the disenchanted youth would have heard this. The disenchanted youth are also scary because they think disruption and violence are the answer to their problems but heck, they are currently taking power away from this self-centred president. So, let them do what they need to do for now.

In the meantime, it seems as if the rest of South Africa will sit without much recourse. We have a lot we could potentially strike about but who can afford to take time off work or risk being beaten up by police. Also, most suffering South African’s are old and simply don’t have it in them anymore. They fought a hard battle to gain “freedom” and while they technically achieved this a lot of suffering has not been alleviated. As POWER FM put it “I did not struggle to be poor”. Struggle refers to “the struggle” and I’m sure people who were part of that struggle thought that the government would be their saviours and present them with real opportunity to grow wealth. I believe a lot of poor people would work if they just had jobs to go to. 21 years later, enter a  youth who really have no options – so much for government promises – hence the disenchantment. Hence I don’t blame them for acting out – I which there was a different way for them to do it but apparently there isn’t a fast enough answer so they resort to bad behaviour.

Also, lack of options find a lot of young girls falling pregnant because at least they can get child care grants which will help their families. Never mind the child they are brining into this world who will also have no options. But if you’re hungry now and a baby will bring you money now who can really expect you to think of the future because somewhere in your teenage mind you think you’ll have a job in your adult life – your kids will be fine. But there are not enough jobs. It’s a vicious circle.

So, what is the solution? What can normal South African’s do. Us who mean well and want to work hard and want to help those around us. The vote only comes round every five years so let’s not hold our breath for a change in government or at least a better leadership within the same government.

The answer is not an easy one and I don’t think I have it in it’s entirety. All I know is that I have to try and help those closest to me and talk to them about these things. I need to be kind where I can. More importantly though is that I can not accept what it happening. I need to find ways to hold my leaders accountable. I need to tell them that a 35% pass rate is too low as it just sets children up for failure in the working world. In between universities and colleagues have to deal with 18 year old who are almost illiterate. I feel sorry for these institutions. They’re doing what they can but then student’s wonder what universities spend their money on. I should always about bad service and compliment good service. If I can offer a needy person a good word or a free English lesson I should do that. I should be part of the solution instead of just complaining. These are just some of the small things I can do. It’s a constant struggle but if I can encourage people to expect more from themselves and expect more from others then we will rise to a higher standard. We all have to strive for this together though. We all have a way we can contribute. It’s also not a quick solution but here we are – we have to do something.