It goes without saying that times are hard – there is a rarely a reality that sits closer to the tip of our tongues than this. South Africa is by no means exempt from this reality either – if anything, the day-to-day truth of this is evident from the poorest to the richest. Yes, even the rich face tragedy in the trying air of this country.
I love South Africa – through and through. It is beautiful; it is colourful. Despite the challenges, we are strong. We know a good thing when we see it and we smile. We are fierce. We have not given up. As much as it is “easy” to look for a way out – a better neighbourhood, more security, moving to another country – it is so easy to take a step back and admire what we actually have.
For a moment, remove the proverbial stones in shoe and breathe in the glory of this great land. Forget the blackouts, the etolls, the “security” swimming pools, the theft, the apathy. Forget it all and rather think of freedom. Think of our ocean of cultures, and races, and languages, and South Africanisms. Think of the minimal natural disasters, think of the hand-in-hand way of life overcoming dire poverty and ruin. Think of family – not only immediate, but your friends, the man selling newspapers at the robot each morning, the strangers who become part of the pack around a braai (with a Black Label and some biltong).
I am not denying that we have some work to do, but what a great time to be alive in a country that is far from boring – for better or for worse. South Africa will teach you many things, namely, how to survive… how to survive and make a difference at the same time. Maybe it’s a cup of sugar to the woman across the street, maybe it’s giving someone a ride home, maybe it’s buying a bar of soap for the small community sleeping under a shop’s balcony. This is who we are.
All this to say that Freshly Ground just dropped this amazing song called “Don’t Leave Me” – the perfect plea for a country. South Africa, you’ll be glad to know that I’m not going anywhere.
Readers, I hope you’ll stay too.