For my entire life, so many people have told me it would “eventually” happen, and here it was happening. Our country was falling over. Except it wasn’t. South Africa wasn’t falling over; we were rising.
Johannesburg, South Africa (18 July 2021) – Hey South Africa. We’re okay. We’re going to be okay… even though it may seem like we’re all at a breaking point (and unravelling), I believe that we are going to be okay.
Why? Well, simply put… because of you.
I started this week sitting in front of my desk, staring at my screen, sobbing. You know that deep, heaving, inconsolable cry. Ja, that’s how I started my week, and the next couple of days just followed suit. A rollercoaster of ups and downs.
It’s a lot, isn’t it? The lockdown, the looting, the loss, the sadness, the grief… the everything. It’s just a lot.
Not sure how we are all doing it, but we all get up every single day and just keep going. The last 500 days have been filled with so much trauma. We have lost loved ones, businesses, incomes, health, faith in our leaders and every ounce of what we used to call normal. And it just never seems to end. There’s a lot going on right now. Good grief, it is a lot. Like, we’re just dealing with so much, and somehow we all keep going.
That was pretty much the message that I put on my socials at the start of the week and the reason I started crying. One of the first responses was from a reader who had just lost her husband. They were together for 46 years.
Her words were simple but carried so much weight… “I am heartbroken.”
I sat staring at my screen, sobbing.
Here I am… in my house, safe, with my fiance and cupboards full of food. We have somehow survived this. Yes, we have lost a business, we have lost loved ones and faced tragedies, but here I am, safe and kind of okay while others are suffering, in agony and utter pain right now. That is heartbreaking.
So I cried. Not for me but for everyone and anyone who was carrying sadness in their hearts at that moment. That reply offered so much more than was intended. It reminded me that we are all going through a lot right now – all in our own different ways. But we are all facing tragedy and traumas… collectively.
And that was just Monday morning.
The week spiralled into so much chaos. None of it directly around me, yet all of it completely consuming me… consuming all of us. Everywhere I looked was a constant barrage of videos, warnings and messages of doom. The news channels looped the same footage over and over and over again; my socials were filled with anger and fear, while all conversations were led with utter despair.
The “a lot” that we were all facing had made us lose all hope.
It was happening. That conversation that we have all been having our entire lives. The one where everyone believes that South Africa is going to fall over. It was happening. For my entire life, so many people have told me it would “eventually” happen, and here it was happening. Our country was falling over.
Except it wasn’t.
We were fueling our fears. We were getting angry. We were feeding the wrong wolf.
We were the problem but we were also the solution.
At one point a shopping centre in my area was evacuated… by the shoppers. Someone read something somewhere and somehow caused a whole shopping centre to completely unravel. Everyone evacuated themselves, and all the shops closed their doors. Even the security started evacuating people as they were unsure as to what was going on.
600 kilometres away from the riots, fear took hold of us, consumed us and caused absolute mayhem.
But luckily, fear is only temporary, and hope is always alive. Even when we might not be able to see it. In the same time that fear took over our thoughts, words and actions, hope was restored! I am not sure what lit that match of hope, but the fire of faith started raging. Suddenly the entire narrative shifted and reverberated across the globe.
South Africa wasn’t falling over; we were rising.
Stories started trending of South Africans volunteering to help clean up after the looters, of people going to donate blood to help the SANBS, of business owners forced to close that were helping feed and hydrate the police. Taxi associations were protecting malls, small business owners were offering their services free of charge, and communities were planning clean-up operations all across the country.
South Africans were standing together, united against fear.
It was Fred Rogers who said in times of tragedy, we need to look for helpers because they will always be there… and South Africans prove this to be true time and time again. We are the helpers. Give us a tragedy, and we might be frightened for a minute, wobble for a moment, unravel for a brief period, but we always come back from it stronger than before.
So yeah, we’re going to be okay South Africa.
Simply put… because of you.
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