Photo Credit: Dio Hasbi Saniskoro from Pexels

Colin Edmonds is one of many South Africans that united to protect entire communities during the recent unrest; this is his thought about neighbours and strangers.


Durban, South Africa (21 July 2021) – South Africans never imagined they would live through widespread unrest during a global pandemic and strict lockdown, but it happened. As they say, when it rains, it pours! Thankfully we got to be inspired by good neighbours, rallied communities, generous businesses, and so many more good things!

Colin Edmonds, a Durban resident, found himself uniting with his neighbours to protect their community. He learned a big lesson during the last week that has inspired many others too.

Colin shared his thoughts about the situation and the new “new normal” facing South Africans; take a read below.

Neighbours and strangers

Our new normal is not normal at all. Fear and fatigue. Brutal bankruptcy. Blinding anger and hopeless tears. Long, dark nights defending our streets as people put their bodies as barriers.

But I see something rising from the dust and the debris…a new normal?

I say to my wife as I leave our little family to defend our streets in the early hours of the morning; “I would fight at the front door of our home till I die, to save my little family. Now all that’s happened is my front door has moved. It now stands at the front of my community”.

And it’s not just me at my front door; I have neighbours and strangers collectively protecting our front door. Our high walls and big gates that separated neighbours and strangers are not enough to protect – we are now the new walls. And as we man our stations, I now protect my larger family, neighbours and strangers. And in turn, as I leave and return to my little family, I sleep well knowing that neighbours and strangers protect my little family as they protect our larger family. My little has been traded for larger.

When I shop, I don’t shop with just me in mind. My limited amount of 20 items (so strangers behind me may have) is carefully considered as I phone others to see if they need. We have swopped and dropped meals and medicine so others may live. I have been offered and, in return, have offered what we can, even as I have my stomach turns wandering “will we have enough”? But as I trade oranges for eggs, I remember I have traded my little we for a larger family, neighbours and strangers.

Our concern and care is for all. No longer am I at the centre of my little world. Phone calls and messages of broken hearts and heartfelt tears as we charge each other not to fear or let hope disappear. Neighbours and strangers put down titles and tears to sweep streets, serve treats and selflessly seek to see our collective family stand again.

It’s a new normal, I see. Where we trade me for we; a little for larger family. No one wanted what’s happened, but everyone wants what’s happening… Could God be up to something? Making miracles out of madness. Making neighbours out of strangers. A community that holds onto hope, and then lets hope hold onto them.

There is a striking Zulu saying, “umuntu ungumuntu ngabantu” it means “A person is a person because of people”…has this ever been more true or more needed than now?

Little for larger.
Strangers for neighbours.
“umuntu ungumuntu ngabantu.”
God is up to something…

Sources: Facebook
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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