Thanks to one man, South Africans have come together against the Orlando shootings.

Farren Roper, a South African Marketer and Philanthropist woke at an unusual time on Sunday 12 July 2016. He lay in bed and checked Facebook where he came across a harrowing post from a friend which read:

“I been shot at club Pulse… losing blood, love u all”.

Much to his disbelief and horror, the post turned out to be true and Jeff was one of many victims in the worst massacre in the United States since 9/11.

Close to Home

Over the next few days the death toll mounted to 49, and the injured toll into the dozens. Roper felt an overwhelming sense of pain for the victims of this hate-fuelled crime.

“As a gay male, this hurt was more amplified as the perpetrator targeted a gay nightclub at which I had shared positive memories Jeff with just over a year ago. Somehow when you hear about these shootings they never seem real, until someone you know is directly affected. This may have happened in the United States but it felt way too close to home.”

“As the week went past, I grew gradually more upset as the aftershock of this tragedy awoke many negative emotions in me that I realised had been suppressed for years since coming out. Being gay does not define you, but it is a part of my identity and an attack on my fellow LBGT brothers and sisters feels like an attack on a family unit, united by decades of shame, persecution and judgment.

“This incident was the wake-up call I needed and the world needed to find our voice and show support for the victims of the Orlando shooting, the LGBT community and take a stand against bigotry in any form.”

“I watched over the week that passed how many people took a stand for humanity and against hate as my friends Facebook profiles all lit up like the colours of the rainbow in support of the victims in Orlando.”

South Africa as many people would know has a painful history of human rights violations, but has emerged on the other side as the ‘rainbow nation’, which makes this tribute event more fitting. South Africa mourns with the rest of the world and we hoping, waiting and praying for a speedy recovery for those who have survived.

A tribute for Jeff

One of those people is Jeff. Jeff is currently in hospital undergoing surgeries to repair his damaged body which is ravaged by bullets. His body might be hurting but he has been spared and his heart and mind will need encouragement to see him through the long recovery process.

“So when I reached out to ask friends in South Africa if they would want to participate in a message of hope to someone they have never met the overwhelming response and tribute messages begun to flow in. I’ve long said that South African’s have the biggest hearts, probably because of our history we are able to feel the pain that the LGBT community feels in this tragic time.”

It is of utmost importance at this time that Orlando is never forgotten, even as the news coverage wains, we should always think back to that fateful day as a turning point in history which demonstrates the important issues we need to overcome as a human race. We should spread kindness, tolerance, acceptance and compassion.

“Let the light that exists in the world overshadow the darkness. There is a group of people in South Africa that is taking a stance for Orlando, for the dearly departed, for Jeff and the remaining survivors and indeed for all of us.”

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *