Proudly South African by AJS

We remain proudly South African!

South African’s have really been through the ringer of late.

With local news headlines dominated by Load shedding schedules, never-ending bad news about the “true state” of Eskom and most recently criticism of President Ramaphosa’s “anti-corruption plans” – yes, we agree, there have been many issues that we have all had to contend with.

And it feels like we have – metaphorically and in some instances physically – been knocked down. As a nation that can leave us feeling a cauldron of emotions – good, bad, ugly, despondent. And who would blame us really?

But it’s here in the depths of negativity where we need to look for reasons to “get back up again”.

It was the late, great Nelson Mandela who has stood as a beacon for every South African when he said –

“It always seems impossible until its done.”

Perhaps it does feel a little impossible right now. Perhaps it all seems a little too much. But this is when we need to persevere, it’s in this moment that we need to become our own champions. It’s here that we earn our reputation for resilience. Not because we have to, but because we want to.

Because we are South African!

If you look for positive change, you will find it!

It’s so easy to get bogged down by the negative details. It sometimes feels so easy to give up and admit defeat – look to greener pastures and “cut our losses”.

But at AJS, we believe that there is (actually) a lot to be proud of. A lot to be hopefully about. Because if we look around, if we read the news or if we remain aware of what is going on around us, we can find positivity aplenty amidst the shocking news stories circulating the media at the moment. Small acts of goodness that turn into big acts of good.

It was the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu that famously said –

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

And in honour of this, we went looking for good news stories. Things that make us look upon our country with optimism and positivity.

We came across an interview of FirstRand CEO Alan Pullinger by Alec Hogg on SA Good News and we thought what Pullinger had to say was quite apt –

“We’ve got a huge vested interest, it’s difficult if a business is negative or pessimistic. Business by definition is optimistic, we are taking risks. We are investing today for a better future. And so I think by definition, our outlook is always more positive. It’s always more hopeful. We’re not naive around the challenges in the country, they are material.

I guess the frustration for us is that it’s fixable. It truly is fixable.

We’ve got a hell of a lot going for us. We’ve got resources, we’ve got space, we’ve got land, we’ve got entrepreneurial people. We have institutions of strength. We are also not a poor country. We are the 36th biggest country by GDP in the world, that’s not trivial. We are part of the G20. We are considered a middle-income country. So we’ve got the resources.

  • We’ve got a strong private sector.
  • We’ve got the engineers.
  • We’ve got the skills.
  • We’ve got ideas.
  • We know how to do it.
  • We’ve got banking systems.
  • We’re part of an international monetary system.
  • We’ve got foreign investors that will buy our local denominated bonds.

Very few countries in the world have that privilege very, very few.”

And while Pullinger and Hogg may have been talking specifically about business within South Africa, what was said is relevant all around. To all of us. Our problems are so fixable. So, we need to start looking at the positives around us. We need to start looking for ways to see South Africa succeed, because we really do have a lot going for us.

And it is this opening line on SA Good News that struck us as the way we all ought to be doing things

“In SA we are overwhelmed by bad news, but there is another narrative, fact-based, of the positive contribution made by both the private and the NGO sector and those who are determined to ensure that SA does not fail.”

And SA Good News is not the only platform setting out only good news things happening in South Africa. Another noteworthy and highly recommended website is Good Things Guy where –

“Our mission is to change the national conversation and give South Africans a balance to the news in South Africa.”

And with so much negative news dominating our headlines, we believe that information and news that highlights the positive good news stories is crucial.

And why do we say this? Positivity and hope can be found in some of the darkest places. It was during the years 1942 – 1944 whilst hiding away from Nazi’s who sought to send her and her family to a Nazi death camp, that Anne Frank wrote this –- 

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

And for us at least, that puts a lot of things into perspective – like only looking at the negative happening around us, only focusing on what is going wrong in South Africa – especially when we have so much hope… is such a waste. Anne Frank who experienced some of the darkest moments any of us can imagine was absolutely right – we don’t need to wait to improve our world, our perspective, and our thought process. We can do so right now!

So, let’s start changing the narrative and look to the Good Things Guy for some positive inspiration.

Headlines on the Good Things Guy website include –

Aren’t these amazing? Don’t you just want to click, click, click away at all these positive stories?

There is one other story that we thought was pretty newsworthy (why is this not in main stream media we wonder?) – Project Flamingo, Giving Women Free Breast Cancer Surgeries – Celebrated!

“Dr Liana Roodt makes a huge difference for women that are battling breast cancer in the public health sector. She started her programme ‘Project Flamingo’ at Groote Schuur Hospital, which today, is adopted throughout South Africa.

The selfless doctor was distressed by the heartbreaking, drawn out and often chaotic journey that breast cancer patients faced in the public health sector. These women were subjected to extremely long waiting periods for surgeries, sometimes waiting up to 12 weeks. Dr Liana decided to perform “catch-up” surgeries to help alleviate some of the waiting periods.

She started raising funds and donated her own time to make sure the women on the waiting lists didn’t wait too long.

Funds raised for Project Flamingo go towards offering surgeries, paying for theatre time and nursing staff. The surgeries are a great help to the public health sector’s backlog. Another side of the project is ‘Pamper Packs’; these are filled with items for the newly diagnosed woman.”

It is these amazing, selfless acts of kindness, care and generosity that make us a beautiful, wonderful Nation. And they happen every day. They are all around us within our beautiful country. Performed by people from all sectors, all cultures, colours, sexes, and religions.

Our problems are – as emphasised by FirstRand CEO Alan Pullinger – so fixable. And they are so fixable because we have so many amazing people. South Africans who see the positive, who see the good, who see our potential. People who are unwilling to give-up on our Country, people who are determined to see us all succeed. We (the people of SA) are our own most valuable asset. And it is because of the beautiful tapestry of people that make up our beautiful nation that we will overcome, that we will fix our problems, that we will succeed. It is because of our most valuable assets that we will thrive!

We have said this before – South Africa is truly a one-of-a-kind country. There is hope for a bright tomorrow. The #imstaying movement, SA Good News and The Good Things Guy truly waiving the South African banner high, reminding us to always keep our face towards the sunshine, so that we cannot see any of the (negative) shadows (Helen Keller). 

South Africa is a beautiful country filled with amazingly unique people. And by looking back on where we have come from, it’s clear that there is so much that we can all be proud of.

Quoting Nelson Mandela once again –

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

South Africa and her people manage to get back up time and time again, proving not only that we are able to overcome our hardships, but that we are able to succeed despite them.

Because we are (Proudly) South African!

Oh, and P.S – if you are keen on Horror Movies, why not “sink your teeth” into a Proudly South African movie this Halloween. Gaia is an ecological horror set in the Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa. It has received a critics rating of 85% critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with Decider hailing it as “a standout at South by Southwest” and describing the film as a “psychedelic-mushroom Cronenberg-via-del-Toro eco-body-horror creepy-creature freakout … visually potent … strange, beautiful and disgusting.” Gaia won Best Film, Director, Editor, Sound Design and Hair and Makeup at Silwerskerm, as well as Best International Film at Trieste Science + Fiction Festival, among other accolades and will be released on Showmax this Halloween (Good Things Guy).

– Written by Alicia Koch on behalf of AJS

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