#I’mAlsoStaying. So what?
Here are some realities of our country and, until you can face them head-on, your inspirational Facebook groups are no more than a massive public wank.
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I have no plans for leaving this country, just in case someone cares to know. I’m sure no one does, but I’ll tell you anyway, because, you know… Clout!
I live in a relatively nice suburban enclave, sheltered from much of the issues plaguing the majority of our population.
The regular patrols by armed response, high walls and access control mean I’ve fallen asleep with my front door unlocked and awoken to find that I was still alive.
Not just that, but not a single thing was stolen.
I even take the occasional walk around my neighbourhood, fairly confident that I won’t be relieved of my fancy headphones and cellphone.
Once, during one of my walks, my wallet slipped out of my backpack. Two kids (one black and the other white) saw this, picked it up and ran after me, tapped me on the shoulder and returned it. That’s it. That’s the end of the story.
This is nothing to get excited over. Nor is the fact that I didn’t get robbed when I was careless about locking my doors and windows.
I occasionally also encounter interracial couples at my favourite pub. Again, this is normal. No need for a song and dance.
Recently though, a group has appeared on Facebook doing exactly that, over some of the most mundane occurrences. From getting excited over normal interracial interactions, like a white person having rhythm and dancing with his black friends, to black nurses taking good care of white patients in hospitals, they share it all.
I understand there are plenty of reasons for South Africans to be negative about this country. Anyone who has read a newspaper or been awake for more than an hour in the past 10 years knows what they are.
So I understand the need for people to look for hope in the ordinary, and why this Facebook group has become so popular. People desperately want something positive to cling to, to make themselves feel better about having to live in this mess our political leaders have created for us. This is normal and far be it for me to begrudge anyone this.
My problem, though, is the sanctimonious tone some take when declaring their loyalty to this country. It’s almost as if those who have the means and opportunity to leave are considered traitors, while no negativity (reality) is tolerated.
And that is my problem with this group, because as much as we can appreciate any attempt to spread some happiness and positivity, we also have to face the realities of our country.
We have to accept that our historical systemic injustices still doom the majority of our population to live in abject poverty. Apartheid spacial planning still persists and most attempts to change that are met with loud objections from those who don’t want nearby low-cost housing lowering their property’s value.
Many of those who post pictures of their “maids” and refer to them as “one of the family”, loudly objected to the minimum wage for domestic workers and others.
These are the realities of our country and, until you can face them head-on, your inspirational Facebook groups are no more than a massive public wank.
So yeah … I’m staying. But only because I can’t afford to leave and no country really wants, or needs, more journalists.
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