Living the reality of SA positively is possible’

2011-07-30 00:00

DI Smith is one of those South Africans whose vision of a rainbow nation has never faded. Her optimism in a South Africa that can reach its potential is never ending. This vision has culminated in a book, You’re Awesome: Living a Fulfilled Life.

Different from her partner Derryn Campbell’s book, Awesome South Africa, this is a hands-on guide for living with hope in uncertain times. Using Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu as inspiration, she believes South Africans can follow their example.

While some have glimpsed a country that Nelson Mandela dreamed of in 1994, others are commonly plagued by doubts of the reality of this dream.

Pietermaritzburg resident Smith believes every South African has the ability to change the future and make a difference.

Her book is a culmination of years of research and is presented as 52 chapters of life lessons. Drawing from the wisdom of other life coaches and inspirational leaders, she has used examples from her own life. “We all have had moments when we are very proud South Africans, like at the World Cup, but being a proud South African means living that reality every day. My vision was for all of us to feel this fire burning inside us,” Smith said.

In her research Smith realised how the social fabric of South Africa has been deeply scarred by apartheid and rapid urbanisation. The worst impact has been the disintegration of families, who are mostly without father figures.

“Women are great nurturers, but they have been forced to provide and to be both parents. There is a generation of young men who don’t know how to act like grown men. They have had no role models and they are like pieces of driftwood.”

She says young men turn to peers for support and can be easily influenced by criminals. She hopes lessons in her book can be taught to young people throughout the country. “They are not culture-specific, they apply to all people and all races and ages …”

Some might dismiss the book as a dressed-up self-help book disguised as patriotism, but Smith says, “If you wish to get the most out of life there is one requirement — a desire for change and the discipline to apply certain principles daily.

“If you change yourself you can change others. That is the greatest advice I can offer.”

The book will be launched at Cascades Book World on August 4. See for details.

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