Goodwill hunting in SA

2017-10-13 14:30

South Africans struggle. They struggle on a personal level, on a financial level and on a political level. It happens on a daily basis and it leads to enormous frustration. Furthermore they take it out on each other in various ways like on social media, and even physical violence. This breaks down the social cohesion in our society.

Is there any hope for South Africa and its citizens? Is there still goodwill?

It depends. Goodwill is an individual decision. It is the responsibility of the individual. It starts with you. It is up to you.

I believe there is hope for South Africa, but then we have to get going. We can’t depend on the government, the value of the Rand or foreign investment to improve our lives. The way towards a better South Africa starts with the way we treat each other.

What does that mean? It means that we won’t succumb to our frustrations and that we won’t give in to racism. Lashing out on social media by making racist comments is not a way to build social cohesion.

If we want a future, a better tomorrow, then it is time to shape up.

It begins by treating each other with dignity. It begins by showing respect to our fellow citizens. Yes, I know, life is everything but perfect in South Africa. Yet, we can still make a difference. It’s not going to help to give in to anger and venting our frustrations by humiliating and insulting each other. That just drags us further down into the mud.

If we want to build momentum towards something better, it starts by making a difference every day that we live. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I know, South Africa isn’t Rome. But it can be... If we want it to be...

It starts by taking the first step and by taking small steps. The Chinese have a saying that a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step...

Of course we have a long road ahead. In the book “The Road Less Travelled” M. Scott Peck starts with the sentence that “Life is difficult”. Yes life is difficult. Very difficult! Even more so in South Africa. But just because life isn’t perfect it doesn’t mean that it can’t be better. We can make it better.

You may think that I’m naive, but a lifetime of reading self-help books has taught me that one’s destiny depends on two things. First of all, the thoughts that we think. Secondly, the decisions that we make.

If we believe there is hope, we will have hope. If we decide to make the world a better place, it will be a better place.

Don’t give up. I know we struggle with state capture, lack of political leadership, crime and unemployment. I know we don’t live in a rose garden. But maybe life wasn’t meant to be a rose garden. Maybe it was supposed to be a challenge.

Let’s take up the challenge and start with ourselves. Let’s celebrate the good that we do have, as little as it may be. Life isn’t just bad. South Africa isn’t just filled with problems. We’re not lost. There’s more to reality than meets the eye.

If we want victory, we have to behave victorious. Winning takes effort. If we want to carry a crown, we have to behave like royalty. That means showing good manners in our daily lives, seeking goodwill and believing the best of each other.

There’s no time like the present. If we want a better tomorrow, we have to improve today. The only way to do that is by making a difference, by treating each other better than we did yesterday. Time is up! Now is the time to start! How? It’s simple. By showing goodwill.  

- Anne Marais is a freelance journalist and language practitioner. She has a background in journalism and political science and is interested in current affairs.

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