Colleen Figg

We need more heroes

2007-09-14 09:34

Colleen Figg

I spoke to Jericho Sithole today, after roughly a fortnight spent wondering why his heroism at Cresta has not received countrywide acclaim and official approbation.

During the interview, Jericho showed himself to be modest and self-effacing, a gentle, ordinary man whose quick action saved a child's life.

He said that he had received a lot of support and kindness from ordinary people, and had heard in person from Allen Ambor, the founder of Spur, who said that he and Spur were proud of Sithole's heroism on that night.

I wanted to write this column about Jericho Sithole because in all the resulting fracas and hospitalisation, news headlines and so on surrounding this drama, he strikes me as a real unsung hero. Apart from quoting his words in a few articles, I think the most acknowledgement any of the media sources gave Sithole was to say 'the family thanked him personally'.

It was when I read that little line that I decided I had to get involved. They 'thanked him personally', did they? I'll bet the family was a lot more effusive than thanking him personally; I'd venture to say the family most likely considers itself firmly and forever in Sithole's debt. I know I would be.

True practitioner of the Ubuntu

The point I am trying to make, here (this for some column readers who seem struck by a particular kind of obtuseness lately, judging from comments on other articles) is that Jericho Sithole, in acting as he did that night has firmly, albeit unintentionally, entrenched himself as a true practitioner of the Ubuntu this country so desperately needs.

Jericho said, "Something told me to go there and I went, then the child cried out and fell, and I just managed to catch him", and to him, it's as simple as that. The need was there, the child was afraid, he looked like he was going to fall, and in a spirit of brother-to-brother Jericho Sithole was there to do his damndest to save the little boy.

I was struck and impressed by his modesty in recounting the story, as if he never seemed to think there was all that much to it.

We need more people like Sithole, to help where help is needed, to catch when someone's falling, to lead through positive effort and kindness, and decency of spirit, to show us that the, 'I won't get involved' mantra so many of us live by is stupid and selfish in the extreme.

Jericho Sithole, Ngiyakuhlonipha! I salute you, publicly, and if I could give you a medal, the highest honour a country can bestow on one of its citizens, I would!

Send your comments to Colleen.

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