Adriaan Basson | We see you! The people who build, shape and grow South Africa

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News24 salutes those who build, shape and grow South Africa. (Photo credits from left: Supplied by Thabiso Sekhula, Supplied by Nikiwe Dlova, Alfonso Nqunjana/News24)
News24 salutes those who build, shape and grow South Africa. (Photo credits from left: Supplied by Thabiso Sekhula, Supplied by Nikiwe Dlova, Alfonso Nqunjana/News24)

Today is Good News Day on News24 and we celebrate those who don't only get enraged by the problems in our society, but do something about it, writes Adriaan Basson.

South Africans aren't only world champions in rugby. We are also world leaders in self-flagellation and talking each other into a perpetual state of depression.

A year ago, News24 decided to flip the switch. For one day, every year, we will shift the focus to the good, the resilient, the beautiful and the brave in our country. Because we have lots of that.

1 April is Good News Day at News24 and, for one day, we will flood the stream with stories of hope, endurance and kindness.

Pessimism isn't smart 

There was a paragraph in Discovery Group CEO Adrian Gore's brilliant opinion piece in News24 on Friday that stuck with me: "Pessimism seems smart, but it isn't. There is an 'optimism stigma', especially in South Africa."

"I think I know why. People believe that if they are pessimistic, they are prudent and thinking critically, and will somehow call out decline and failure. If optimistic, they believe they will somehow tolerate the unacceptable. This is not the case. Seeing potential makes you more enraged by failure."

Gore referred particularly to our poor state of energy provision and normalised load shedding. For a country with world-class engineers, technicians, abundant natural resources and plenty of sunlight, we should not have to be saving for inverters, solar panels, battery lamps and candles.

READ | Adriaan Basson: We dare not lose hope; this country is worth fighting for

But is that a reason to fall into perpetual pessimism and deprive yourself and those around you of hope? Certainly not. 

The people filling News24's pages today are also enraged by the state of many things in our country, but they are doing something to realise the potential Gore wrote about.

Our challenge 

Like Carla Mathyse and Candace Eslick from the University of Cape Town who are developing green cooking fuel for low-income households. Or Amina Abrahams from Cape Town who lost her job, but started her own catering business and now employs 30 people.

Or Boitumelo Monageng, the founder and CEO of Swypa Delivery, who took online food deliveries from local eateries into Soweto and Tembisa.

For Jacob Madisha from Atteridgeville, seeing hungry children attend school prompted him to start the Ponelopele non-profit organisation that now feeds about 250 children with breakfast daily in the township.

Charlene Pienaar, the blind golfing champion, challenges us all:  

You need to experience life and make it a journey. There are so many things that you can do in life, no matter. Every day is constant learning on and off the golf course. I want to show that with patience, and perseverance you can conquer anything, you just need to go out and experience life and grow each and every day.

There are thousands, no, millions of South Africans who wake up every day to persevere, to conquer, to experience and to grow. We salute each and every one of you and wish you a happy Good News Day!

- Adriaan Basson is editor-in-chief of News24.

*Want to respond to the columnist? Send your letter or article to with your name and town or province. You are welcome to also send a profile picture. We encourage a diversity of voices and views in our readers' submissions and reserve the right not to publish any and all submissions received.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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