The last week has shown me that anything is possible in this country. We all watched malls and businesses being looted and burnt down in various parts of the country because of political issues that have spilt into some communities.
When all of this was happening, my first thought was the ripple effects that this damage would have on the already previously disadvantaged communities, Township-based businesses, and our ailing economy. We have seen the impact this has had in the provision of basic goods and services such as food, petrol, and medication; not forgetting the lives that we lost. Before the looting, the country’s economy was holding on by a thread with unemployment rates already sitting at the highest levels ever.
Destroying the little that we already have has meant that we were impacting the jobs and livelihoods of many ordinary South Africans who are breadwinners in a lot of households.
I was so touched though by how South Africans stood up in various communities in different provinces across the country to protect their own. The collaborations between ordinary citizens, SAPS, Security companies, Taxi Associations and some of our celebrities has been beautiful to watch. Now, I am also looking at how everyone has volunteered in the clean-up process after the looting. All of this is telling me that as South Africans, we can indeed overcome the socio-economic challenges that many of our people face on a daily basis.
We just need to pull together in the same spirit of “Ubuntu” and work towards one goal; the last week said to me that it is possible for us to achieve the following:
We can alleviate poverty in many South African homes – we can make sure that no children or families go to bed hungry. Because it’s #MandelaMonth, I am compelled to quote our former statesman, Mr Nelson Mandela when he said: “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, but rather an act of justice”.The last week has proved to us that we can create jobs and not only that but also protect those jobs by protecting the businesses that make employment possible.
It is also possible for us to protect our women and children from Gender-based Violence (GBV), and we can actually keep our communities clean – if we all just did our part.
Here at home in Komani, I am very encouraged by the clean-up project that the owners of Russell’s and Sons have been doing in our township in partnership with various community organisations. It is however not possible for these few people to maintain this and continue cleaning after us if all of us do not put in the effort as well. The only way that any township can be clean is if we all learnt the basics of not littering and cleaning up after ourselves.
Having watched the news on what has been happening in the country, I felt that it was important for me to write this column specifically to salute South Africans, but most importantly my people in the Eastern Cape and my hometown in Komani for standing up against the looting and the destruction of malls and businesses. I know that we still have a long way to go and that we are still facing a lot of issues, but despite all of these I am very proud to be called “South African”.
Miranda Lusiba is the Founding Director of Strangé Consulting – a boutique PR Agency specialising in Communications, Freelance Writing, Media Relations, Reputation Management and Media Training.
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