My South Africa…

My South Africa is the working-class man who called from the airport to return my wallet without a cent missing. It is the white woman who put all three of her domestic worker’s children through the same school that her own child attended. It is the politician in one of our rural provinces, Mpumalanga, who returned his salary to the government as a statement that standing with the poor had to be more than just a few words. It is the teacher who worked after school hours every day during the public sector strike to ensure her children did not miss out on learning.

My South Africa is the first-year university student in Bloemfontein who took all the gifts she received for her birthday and donated them – with the permission of the givers – to a home for children in an Aids village. It is the people hurt by racist acts who find it in their hearts to publicly forgive the perpetrators. It is the group of farmers in Paarl who started a top school for the children of farm workers to ensure they got the best education possible while their parents toiled in the vineyards. It is the farmer’s wife in Viljoenskroon who created an education and training centre for the wives of farm labourers so that they could gain the advanced skills required to operate accredited early-learning centers for their own and other children.

My South Africa is that little white boy at a decent school in the Eastern Cape who decided to teach the black boys in the community to play cricket, and to fit them all out with the togs required to play the gentelman’s game. It is the two black street children in Durban, caught on camera, who put their spare change in the condensed milk tin of a white beggar. It is the Johannesburg pastor who opened up his church as a place of shelter for illegal immigrants. It is the Afrikaner woman from Boksburg who nailed the white guy who shot and killed one of South Africa’s greatest freedom fighters outside his home.

My South Africa is the man who went to prison for 27 years and came out embracing his captors, thereby releasing them from their impending misery. It is the activist priest who dived into a crowd of angry people to rescue a woman from a sure necklacing. It is the former police chief who fell to his knees to wash the feet of Mamelodi women whose sons disappeared on his watch; it is the women who forgave him in his act of contrition. It is the Cape Town university psychologist who interviewed the ‘Prime Evil’ in Pretoria Centre and came away with emotional attachment, even empathy, for the human being who did such terrible things under apartheid.

My South Africa is the quiet, dignified, determined township mother from Langa who straightened her back during the years of oppression and decided that her struggle was to raise decent children, insist that they learn, and ensure that they not succumb to bitterness or defeat in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the two young girls who walked 20kms to school everyday, even through their matric years, and passed well enough to be accepted into university studies. It is the student who takes on three jobs, during the evenings and on weekends, to find ways of paying for his university studies.

My South Africa is the teenager in a wheelchair who works in townships serving the poor. It is the pastor of a Kenilworth church whose parishioners were slaughtered, who visits the killers and asks them for forgiveness because he was a beneficiary of apartheid. It is the politician who resigns on conscientious grounds, giving up status and salary because of an objection in principle to a social policy of her political party. It is the young lawman who decides to dedicate his life to representing those who cannot afford to pay for legal services.

My South Africa is not the angry, corrupt, violent country those deeds fill the front pages of newspapers and the lead-in items on the seven-o’-clock news. It is the South Africa often unseen, yet powered by the remarkable lives of ordinary people. It is the citizens who keep the country together through millions of acts of daily kindness.

by Jonathan Jansen

54 thoughts on “My South Africa…

  1. It seems that good and evil are more clearly discernable in your country than in ours. Where the darkness is darkest, the stars shine most brightly. What amazing, supernatural grace, to be able to embrace one’s captors, and to raise one’s children without bitterness, in spite of the oppression all around.
    America, on the other hand, seems addicted to rage, and I fear we are on the road to self-destruction. (See my piece, posted yesterday, “Anger: the Bad, the Ugly, and the Useful.”)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you. I applaud you for posting this, though I know that is not why you posted it. Long may you – and all these wonderful folk – run. Threads that weave the sister/brotherhood across the planet. Shame upon a shallow and self-serving mainstream media.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan Jansen hit it spot on. There are wonderful people in our country. They don’t yell their good deeds from the rooftops. They are the silent majority who daily live side by side and do amazing things for others. So unfortunate that ugliness always catches the headlines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes… Ugliness all over.
      Media sensation driven. Our South Africa has heart and soul, our people are good and hopefully that good, kind canner will be flown and resurrected when we falter as a reminder that we are all one. Had to, had to share Jonathan’s words. 🌺 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this moving reminder that South Africa, and indeed all the countries of the world, is made up of kindhearted people carrying out acts of kindness every day. Oh, why can’t world leaders and politicians act from kindheartedness. Very sadly, the expression “power corrupts” rings true all too often. We need these reminders

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this article as it did address the good in people. I see the trend in the US is that certain persons are entitled to what they want and will not give an inch to fulfill their want. And at the same time, there are those who will give of themselves to others. The most interesting persons are those who feel that using others’ wealth to provide for many will not affect themselves. With Heartwarming thoughts to you in your upcoming week.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. आपने बहोत अच्छी बात लिखी है. न्यूजपेपर्स और चॅनेल्स निगेटिव्ह बातोंको बढा चढाकर दिखाते है. लेकीन अच्छे काम करनेवालोंके पास कमही पहुंतचे है.

    Like

  7. Pingback: My South Africa… – BOOKS BY CRAIG LOCK

  8. What a beautiful, uplifting piece! And no doubt similar stories could be told about the citizens of many if not all the countries on earth. ALL that God is, is ALWAYS at work (John 5:17). It’s just that we’re not always aware. Thank you, Sunshiny, for helping to spread the word!

    Liked by 1 person

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