An Active Letter to South Africa

An AI-generated image of ‘South Africa as a superhero’, generated by Mike Sharman.

An AI-generated image of ‘South Africa as a superhero’, generated by Mike Sharman.

Published Jan 16, 2023


By Mike Sharman

Open letters are lame; they lack action.

Covid-19, riots, Eskom, floods, <insert any Sunday story from Carte Blanche> are the clearest set of binary indicators that we, South Africans, are well and truly on our own.

I'm dubbing 2023 ‘The year of subsistence citizenship’, because it's time for us to take care of ourselves, first, then band together as a community, second. The collective can be the neighbours who share your street, the colleagues who occupy your workspace, or even the parental peers who you smile at (or ignore) on your daily, school drop off.

We are tired of being the 'resilient nation'. The one with record-breaking GBV stats, and unemployment rates, a feeble (un)education system, deployed-cadres, and roads crumbling under ruin.

By making our own, micro-solves, we can take back ownership of our dignity and our values. Where is our pride?

We can prove that we don't rely on an antiquated systems of government. Change starts small, then snowballs.

  • Mow the lawn in the common area of your street if your municipality is inept.
  • Offer a hot desk at your generator/inverter-lit office space to an SME.
  • Volunteer to be on the fundraising committee of your school.
  • Fill a pot-hole. There must be a YouTube video for best practice. There's a tutorial for everything.
  • Sort out your personal admin and have an ID for when voting registration opens.

I've seen remarkable headmasters at rural schools being present and physically changing the environment, positively, for people living in abject poverty. I've seen solar panels added to a middle class government school - thanks to parental-inspired crowdfunding - driving upside for inquiring young minds.

Regardless your race, religion, affluence or location, it's time to rage against the political rhetoric that thrives on populist narratives.

It's time for real action. I want us to prove the world wrong, so let's do it.

What small thing are you going to do to change your life, in order to positively inspire your street, neighbourhood, colleagues, school parents, friends, and strangers?

For some inspiration, I asked Al to show me 'South Africa as a superhero'. Go on SA, pick your fighter...

* Mike Sharman is the co-founder of influencer marketing platform, - a disruptive sports storytelling agency - and athlete ecosystem

** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of IOL or Independent Media.

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