i get it, South Africa is in a bit of a mess right now, and that statement is a bit of an understatement.
And yes, xenophobia might not be the correct word, but it’s the one most people understand and so it does seem to work for now so please don’t let us get distracted by that.
With this whole Xenophobia vibe, there are two truths:
 One truth is violence, fear, destruction, hate
 Another truth is peace marches, shelter, protection and life.
The problem on social media this past week, as far as i can tell, is that for the most part only one truth has been emphasised.
While it is important for us to be aware of what is going on [i think we all are by now, yes?] i think we need to realise the responsibility each of us has in the way we share the truth, or the way we choose which truth to share.
Neither of the two truths is the whole truth.
Yes, we would love to see the government more involved, or at least more vocal, and this is definitely something the police and maybe even the military need to be involved in, but again, we have a responsibility outside of that. Whether they do or not and whether it is in a way that is helpful or not, each of us can play our part.
And while i don’t know what the actual answers are when it comes to the actual violence that is happening [besides possibly showing up in numbers and saying “Not on our watch!” although it is hard to know where to go] i do know that we can do our part. And much better than we have.
Fear breeds more fear. Hate breeds panic. Violence breeds hopelessness and disillusionment.
i think it is important for us to take a deep breath and realise that these incidents are actually representative of the minority [which you would not think if you took notice of all the negativity being shared, forwarded, liked and eaten up].
Which is why i have committed myself [and am calling on others] to start to share more of the positive truths that are true of so many of the people of South Africa [of all races, social classes, areas, genders etc].
Let us be more excited to share the good that is happening so that other people who are feeling fearful and hopeless and despondent might be encouraged and motivated to get up and become part of more good, seeing that it does happen and is working.
i don’t even have an idea why people share videos of violence on social media – yes, it’s important we know it is happening, but if we choose to watch it, then i think a little piece of our humanity leaves through the window. Fortunately we’ve been so desensitised by television and movie violence that we don’t even care…
So what i am suggesting and inviting you to do, is to become greater sharers of the more positive truth.
Like this story by my mate Rob from Zimbabwe which is hugely positive and encouraging and representative of stuff he is seeing all the time over there.
Like these stories i am trying to post every week by someone in South Africa sharing the story of someone else in South Africa who is doing something [big or small] that gives them hope.
And more. We live in a beautiful country and we need to claim it both in word and deed, online and out there on the streets. We must not lose sight of the incredible things that are happening all around the country and the millions of people who are wanting this all to work out well. Let’s commit to sharing at least one positive story for every negative one we pass on, but preferably more. Let’s commit to finding and sharing those stories as we see them happening around us. And to be personally involved in making those stories as we build bridges, invest in relationships, become agents of peace and love rather than soothsayers of doom.
Who is with me?