I have not posted about this year’s #FeesMustFall protests, as I have been trying to listen and learn as much as possible. I have not felt the authority or entitlement to put my opinion onto a platform.
Until last week, when I saw a post on the Stellies Rage Facebook page. A French exchange student encouraged his fellow students to take their foreign passports (if they have) and move away from South Africa. This person made South Africa out to be a sinking ship that is better off abandoned.
It made me livid. South African society is turbulent at the moment, there is no mistaking it. We have a lot to fix. A lot of old, infected wounds have been reopened and we are now in this purgatory where no-one is really satisfied. Painted rust is still rust, and quick fixes have not been particularly progressive for South Africa. When you expose existing problems for what they are, there is finally hope for fixing them. So, as far as I see it, South Africa is potentially on the brink of becoming great. If we’d let it, of course.
People who sit around and make comments about how shit they think this country are infuriating. Worse, I think they are a part of the problem. Your attitude about something directly correlates with how much care you invest into it. This, of course, impacts the way you nurture it and how much effort to put into to it to making it succeed. So if you think this country is terrible, it is unlikely that you will contribute the necessary effort to take it to its full potential. Anyone whose parents forced them into a degree or a career path will be able to confirm this. Passion produces purpose. The mantra is a cliché for a reason.
It is not the wealth gap that make me afraid for the future of South Africa. Nor the social tension built upon years of racial oppression. It’s not even the corrupt government. It is the people who sit comfortably in their living rooms and make Facebook statuses about how South Africa is going downhill. They have received the most from what this country has to offer, but they keep what they have for maximum comfort. If I ever emigrate, it will be because of these people.
If you believe Europe or America to be better, do yourself – and this country – a favour and leave. You are not obligated to stay. This country is dynamic, but it is not for everyone. If you hate this country so much, you are not needed – it does not matter what you can contribute, you will not help this country develop. If you think you deserve to live in a ‘better’ country, carpe diem. Help yourself out. As taxing or expensive as migrating can be, not feeling the need to gripe every day is surely worth the move.
But on your way out, do not spread the propaganda that South Africa is not worth the effort. Do not spread the lies that South Africa has been fine for the past 20 years and that this era is filled with unfair violence. The rest of us love this country; we know that our loyalty need not be a waste of time. The growing pains are so ugly, but we know that we are working towards a South Africa that looks after everyone. If you do not want to be a part of that, that is your choice.
[Featured image source: businesstech.co.za]