“Whether you are in Perth or Pretoria, South African issues affect South Africans in a personal way. Our patriotism or connection with this land means we feel something (and it might be different for all of us) when South Africa is being threatened.”


Sadly South Africa is not short of tragic examples at the moment: service delivery and student protests, a currency crisis, economic downturn, a compromised presidency and even poor sport.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed and hopeless in these kinds moments, no matter if the situation makes you feel sad, anxious or angry. Many of us start to feel powerless. And when we start to feel powerless, most of us just stop thinking about it, let alone participating in trying to make it better. It’s that old default: apathy.

Tired of hearing all the doom and gloom on Facebook, at dinner parties and from every second book on the shelves at Exclusive Books, I keep asking: what can we as everyday, average South Africans do to make things better? No one is very forthcoming with suggestions, and I wish someone would write a book or at least finish a book with some DIY nation saving solutions.

And although there are some very clever commentators on the topic of why South Africa will fail, I’m pretty sure that there must be some simple, every day starting points that we can all begin with. I refuse to believe that a collective of individuals can’t be part of the solution, or that we are really happy to leave the destiny of our country in someone else’s control.

So here are my little things to consider (whether you are in Perth or Pretoria): find positive things to say about South Africa, vote, keep using the democratic institutions and rights, form an opinion, read enough to form an opinion, be empathetic with different viewpoints, be patient, support South African business, support South African sport and arts, and ask when you don’t understand.

Read more: Being patriotic from afar