A Call to All Resilient South Africans | #MyFridayStory №278

Frans Nel
4 min readFeb 17, 2023
Taryn Elliott | Pexels

Once again, I’m not proud to be South African.

In 1976 I was 13 years old when I first travelled to the United States. My Dad worked at South African Airways and one of the perks was free air tickets to travel anywhere in the world. South Africa was headline news worldwide after the June Soweto uprising. Years of international pressure in the form of sanctions and boycotts against the apartheid regime, intensified. White South Africans were not openly welcomed abroad. As a young boy, I felt the disdain as we checked through passport control at JFK International. And for the rest of that trip, and others that followed, I experienced varying levels of contempt towards me from Americans of all colours.

There’s nothing like overseas travel to inform you how wrong your country is getting things. The South African accent is distinctive and highly noticeable around the world. People say the accent sounds beautiful and beg you to speak more. South Africa’s reputation became so bad, on a trip with a friend to the States in 1985, we lied about where we’re from. To avoid being treated with condemnation and judged as racists by the locals, we said we are from Australia. It worked.

Once again, we are the scourge of the world, the scum that even evil nations despise. There was the decade between the 2nd of February 1990, with FW de Klerk’s opening of parliament speech that set about ending apartheid, and sometime after the end of Madiba’s term as president in 1999, that we were the crown jewel of the world. The Rainbow Nation. But that shine soon faded as we took on the grey hue of every other failed African country post liberation. Even owners of Airbnb and other establishments abroad started shunning travellers from South Africa.

Our “kind” are not welcome once again.

There was a time when other African nations referred to South Africa as, “Afrika Lite”. Apartheid had kept us isolated and exempt of the negative influences of Africa’s track record thus far. Authoritarian states run by corrupt officials where law and order are no longer in force. Mafia states where ordinary good people no longer stand a chance of survival. You must play by their rules which includes bribery and corruption. It is woven into the cultural DNA. Their leaders allowed the rot to take root, setting about their slide into chaos.

South Africa has become the preferred destination for organised crime syndicates from all over the world. Our established — yet fast failing — infrastructure allows them to operate at will, targeting not only South Africans but international victims too. A lack of efficient policing and corrupt officials on their payroll, the criminals can entrench themselves into the fabric of the community. Local criminals are learning from their newly arrived competition, with crimes like kidnappings and assassinations becoming daily events.

It’s hard for me not to say to my children, you must get out of South Africa while you can. My grandkids don’t deserve the country we are leaving them. How can I hold my hand on my heart and pledge that everything will work out? The thieves and criminals have hollowed out every bit of infrastructure we built. It’s hollowed out, so the shell is still there. To the onlooker, the shell gives the illusion that it’s all still functioning. But those same criminals are not done. Their greed and evil seems insatiable.

It will take you and me, the good people that live in this country and call it home, to put a stop to it. South Africans have always been regarded as people that don’t lie down and play dead. We have come through so many challenges and obstacles to make South Africa the rich and diverse country it is, how can we allow anyone to steal it away from us now? We tasted the dream, but we have never been allowed to develop it into the Rainbow Nation we all hoped for.

Now is the opportunity to take back the country and make it ours again. It’s been in the hands of a few criminals for long enough. It’s time for all South Africans to believe in the vision of a mature democratic country where people are treated fairly and equitably, and opportunities exist for all its citizens.

We have a country to rebuild. Who’s in?

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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