Vasbyt! | #MyFridayStory №164

Frans Nel
3 min readNov 27, 2020


I’ve led a privileged and easy life.

Sure, I’ve had a few ups and downs, but all things being considered, it’s been fun.

Military service was compulsory for all-white South African men from 1967 until the early 90s. If you served a stint during this time, you would have heard the Afrikaans term: It does not translate well without losing some of its gravitas, but it’s like, “Bite the bullet!” It was used extensively by soldiers during the rigorous basic training to encourage one another.

I’m intrigued by the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Our ability to persist, to persevere, often seems more than we can endure. But some people, when confronted with danger, show a high level of grit and determination to persist and overcome the challenge. There are countless true stories of how people of character have survived terrible ordeals through their ability to “Vasbyt!”

My Parents both signed up to serve in the Second World War. Recorded as the deadliest war in history, it went on for 6 years and more than 70 million people died. My Dad joined the Air Force and served in North Africa and Italy. He remained with the Airways for 53 years. My Mom became a nursing sister, choosing to do nightshift for over 54 years.

My Grandparents lived through the First World War (1914 to 1918) and the later Great Depression, lasting from 1929 to 1939.

Those were pandemics.

Those folks could Vasbyt!

We have been through less than a year with our, “pandemic.” We are not the first people to suffer from a global incident that is negatively affecting us all. And we won’t be the last. We must realise that life can be difficult. There are rare moments of sincere peace and calm, but this is not the norm. Our life has become so fast-paced and hectic, we use wearable apps and devices to make us more efficient.

The world decided to press pause to slow us down.

But in less than a year, our patience is already running out. We are being slowed down and we are finding it hard and tiring. Our resolve seems to have reached its limit.

The year is ending, and many are happy to see the back of 2020. But as the year winds down and we tend to become more relaxed, our grit and determination shouldn’t wane.

It is during Vasbyt! that character is born. It is within you. That’s your work.

It is not from the outside; it is from inside you.

Strength. Courage. Hope. Truth. Honesty. Direction. Focus. These are available to give to each other abundantly. In these times, human solidarity shines through.

Who do you turn to when asked to Vasbyt?

HT — Rudi Swanepoel

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

Originally published at on November 27, 2020.



Frans Nel

Curiousor and curiousor