South Africa: Being Optimistic, Negative or Realistic?

Over at Sipho Hlongwane’s blog he makes quite a positive statement about South Africa succeeding.

Responses to his post are, well, negative largely. I commented on this and said:

Wow, the amount of negative comments was unexpected.

We need strong leaders. Where are they? Are they the people who are commenting here negatively? Somehow, I think they aren’t. I’ve never seen a conspiracy theorist become a wonderful leader. All I see conspiracy theorists do is complain, they never make a difference. For them, it’s all fated to go down the toilet anyway.

Nice article Sipho. Keep them coming.

Guy, another reader, responded to me by saying:

@ryan peter: the comments aren’t necessarily negative. they’re realistic. the writer is just offering hope, which in itself is nice and fuzzy, but in the context of south africa today and in light of the argument here presented, it is a commodity fast depleting. those that hold onto it in the face of all that is going on are either saints or stupid. and i’m not one to believe in saints.

i agree. let’s get up and do something for the good. but what? how? where? with whom? will it have any effect? will anyone join me? will anyone oppose me? will anyone threaten me to be quiet? these are not small questions to answer, ryan. and it is absolutely of no use to tell us to be optimistic and offer no reasons why or how.

Here was my reponse thus far:


Some are negative, some are realistic, but you ask where or how you can do something for the good?

There are PLENTY of organisations doing good things into this country. Heck, even your local church is probably doing SOMETHING for the community.

Every little bit counts. Changing the mindset of people involves not only writing articles such as this or being involved politically, but getting to people at a grass-roots level, so that the grass-roots level of society would stop voting for useless leaders and would never support a tyrant etc. etc.

There’s a lot going on at grass-roots and one needs to just actually change the mind-set at this level. I’m not one for blindless optimism, but I am one for saying, “look, telling people to get out of the country is no solution. Telling people to get involved with this or that organisation or their church — there’s a solution!”

I’m just tired of people sitting in their leather couches watching sport on TV and drinking their beer complaining about the country. Why not spend those hours they watch TV getting involved DOING something.

Let’s be doers, not complainers. We’ve all got skills, are we just using them to make money or are we also using them for others? Many of the negative people just want to make money and fill their own pockets, but nothing more. So they’ll complain and complain and complain…

Why am I posting this here?

Because I’m passionate about this point. There are plenty of ways people can get involved to do something. Every little bit counts.

In Matthew 13 Jesus talks about how the Kingdom is a mustard seed, something tiny, and then grows to become a huge tree that even the birds can come find rest in. Every small thing counts. Every little thing.

But I’m sorry, sitting on your couch complaining that someone must do something may be all fair and well, provided you do something yourself, otherwise it’s meaningless babble in my opinion.

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