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Dear Mzantsi: stop moping, be proudly South African

(I came across) a very interesting editorial by the CEO of Proudly South African, Leslie Sedibe today in the Star, who lamented the fact that we are a nation which hates itself, saying that we shouldn’t be hating ourselves:

I sat, I read and I thought to myself ‘Am I self-loathing first of all? And do I despise my country?'

For starters, I despise anyone who will come over to my place, or will sit next to me on a plane or those find me in a store and all they want to talk about is the ill happenings in South African society. You know the phrase ‘This country is going to the dogs’. My reply to that would always be ‘But how is your life? How are you doing?’

Now I can only speak for myself – I love this country. I’ve been blessed to work in this media industry and across an 18-year career, I’ve had the opportunity to travel abroad – which then gives you the context to compare – and I’ve also had an opportunity to work abroad. And when those offers have come in, I’ve had one conversation with myself: are the stories that I would be focusing on abroad more interesting than perhaps what I would encounter in South Africa? Every single time that I’ve had that conversation with myself, the answer would be a resounding ‘no’.

We’re a vibrant nation – the current crop of young South Africans are worldly-wise, street-smart, brilliant people and certainly not lazy, as certain suggestions have been made.

I take pride in the fact that people actually engage massively about the challenges we face because I think when people complain - without us realising it – we kind of do consider ourselves our brother’s keeper, don’t we? So I don’t see any problem when people talk about the bad, the corruption and the problems, because we’re all genuinely concerned. What is a love relationship without one partner saying to the other ‘There are problems here’?

So am I self-loathing? Do I loathe my country? No. Do you?

Well, if all you do is mope around and moan, then my suggestion is, deep down inside, you probably would derive joy if South Africa truly, really went ‘to the dogs’.

So call it like you see it, but also appreciate what we have and where you live.

I suppose that’s the key to being ‘Proudly South African’.


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