South Africans are defined by our resilience

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 18, 2023


By Jacobus Crowe

We’ll Cope. We’re South Africans

“The energy crisis is an existential threat to our… social fabric. But… we are, at our most essential, a nation defined by hope and resilience.” - Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA, February 9, 2023.

These words strike a deep chord in our collective psyche. We know what he means when he speaks of hope and resilience. For generations we South Africans had little more than hope, yet we persevered and survived many existential threats to our social fabric. We endured international isolation, and trusted each other enough to avert a race war. We understand our resilient nature and despite all the challenges we recognise a quality in our make-up and it stirs the blood. We will not be beaten.

If it’s not the braai, the sizzling boerewors, the bakkies or the biltong, we share the love of our landscape, oceans and mountains, the abundance and diversity of our African people and languages, our creativity and inventiveness in the land we all call home. The shebeen, Soweto, the Orlando Pirates, our beloved world class Bokke, we love it all and it speaks to us in a language we all understand. Yes, we are so much more than the sum of our parts. We identify as South African first, and we reject the labels of the past as misguided and wrong, and simply not who we are.

So,who are we, really? Could you pick out a South African on the streets of Manhattan, Mayfair or Mumbai? If it’s not the accent, is there something else, maybe the jaw line, or the swagger that marks us out? One thing is sure; we all own our past, the pain and suffering we endured as well as the joy of our freedom. We show our joy in sport, in our love of Mandela, and in our sense of a shared history best demonstrated when Nelson handed the Rugby World Cup to Francois Pienaar in 1995.

And we take that history with us wherever we go. We wear it like a badge which says ‘I am a South African.’ And we also own our future and all our challenges. They’re our problems, our unique South African problems and we the people take ownership.

So let’s be proud of who we are, what we’ve built and where and what we’ve come from. We fixed the past, now let’s build our future in the knowledge that there’s undeniably something about us and our land that unites us, makes us who we are. It’s true, we’re stronger together as South Africans.

We’ll cope.

* The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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