The horror of the last few day’s xenophobic violence in Johannesburg has left us all feeling shocked and hopeless. The danger here is that it’s very easy for us (and I’m speaking to the predominantly wealthy and white audience that reads this blog and makes up SA’s blogging fraternity) to remove ourselves from the situation because we think it doesn’t impact us directly.
It’s not us white folks who are being looted, kicked out of our homes and being burnt alive. We live in absolute comfort while next door in Alexandra a war is breaking out. We say things like, “shame, poor foreigners”, but we’re very good at feeling pity and very bad at acting. And I’m the worst of the lot. Then this morning one of my colleagues, Lisa, looked up from her Mac and said to us, “we must do something”. I heard two voices in my head instantly. Fortunately, I’m listening to the positive one.
It’s on that note that I’d like to encourage you, my fellow bloggers and business people, to join me in doing something about it. We know we have the collective influence to make a big noise about very little, but can we prove that we can also make a difference for good? We can start small and if this has legs, I’ll take it up the next level with big media and NGO’s nationwide.
What can you do? Firstly, spread the word – let’s get as many people as possible thinking and talking about small (or large if you can) donations of food, clothing, blankets, etc. Pull old clothes out your cupboards, grab old towels and sheets – if you’re anything like me you have stacks of stuff lying around you don’t need / use.
I heard on 702 earlier that a collection station (for food that does not need to be cooked, baby products, clothing, blankets etc.) has been set up on Maude Str opposite the Village Walk shopping center in Sandton. Run a collection drive at your office! Convince your CSI officers this is what they need to be investing in! Let’s do something. There’s also a list set up on the 702 with numbers of organisations and individuals doing something about the crisis.
Thanks guys – let’s make a difference for good.