There’s a lot to complain about in South Africa, the list seems endless, but we need to balance that with the good too. Some are obviously good, like quality biltong, and others not so obvious. I spent some time thinking about it.
I enjoy a bowl of good ice cream, or lemon sorbet, but that’s hardly specific to South Africa. A walk on the beach is a really good use of time – but there are a great many beaches around the world. The feeling of the sun on my skin, well that’s a really good feeling but hardly unique to the country.
Take that walk though and the number of people that say hello, anything from a small nod of the head to a big smile and hello. Pull into a filling station, the first words you’ll hear are “Good morning, how are you?”. The local supermarket is a guaranteed greeting and change of a few pleasantries. Small moments, insignificant encounters that form the entirety of the day.
Oh sure, we all have important things to do. Big jobs, important jobs, rewarding jobs, all manner of jobs that need doing on a tight schedule and all of them … ultimately mean not a thing. Seriously, not one thing you do will matter in the end more than human interaction.
We interact with everything we encounter throughout our lives, both inanimate and alive. It is important to respect all of these because they are all a linked part of the chain of our existence. Most important though is the time spent with other humans. Those thoughts, words and deeds are the signature we leave behind.
Oh sure, everyone has a bad day and can be a grump. We have all done it before and will again. Part of being human and part of not walking around like a permanently smiling idiot is that we have bad days – but as South Africans we have more good than bad, by a long way.
The next time you interact with another person, think about it as your life touching theirs – and theirs touching yours. It can be a good experience, if you let it.
On a final note, but staying on the theme, here’s a link which is purely South African and a favourite TV moment. Watch that legend of SABC News, Riaan Cruywagen, in a rare moment of lost composure. It’s all the funnier for his extreme professionalism at all other times.