I have been digging deep to try and think of words to give people hope. Sorry, guys, but I have nothing. There is nothing to say to people who were struggling to get by due to the pandemic and then had their factory destroyed or their shop burnt down, or to those who have lost their loved ones either to Covid or to the ongoing violence. Nothing. Except I am more sorry than I can say.
I think a number of things are true about the current crisis the country is facing, I could speak at length about my own theories, that this is in fact a very organized attempt to destabilise our country (a coup? Treason? Sedition? Insurrection? All of the above?) but as my degrees are in drama and creative writing, I feel I am less than qualified to analyse the situation, and what we don’t need at this point is any more fake news (use Africa Check to check if news is fake.) What I would like is for all of us to really watch what we say both in real life and on the socials.
Some of you might think, “Oh, come on, it’s only a smallanyana post, it’s just words.”
But dear reader, that is how it starts, with words. First, it’s the exchange of ugly words and before you know it, people are burning shit down and killing each other. That’s why I want us all to take a deep breath before we respond to anything with a hateful comment or repost something inflammatory on social media. I’m seeing a lot of ugly stuff being retweeted and reposted and people working each other up and it’s really not helping the situation.
So, unless you think it’s of the utmost importance to share something, don’t do it. Sometimes keeping quiet and even better – staying off social media – is the best response of all.
A few weeks ago, I spoke about things that spark joy during these times, and I think the biggest one is helping other people, particularly if you yourself are feeling hopeless and helpless. We immediately think that helping people must mean dishing out large sums of cash which most of us (unless you own the patent for a vaccine or did well out of looting Tops) don’t have.
But there are lots of other things we can do that don’t cost anything, and you’re not doing it to be an irritating do-gooder and to have something to post on the gram, you’re doing it quite frankly to make yourself feel better.
Here were a few things I thought of:
If you have time, there are groups that are helping people to clean up their shops after the riots. Check out Rebuild SA on Facebook.
Offer to mentor someone.
Help advertise people’s skills on social media – my SIL does this for me and religiously reads my blogs and shares them, I even caught her advertising my books a couple of weeks ago.
Make a decision to only post and repost positive/helpful things. There’s enough negative stuff out there, we don’t need to add to it.
Connect with other people – especially if you know they’re having a shit time money-wise or they’ve been ill with Covid or they are isolating by themselves. Yes, I hate to have to remind everyone but we are still in the midst of a pandemic.
Register for your Covid vaccine, help others to register. If you have time, take people to get vaccinated.
Practice self-care which doesn’t necessarily mean heading off to a spa for a week. Take walks. Get out in nature. Eat properly. Use this alcohol ban to go dry for a couple of weeks. Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself like you would a good friend. You have to first be kind to yourself before you can be kind to others.
TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK.
And because this is a book blog, here’s one for the writers – please leave book reviews on Amazon. It makes a huge difference to authors.
Movie recommendations: I know this is ironic when our entire country is a crime scene but I have two crime doccies for you this week. Sophie A Murder in West Cork on Netflix – a really compelling docu-drama about the murder of French woman, Sophie Toscan du Plantier in County Cork, Ireland. An intriguing story and my money’s on Ian Bailey as the guy who dunnit (what a doos.)
Then closer to home Strangers You Know on MNet (keeps on being interrupted by family meetings so I’ve been watching it on Catch-Up.) I’ve only watched a couple of them, but they are SO well shot, and so respectful to the victims of the crimes, I also love the way everyone is encouraged to speak in their home language. Hats off to the peeps who made it.
I know I have come late to this one but I recently binge-watched Fleabag on Amazon Prime. OMG, the talent of Phoebe Waller-Bridge! She is quite amazing and Olivia Colman is AWFUL but brilliant, plus the hot priest is VERY hot. I’ve also become obsessed with a series called Chesapeake Shores on Netflix. Please don’t laugh but it’s from the Hallmark Channel and I’m finding it as soothing as a lavender scented bath.
Book Recommendations: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Feels quite different to her smash hit, Daisy Jones and the Six, but it’s a great beach read (it is in fact set at the beach). All about the Riva family, gorgeous surfer/model types and other assorted celebs and their rising fortunes in Malibu, I really enjoyed it. Thank you to Helen Holyoake and Exclusive Books for my copy.
I also received When Secrets Becomes Stories, published by Jonathan Ball, this week. Edited by one of my absolute faves, Sue Nyathi, this is a must-read. Although it’s a very hectic subject matter, it is both beautiful and uplifting and I applaud the women who were brave enough to share their stories. Get your copy from Exclusive’s, Love Books or your favourite local book store or you can buy the ebook here: https://shop.snapplify.com/product/when-secrets-become-stories-women-speak-out.
Happy reading. Keep on keeping on. I know everything feels completely nightmare-ish and unbearable at the moment, but don’t give in to despair, we will get through this and #RebuildSA. My love and strength to you all xxx