Empowerment Zone | Response after looting gives hope

The last week has shown me that anything is possible in this country. We all watched malls and businesses being looted and burnt down in various parts of the country because of political issues that have spilt into some communities.

“I was so touched, though, by how South Africans stood up in various communities to protect their own.”

When all of this was happening, my first thought was the ripple effects this damage would have on already disadvantaged communities, township-based businesses and our ailing economy. We have seen the impact this has had in the provision of basic goods and services such as food, petrol, and medication; not forgetting the lives lost. Before the looting, the country’s economy was holding on by a thread, with unemployment rates already at the highest levels ever. Destroying the little we already have has meant we were impacting the jobs and livelihoods of many ordinary South Africans who are breadwinners in many households.

I was so touched, though, by how South Africans stood up in various communities to protect their own. The collaboration between ordinary citizens, SAPS, security companies, taxi associations and some celebrities has been beautiful to watch. I am also looking at how people have volunteered in the clean-up process after the looting. All of this is telling me that, as South Africans, we can overcome the socio-economic challenges many people face on a daily basis.

We need to pull together in the spirit of “Ubuntu” and work towards one goal. The last week said it is possible for us to achieve the following:

  • We can alleviate poverty in many South African homes – we can make sure that no children or families go to bed hungry. Because it is #MandelaMonth, I am compelled to quote former statesman, Nelson Mandela when he said: “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, but rather an act of justice.”
  • The last week has proved we can create jobs and also protect those jobs by protecting the businesses that make employment possible.
  • It is also possible for us to protect women and children from gender-based violence d
  • We can keep our areas clean – if we all just do our part.

In Komani I am very encouraged by the clean-up project the owners of Russell and Son have been doing in the township in partnership with various community organisations. It is, however, not possible for these few people to maintain this and continue cleaning after us if all of us do not put in the effort as well. The only way any township can be clean is if we all learn the basics of not littering and cleaning up after ourselves.

Having watched the news on what has been happening in the country, I felt it was important for me to write this column specifically to salute South Africans, especially people in the Eastern Cape and my hometown Komani for standing up against the looting and destruction of malls and businesses. I know we have a long way to go and are still facing a lot of issues, but despite all this I am very proud to be called South African.

For more info, contact me on: C: +27 (0) 68 029 8760 (Voice-Calls); C:  +27 (0) 78 675 1297 (WhatsApp) E: miranda@strangeconsulting.co.za AND Ora4117@gmail.com

Miranda Lusiba is the founding director of Strangé Consulting – a boutique PR agency specialising in communications, freelance writing, media relations, reputation management and media training.