New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-07-17 11:19:00 –
On July 4th, a friend from South Africa sent me a message asking if he could help me join the America’s Got Talent.
A few days later, their message suddenly changed. I didn’t realize what was happening there, so I thought they were referring to the COVID-19 issue. I knew very little, riots and looters were tearing their area. Anarchy spread throughout their area like a wildfire. They weren’t asking for money — they had nothing to buy. Instead, they were asking someone to take care of them — asking for as much help as possible.
A long time ago, a friend told me: You don’t have to try to solve every problem. “
She was right.
But at other times, even when I don’t know what to do or how to help, I believe it’s my responsibility to take care of it — and not trying to help is moral. Is wrong.
On Thursday, I received the following message from one of my South African friends: “It’s safe for now, but I think hunger is the worst enemy,” he said.
He is not exaggerating.
Since their Mayday message began to arrive, I’ve learned how dire the situation in South Africa — especially in my friend’s city of Durban.
In 2017, I met a South African performance group at a storytelling festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. For the past four years, I’ve seen their life trajectory fluctuate like a child on a trampoline.
I met them while they were riding high.
From a rural town on the outskirts of Durban, a coastal city in South Africa, they set out on a full-pay trip to Scotland to perform at the festival. They went home and their stars continued to rise.
After that, COVID was a hit.
They couldn’t do it — it meant that all the sources of money and support for them and their families were depleted.
Many times since I met, I have done what I can to help the group. We keep in touch at least monthly, if not weekly. I learned about their lives in South Africa — I learned a lot about the basic levels of hunger they are accustomed to. I remember the surprise of their abundant food in Scotland. The pandemic has brought them back to an era before almost constant hunger.
Still, I knew my American friends and couldn’t support them through a pandemic. So I suggested that they start a garden to grow food. Some friends put in chips and the group was able to start growing their garden almost a year ago.
Since then, they have eaten many meals from homegrown vegetables. At this point, they are grateful for the smaller garden than ever, but due to the limited amount of vegetables, it is not enough to deal with the catastrophic problem at hand.
Stores and grocery stores have been looted in the last 10 days. Many buildings were burnt down and / or destroyed. The shipping company has ceased operations at the port of Durban. If you’re paying attention, you might have seen a mother drop her two-year-old baby from the roof of a burning building onto a crowd of people who caught a child.
If you’re wondering what brought this crisis to your mind, here’s a bit of context: On July 7, former South African President Jacob Zuma was 15 on contempt of court following his innocence. He voluntarily surrendered to police after being sentenced to a month’s sentence. In May, he acquitted 16 cases of corruption, extortion, fraud, and money laundering, and accepted a total of 783 illegal payments. ..
Shortly thereafter, things in Durban began to heat up. Durban is part of KwaZulu-Natal’s Zuma hometown, where most violence and looting are concentrated.
However, there is no good reason for this violence and destruction. Before understanding what was happening, I asked a young friend about the garden. In the midst of bedlam, he took a short video of cabbage and spinach growing and sent it to me.
On Wednesday, I posted on social media about the situation in Durban. Since then, friends of friends have begun to connect with boot-on-the-ground organizations in South Africa and its suburbs. The organization is trying to help, but the situation is still at stake and the solution is unclear.
But this is what I know — sometimes the answer is not money. Sometimes the answer is about compassion. Give this to anyone you care about. I have a contact that someone can help me with.
Chaos in South Africa: Sometimes the answer lies in listening and caring | Jan Risher Source link Chaos in South Africa: Sometimes the answer lies in listening and caring | Jan Risher