Hope and being positive were key concepts in South Africa’s emancipation from apartheid. However, we have seen a general shift to a declinist mindset in South Africans. Restoring our country back to a state of hopefulness could help us regain faith in our country’s progression.
Hope tends to ebb whenever faced with uncertainty. Of recent the only thing that seems certain is uncertainty. As a country we have faced a lot of challenges and learned to remain hopeful through it all, but recently there is a gradual decline in South Africans’ hope for the future. This begs the question, what is our government doing for us not to lose this hope? Lorenzo Davids, executive director of The Justice Fund and The Development Impact Fund, described the current state of our country.
“Basic infrastructure is collapsing at municipal levels. We have municipalities without clean water, without a health infrastructure, with failing sanitation systems, so you have this cascading boxes of infrastructure collapse that is taking place. We can’t sit from an office where we see smart buildings and a nice desk and an IT system that works and not realise that we are of the few. That many in the country exist with the collapsing infrastructure as the reality. So, the no hope scenario is a growing scenario. It is the normal scenario in the country. Those of us who have hope, have hope because we have resources, we have our own.”
Hope through crisis
In the times we live in, crises have become inevitable. We need to restore the hope our country once had, where we can have confidence in the way we as a country handle a crisis. In the past three years we have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, rioting, and recently flooding, it seems in all instances it has added to the loss of faith.
This doesn’t have to be the case though, if we work together and address our problems, we can reach a point of confidence and hope in our government and ourselves as a country. Davids outlines the three changes in which we can bring back a hopeful attitude.
“There must be good policy setting. We still have a disastrous policy mechanism. We have all the tools to be good at policy setting but we are poor at policy setting and so there isn’t consistency. I think, what gives any person security is when the message is consistent … Good policy setting, and good governance are twins in what creates a successful state because [when] those two are absent you’re beginning to border on a completely failed state. The first sign of a failed state is that the governance people don’t know that their policies are not working. We need to be able to get down to grassroots level and translate what we believe is necessary for our country in how we govern our country. And that’s missing. You begin to lose the good will of the people and that is one of the issues here. The South African state, the [South] African government, its parliament has lost the good will of the people.”
For us remain hopeful when faced with crises we can firstly identify someone as a beacon of hope, someone we can trust in to give hope. Focus on the things that are going well rather than the negatives. Share how you feel and your hopes with someone you trust and support, this allows you to create the sense of community and togetherness. Lastly, reflect on the past and how far we have come despite challenges past.
As individuals in this country, it is up to us to remain hopeful. As South Africans, we know what it means to be resilient. We should advocate for hopefulness and allow ourselves to become beacons of hope for each other. Ashraf Garda in conversation with Lorenzo Davids.