Over the past week, we have watched in anguish as some parts of our country experienced extreme levels of lawlessness.
It’s a scary time in South Africa. For us all. We are all angry, scared, heartbroken, feeling helpless, almost numb and at a loss for words.
Our ideal cannot end here and it shouldn’t.
As we commemorated our beloved Madiba’s birthday this past weekend, it is a time for all of us to reflect on his legacy. This will, hopefully, help our country get through this difficult challenge we are facing by recommitting ourselves to the ideals of our democracy.
Corporate South Africa, a host of media partners and organisations representing business interests are joining forces. They will rally behind the launch of a social movement to condemn the events of the past week. To show the world that we are not giving in to hatred and cannot be plagued by fear, raged by anger and gripped by violence.
“You will note #ThisIsNotUs and #ThisIsUs is not Absa-branded, but an effort to rally ordinary South Africans and other corporate and business partners to join the movement. To take a stand against the violence and hatred of the past week and share our stories of hope and reconciliation and unity,” says David Wingfield, head of marketing of the Absa Group.
Using #ThisIsNotUs and #ThisIsUs, we are calling on all South Africans to show the world that hate cannot be replaced with hate and that retaliation will not put an end to violence.
“While the situation seems dire, we dare not lose hope. The idea of starting this movement was born from a conversation we had earlier this week with our advertising agency, Grid Worldwide. We agreed that something had to be done. This is the spirit of Africanacity, our commitment to helping people find a way to get things done,” notes Wingfield.
“As an organisation that is part of the fabric of our society, and which cares deeply for our collective future, we are standing up and uniting with many of our peers in saying #ThisIsNotUs. Today we begin another long walk to rebuild our country, and all South Africans have a role to play to bring an end to this hatred, violence and chaos.”
The month of July, and Mandela Day on the 18th of July, is a time to observe the legacy of Madiba. He never forgot the importance of serving and helping others to “create a better world for all who live in it”.
All South Africans are called upon to join the movement and use #ThisIsNotUs to show the world that we condemn the ugliness, hatred and fear. It is not who we are.
In addition, South Africans are also called upon to use #ThisIsUs to get behind the growing number of communities and brave individuals who are stepping up, who are making a difference, who are reaching out, and getting involved in a positive way.
“During the past week we have seen scores of volunteer groups who have set up cleaning efforts in looted shopping malls and communities and donations in the form of money, transport and food to those affected. Let’s get those stories out there, use #ThisIsUs when you witness acts to rebuild our country in your community,” Wingfield explains.
“We need you to get the message out there, and the social media collateral was created for all South Africans to use and share.”