Be your own saviour

Dec 19 2012 07:27
*Adriaan Bester
I CAN hear the sound of ballot boxes rumbling, supporters chanting for opposing candidates in Mangaung. Still, it all fades into a mild melody by the time I read about it on my multiple platforms of new and traditional media.

While I snigger at the clever comments from fellow citizens who share my interest in the unfolding story of our new/repolished set of leaders, like most other countrymen I keep calm. And carry on.

I do so by attending year-end bashes, taking train rides to the winelands, cycling on the promenade, walking in the park, occasionally dipping in the frosty Atlantic Ocean. 

My civic duty, for now, does not demand me to cast a vote into a box. The chosen loyal cadres of the inner circles have a job to do. When my time comes, I will sharpen my pencil and happily cross away.

Until then, the fittings that fill our lives are the comforts we return to in downtimes, fun times and uncertain times.

Around the campfire, friends speculate the outcome of cricket matches with the same passion with which they predict the flow of politics post Mangaung.

Some wait nervously for the Mayans’ apocalypse on the 21st of the month, while others rush to get their tax returns in on time, just in case the new world order carries on with our current tax system.

We do what we need to replenish our senses for a new year that is now too close to ignore.

You may argue this is the trapping of living worlds apart from the reality of one another. I suspect it is how we have developed our senses to pace ourselves.

When I return from my sojourn, these are the questions that will fill my resolutions chart: how do I activate my citizenship and rise to the next level? Is joining a political movement the only way of showing my intentions? Do I sign petitions – or better yet, launch them?

Or do you simply show your values and interpretations of life in all the things you have to do to get to the next day?

The Dinokeng Scenarios for South Africa’s possible futures; the foundations for the national development plan as spearheaded by Trevor Manual and his team; the ingredients of our constitution - all of these have in common the need for the ordinary man to be involved, and not to wait for the answer from a collective saviour.

It is easier to start with the same effort than you may think. Here are some tips I found helpful over the past year:

If you comment on this article, or any other you read online, start by putting your name to your views. Citizenship is not faceless. It shows its real face in the sharing of our individual opinions, testing them as they stack up to the expectations of the people.

If you feel like an adventure, why not stretch your comfort zone by a few inches? Hop on a train, rapid bus or bicycle. Choose one you’ve done the least of in your life. Choose a destination and see how people interact with each other, life and the macroeconomic dip. Get inspired by the creativity.

Find your local recycle depot and drop a few bags of plastics, glass and tins. Once your get into the swing of it, the rest becomes easy. This week, after a year of recycling, I launched the next phase: a compost dump for foodstuff in my garden.

While my footprint is shrinking, I’m hoping the shadow cast by my growing tree grows longer.

*Adriaan will keep one eye on Twitter as @aiBester while he dips a restful rusk in the festive cup. The views expressed are his own.


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