When Samantha Jacobs penned a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, expressing her raw, broken feelings as she waved goodbye to yet more relatives emigrating from South Africa… for what they hope will be a better life abroad, she never expected it to become viral. She was just writing it down because she knew if you bury your heartbreak, it causes heartburn. And because she does want Cyril Ramaphosa to read her letter, and to initiate positive change, to eradicate corruption and create a country that’s safer for all its citizens to be proud to call home.
She never expected the massive response. Her sentiments resonated with thousands, who welcomed her voicing the huge sadness they’ve been feeling. The heartbreak of a nation. Some of her words (referencing the old Jan Smuts Airport, saying her family was leaving based on the colour of their skin) and her picture – featuring the old orange-tailed SAA aircraft – triggered accusations that she was being racist and wanting a return to Apartheid South Africa.
‘I don’t want apartheid back. I want the theft, violence, corruption and dishonesty to stop’
On Friday morning, Samantha set the record straight and reassured social media users she would never want to return to pre-1994. “I don’t want apartheid back. I just want the theft, violence, corruption and dishonesty to stop,” she says. (See the full letter further down.) Many people of all races and cultures have agreed – and disagreed – with her.
SAPeople follower Kgomotso Mothoa said:
“What hurts me most is people still think everything is about race even when facts are out there. Lot of people who would have built companies to employ the masses are now leaving for Europe. There’s absolutely no hope currently. I really appreciate all the Saffas who are here trying hard to take our country forward and those who are leaving, leaving was the only option they had. All the best. CRIME is the only fastest growing industry in our country.”
They’re not just moving to Europe.
Another SAPeople follower, Andile Gova, who lives in Washington (USA) said:
“As I’m getting older, I realize that my experiences and my convictions are not someone else’s. That’s why I refrain to act as Dr Phil on facebook. Now coming to the letter, as a black man, I realize that’s her experiences. As much as I don’t agree with some parts of the letter, that doesn’t take away the fact that, it’s her experiences.
‘She didn’t choose to be born white and I didn’t choose to be born black…’
“She didn’t choose to be born white and I didn’t choose to be born black. We both found ourselves in a situation we don’t have control over. All we have to do is to make the best of the situation. As a black man, I might push a little harder but trust me I will, my dark days will be history, and my next generation won’t experience them.
“There’s some truth in this letter as well. I remember 2008 telling my friends that in the next 10 years, South Africa will be worse than it was then. It doesn’t take a genius to know that stolen money is not coming back and it will leave a hole where it was supposed to go. America has its problems, but getting a job is not one of them, loadshedding is not one of them, the list goes on which I’m not going to get into.
“We were all so optimistic after ’94. Things started well, and the wheels fell off over the years. Right now, I can’t even tell you, the direction the country is taking. Thanks to Springboks and Banyana Banyana for keeping us relevant in the sports world.
‘The best way to fix a problem is to admit there’s one…’
“It doesn’t help to live in denial. The best way to fix a problem, is to admit there’s one. She wrote her experiences and I respect that. I don’t have to agree with it.”
Here, with Samantha’s permission, is the ‘Dear Cyril’ letter that went viral… followed by her update today:
𝑊𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑒, 𝐼’𝑚 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑙𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢. 𝐵𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒-𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑃𝑎𝑑 𝐼 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑖𝑡.
𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡’𝑠 𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑎𝑡 𝑂𝑅 𝑇𝑎𝑚𝑏𝑜 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝐽𝑎𝑛 𝑆𝑚𝑢𝑡𝑠. 𝐴𝑠 𝑎 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝐼 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤 𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑘 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑐ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑑𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑖𝑟 ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝𝑖𝑙𝑜𝑡𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑤 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑟. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑠 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑝 𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 uniforms. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑦 initials 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐼 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑦𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑦 𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑓𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑑𝑒.
𝐼 𝑑𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑒𝑛𝑗𝑜𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑂𝑅 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑚𝑏𝑜, 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑚 𝐼 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒, 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑎𝑥𝑖 𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑒𝑠 – 𝑢𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑜𝑙𝑡 𝑑𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠 (𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑡𝑜 𝑎 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛) 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑎 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑑𝑒𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑒. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑠𝑎𝑦 ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑠 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠: 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑏𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑟 𝑠𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑠. 𝑊𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑𝑏𝑦𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑛𝑜 𝑜𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑖𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒.
𝐵𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑠𝑎𝑓𝑒𝑡𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑛𝑖𝑒𝑐𝑒, 𝑎 𝑝𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦. 𝐻𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑢𝑠𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑒 𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐼 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑝 𝑖𝑛 𝐸𝑢𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑖𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚. 𝐵𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒 “𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑔𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑠” 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑡𝑎𝑥𝑒𝑠. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑙𝑜𝑦𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑒𝑠𝑛’𝑡 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑐𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠.
𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑧𝑒𝑛𝑠. 𝑆𝑜 𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟, 𝑎𝑛 𝐴𝑟𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑐ℎ𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑠𝑎𝑓𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝐵𝑒𝑙𝑔𝑖𝑢𝑚 𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑜𝑚 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑒 𝑒𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛, 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑠𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡, 𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑒𝑠𝑛’𝑡 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑠ℎ𝑢𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑡𝑤𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑒𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑎 𝑑𝑎𝑦.
𝐼𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎 𝑐𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒𝑠 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑒 𝑎 𝑓𝑖𝑙𝑒. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑎 𝑑𝑒𝑡𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑗𝑜𝑏. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠ℎ𝑢𝑡 𝑢𝑝, 𝑤𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑠, ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑎 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑑𝑒. 𝑁𝑜𝑡 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑤𝑒𝑖𝑟𝑑 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑗𝑎𝑐𝑘𝑒𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑘𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑎𝑏𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑓𝑖𝑎.
𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑠𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒, 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑈𝑚ℎ𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑎’𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑡𝑜𝑤𝑛𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑦. 𝐼 𝑤𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑢𝑒𝑙 𝑜𝑟 𝑝𝑎𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑙. 𝑆𝐴𝑁𝑃𝐴𝑅𝐾𝑆 𝑤𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑚𝑦 𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐾𝑟𝑢𝑔𝑒𝑟. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐸𝑈 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑝𝑒 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑔𝑜 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚.
𝐵𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑠 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟.
𝐼 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑏𝑢𝑦 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑎𝑠 𝑔𝑖𝑓𝑡𝑠. 𝐼𝑡 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑓𝑡 𝑔𝑢𝑦𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑚𝑒𝑡𝑟𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑘 𝑢𝑝, 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑒 (𝑤𝑜𝑤 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡!) 𝑏𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑎 𝑠𝑎𝑙𝑒.
𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 S𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑏𝑜𝑘𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐼 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑡𝑤𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑔 𝑏𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑑𝑒. 𝑃𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑒𝑎𝑚 𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒𝑛𝑐ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑙 𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑓 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎 “𝑏𝑜𝑚𝑏 𝑠𝑞𝑢𝑎𝑑” – 𝑙𝑒𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑦𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑦 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡. 𝐷𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑂𝑅 𝑇ℎ𝑎𝑚𝑏𝑜 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑐𝑎𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑠 – 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑟 𝑝𝑟𝑒 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑓𝑖𝑥𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑟 𝑟𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑙𝑢𝑔𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑠.
𝐼 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑛𝑖𝑒𝑐𝑒𝑠’ 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑘𝑓𝑢𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝐶𝑎𝑝𝑒 𝑇𝑜𝑤𝑛, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝐿𝑜𝑢𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑑, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑢𝑧𝑧 𝑜𝑓 𝐽𝑜𝑧𝑖𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝐾𝑍𝑁. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑠, 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑑, 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑒𝑠, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑡, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠, ℎ𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑑 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑠, 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑚𝑜𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑎𝑖 𝑠𝑚𝑜𝑘𝑒. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑎𝑟𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠.
𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑙𝑦, 𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑠, 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑢𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑠𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑔𝑜 𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑑𝑑𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑠𝑜 𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑙𝑒.
𝑊ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑐𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑜 𝑒𝑥𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒𝑙𝑓 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑎𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑠𝑜 𝑚𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑖𝑛 𝑏𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠. 𝐼 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑢𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑒𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑟 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒. 𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑓𝑜𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷, 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑘 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑚𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑑. 𝑀𝑦 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑓𝑎𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑎 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑟 𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑎 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡 𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑓𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑦, 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑚 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝑏𝑜𝑡ℎ.
𝑆𝑜 𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑣𝑦 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑚𝑦 𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑒𝑡𝑠 𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑒 𝑏𝑖𝑔 𝐸𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟’𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝐶ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑚𝑎𝑠’𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐼 𝑤𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛. 𝑌𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑦 𝑖𝑠 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑓𝑒𝑐𝑡 – 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑚𝑦 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑒𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑖𝑛 𝑖𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛. 𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑠𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑢𝑠.
𝑆𝑜 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑘𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑒 𝑐𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑠 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦.
𝐶𝑟𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦! – S Jacobs
While for many it resonated, for others the letter hurt. One of the many responses to Samantha’s letter was this from SAPeople follower Rebotile Daisy Emamer. She said: “Dear Samantha Jacobs! The airport which was once Jan Smuts is NOW OR Tambo!!! Get used to it.
“As a child I stood at the window, watch my granny go work very early in the morning to go raise another family’s children. Come home very late in the evening because of taxi which was far away from her beloved family.
“As I write this, one of the many stories she told, as she sat on a chair, with a sigh of tiredness drinking her 5 Roses tea with a dash of Condensed milk, of how the husband got so drunk at the braai, which was pretty often, would get so drunk that he would fall over the place, start screaming and shouting at his wife and children, including invited guests, and call my granny the “K” word; not only that but he would mess his pants, which were then left on the floor for my granny to pick up the next morning when she does the day’s laundry.
“Of course he would wake up regretting the night before and apologize to his lovely wife and kids, and my granny (would) get a plate of the left over braai meat from the night before as an apology.
“As much as you want to reminisce of all the bad and wrong things that are happening in “our beloved country”, unfortunately it does not only affect your precious family but ALL South Africans.
“Your Niece will be perfectly fine guaranteed, as she leaves SA to go back where her ancestors belonged. Where her skin colour will not be compromised even though the black girl has more on her resume to offer. She will continue to live her privileged life and forget all about where she came from. As she can just pack her bags and book a flight, choose her aisle, pick a window seat probably, to watch as the plane takes off into the clear blue skies.
“Don’t worry Umhlanga won’t even notice that you have left. How ironic of you to remember how “family sticks together “ where many were separated before 1994. Our ancestors were friendly welcoming people of a colour they have never seen before, which they were then shot at and stole what was theirs and turned them into slaves .
“We were made outsiders on our own land that has been ours for many years. They had to survive because against all odds they didn’t have a choice. At least you were taught to lie, which you are very good at now I’m sure. The only thing I remember about my grandfather was how his “bass” wouldn’t let them have water breaks after working in the sun all day.
“So it is with a heavy heart to let you know that we won’t miss you and your family. In fact it’s good riddance. Oh don’t worry, cry and wipe your tears when you’re done.
“Cry our beloved Country!
Everyone is hurting. And so those born one colour sometimes criticise those born another. If corruption and crime alone were tackled properly by the SA government, who knows what these passionate South Africans could accomplish together. Until then, as Rebotile told SAPeople, “these are conversations we still need to have”, as uncomfortable as they are. (She also admits that “I may have been a little disrespectful on some of my replies which I know my (late) granny wouldn’t be pleased with”.)
Samantha’s message today addressed some of what Rebotile raised:
“I wrote a letter to Cyril in a form of expressing my feelings. Experience tells me that keeping those in causes reflux.
“We have experienced real loss – having to say goodbye to those we love too soon puts things into perspective so when I say it’s hard to see my family go I have taken into account the real stuff in life.
“Our family is not perfect. We are loud, like things a certain way, we nag but we are enthusiasts. We are entrepreneurs who all have businesses, we uplift, support, look after staff, have good solid values, we encourage.
“They aren’t big businesses but just small, compliant, efforts that have been around for a very long time.
“We have been so blessed to have so many traditions in our family and to have that and members taken from you, not from choice – gets you down. I’m not even a parent so my letter is only written as an aunt – I can’t begin to know how my sister will manage.
“I never expected the post to go viral. I understand social media pretty well, but never did I imagine the views, shares and comments. Every hour it’s growing.
“I have been called an apartheid lover, a racist, I received really nasty messages, but 90% of people got what I was saying.
“Thanks for all the wonderful messages from around the world.
“In case they didn’t get it: I don’t want apartheid back. I just want the theft, violence, corruption and dishonesty to stop.
“I want the pride back, where we have a country to be proud of – we have so much to be naturally proud of even if we didn’t nothing to improve it but rather just stopped the degradation we would be ahead.
“I’m white, well I think more light blue with a bit of peach colour on the face. I’m an aunt who takes her job seriously. In my spare time I try make the world a better place by doing what I can.
“From this post I have had 3 requests to publish the letter to print (SAPeople included!), various online website requests, and a little radio station wants to speak with this crazy aunt.
“All from a letter on Facebook. That Cyril won’t read.
“And I think the lesson is that they can not silence us – say how you really feel and maybe, just maybe things will set into motion.
“Have a beautiful weekend – I have 4 very busy days ahead and unless I’m deported you won’t hear much from me.”
While we may not hear much from Samantha, she has at least re-ignited a conversation that must be had, and resolved.
Meanwhile for those considering moving abroad here are three (of many!) perspectives from SAPeople followers who responded to Samantha’s message:
Lily VJ says: “This is a nice letter for someone who has the privilege but I live in Belgium and the public transport is terrible and the healthcare is not free. Literally the cost of living is too high and it’s hard to find proper housing. The grass is not always greener…”
Yvonne M in Queensland, Australia says: “Thank you for your wonderful but very sad letter. There are so many of us South Africans out there in the world that can assimilate with what you have written. Our hearts will always be in Africa. But what our new adopted countries offer us, is priceless. To be safe, our children are free to play and have futures when educated. Health care when we old. Policing the criminals and keeping them away from law-abiding citizens. I could go on and on about a functioning society and country.”
And finally, Yoveen Jay Hanuman – who is Chairman of his Homeowners Association, President of his Toastmasters club and holds a senior role in his place of work – wrote: “I acknowledge your letter, respect the message and relate to the disappointments as a fellow South African, Samantha.
“I would, however, be doing myself and every other cautiously optimistic patriot, a disfavour if I did not provide a difficult perspective to swallow.
“Attempting to change the public sector is simply a waste of time.
“The only way forward is to turn our attention, both emotionally and financially towards the private sector, social enterprises and community-based initiatives.
“Instead of promoting the onslaught of negativity, each of us can start by firstly being more aware of what we expose ourselves to (ignoring the news is a great starting point), speaking about solutions and encouraging collaboration between small groups of people (friends, family, colleagues, neighbours) to bring about minor waves of positive change.
Stop being a dead fish and going with the flow.
“It’s easier to jump on the bandwagon and sit comfortably in our homes (reading this comment) and complain about things around you not changing when you yourself don’t participate, take on leadership roles or make excuses like you’re too busy, or you just don’t know what to do?!
“If you have access to a phone and can read this, you have the power to choose to find out what you can do! If you’re tired of the situation, as we all are, stop singing the same tune and do something about it in your community or workplace!”
If you have a story to tell, about your life or memories in South Africa, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org