It has been an age-old tradition for news publications to publish spoofs or jokes on 1 April. This year, News24 won’t publish any false stories about Table Mountain becoming a casino resort or the Springboks changing their emblem to a hadada.
Instead, each journalist working at News24, myself included, was tasked to find one person, group or organisation who inspires you and to tell their stories.
Our country’s collective mood has been low for some time. Ten wasted years of corruption and a struggling global economy, aided by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have dampened our spirits. Add to that the ANC’s governance failures and the inability of the opposition to inspire; it is no surprise that we rank very high in global unhappiness polls.
But if the prophets of doom are correct – that we are on the precipice of implosion – who keeps things together? It’s them, the “moral underground”, as Professor Jonathan Jansen once referred to the aunties and uncles keeping South Africa afloat.
Today, we shift our focus to the goodness in South Africa. To people like Jade Seedat, Clinton Odayar, Singatha Mbobo and Zandile Ndhlovu, who wake up every day and think how they can use their skills and little resources to make South Africa a better, safer and more prosperous place.
There are thousands, no millions, more Jades, Clintons and Zandiles out there, making a difference every day. They are not politicians with large egos or celebrities with even larger social media accounts. They are heroes without capes, who do the right thing, every day, because they believe in the future of South Africa.
As South Africa’s largest news publisher, we have a responsibility to tell and highlight these stories of good people doing extraordinary things.
From tomorrow, we will continue to expose corruption, highlight service delivery failure, call out private sector greed and expose the gruesome crimes plaguing our nation. This remains our core role and responsibility as the nation’s watchdog.
But we will also endeavour to balance our coverage of everything that is wrong in our land with everything that is beautiful, precious and hopeful. We owe it to the nation to showcase the best in us.
Today, we salute every South African who lives a good life, stays true to the values of the Constitution, and uses their power and influence to make a tangible difference, small or big, in their network or community.
You are our true heroes.