Are you ready to improve your world?
We are all responding to lockdown in different ways.
But some people are really using this time well, as they have the means and the capacity. So i wanted to share a few ideas for you to consider [and pass on – please consider hitting SHARE and inviting your people to join in as well]. Some you might already be doing, but maybe there is something here for you to jump on or to share with specific friends who might be interested or who it may be more relevant for.
Five Ways for you to do Lockdown well
#1 Join or Connect with your local CAN
At least three Provinces [W Cape, E Cap Gauteng] have introduced the Community Action Network [CAN] system. Volunteers from a suburb connect with each other – often around the provision of food, meals or vouchers – and work together to make a positive difference. It has been incredible to hear of so many amazing projects and work that different CAN groups around the country have been doing. Many of the wealthier CANs have also partnered up with a CAN from a less well-resourced area to form mutually beneficial groups.
Many of these tend to have a small number of volunteers doing a whole lot of the work and every extra person will be appreciated. There is often space to do this with your teenage kids as well so see it as a deeper form of community education and involvement.
You can get connected via the SA CAN page on Facebook over here.
#2 Watch or Share the Character Stories for Children videos with your Children
A dedicated group of Improv actors and other story-tellers have put together more than 60 stories [mostly in English with a handful in isiXhosa and Afrikaans] on a YouTube channel called Character Stories for Children. There are fairy-tales and stories about animals and cooking stories and even some songs and poems. Stories that have been completely made up and continue for ten episodes ending with a cliff-hanger each time for a fresh new character to pick up and continue the next week.
You can read more about these stories over here as well as find links to some of the more popular ones. For those of you who have watched these stories, why not recommend the channel or share this blog post with your friends who have children. For those who are yet to discover the channel there is a nice wealth of growing stories waiting to be discovered.
#3. For white people, do some work at educating yourself.
There has been a lot of movement lately, especially in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder in America, of white people around the world starting to wake up to some of the race realities around them.
There are a lot of resources available and so if this is you – or even someone you know – you can start by watching these five videos which will give you a lot of insight. i have also started converting my 50 ideas for white people asking ‘But what can I do?’ into videos and the first five of those are available, with new ones dropping regularly.
Again, if this is not for you, it will definitely be for someone you know and so commit to sharing the resources on your social media pages and inviting people you know who are ready for them to make the time to start watching. Invite your friends to have conversations with you around these things. Journey together!
#4 Men, we need to seriously be working in our spaces.
Violence to women and children in South Africa and around the world is absolutely disturbing. At home, it feels completely out of control.
So many people seem to be convinced it is “Not my friends” and so it is always being perpetuated by these invisible people no-one knows. The men treating women so disgustingly must be someone’s friends. Maybe we have to just keep talking to men about it until we finally reach them.
An excellent resource comes from my friend Siphokazi Jonas and her play #WeAreDyingHere is available for another week online for just R50.
#WeAreDyingHere uses poetry, music, and theatre to grapple with and speak back to the prevalence of GBV in South Africa. It is a raw, honest, and cathartic piece which has been making a real impact on our audiences.
If you have not yet heard, the show will be running online until 13 July!
Give this a watch. If you are a woman reading this, as i think most of you are, then do what you get to get your men friends and family members to commit to watching this. It really is a powerful presentation and will hopefully unlock things and start conversations but we need to get people watching.
Get your tickets over here.
#5 Take the Pandemic Seriously
Perhaps the most important thing we can all do is to Stay At Home! Renew our commitment to not being part of the spreading of the disease.
It made a lot of sense when people were complaining about jobs and the economy and i am convinced we can do most of that stuff as safely as possible and not spread things around. But it’s seeing hundreds of people surfing illegally at Muizenberg the other day or watching restaurants filled with people sitting together not wearing masks or people in lines with close contact at coffee shops that is making me furious.
Our numbers are getting out of control and it feels like so many people are just not taking it seriously. Absolutely only directing this at those of us who live in relative comfort and have the ability to isolate at home without it feeling like too much of a punishment. But i do think it is time for us to #NotOnOurWatch this behaviour from our friends and relatives and let them know it is not okay when they are flaunting the rules simply for comfort or entertainment.
There are a lot of things on all of our minds right now. The world is a terribly difficult place to be. But while we are here and figuring out what the present new normal looks like, let’s be doing what we can to make a difference:
Join or connect with your local CAN and see how you can get involved
Show your kids Character Stories for Children videos or share the links with other parents of young children.
White people – work on educating yourselves and trying to understand some of the concepts that might seem difficult. As well as finding and doing the practical action steps that have been made available to you. Spend some time working through this list in the meantime.
Men – work on educating yourselves and start having the conversations with your men friends. Also take advantage of the resources that have been made available and spend some time working through this list of practical suggestions.
Stay at home. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Do what you can do to spread the message among your people. We have to take this thing as seriously as we are able.
Hope you found this helpful and please do hit the SHARE button because the more people who start doing these things, the better the world becomes. What are some of the other things you have been doing to improve your world during this time?