You know, I never realised how much our media coverage in South Africa is devoted to crime, and that a lot of it is rape or murder. Now that I've started working on the Shukumisa campaign and have Google alerts on the subject, it's kinda frightening to keep reading variations of the same story of violence and abuse.
The other day Fundi, the friend of a friend who's helping to organise me, asked me if the writing I do doesn't warp my view of life. Afterall, it can't be healthy to spend most of the morning reading, writing and/ publishing stories about violence, sexual abuse, cheating husbands and wives, HIV and AIDS, she said.
And no, I don't think the writing I do gives me a skewed view of life. Sometimes I do need distance, especially when I start a new project and I read a lot of research and stories and I'm confronted by the extent to which couples can find ways and means to hurt each other and how the legal system sometimes fails those victims of violence.
But deep down, I'm a romantic. I believe in the goodness of most people. This is a conscious decision that I have made to look for the good in people; not something I do because I'm stupid or naive or inexperienced or have been sheltered from the hardships of life, though God bless them, my family tried.
And when things do get overwhelming, sometimes I hang out with friends and family; people I have known and loved and trusted for years, and they remind me why I believe in people.
Or read a novel, where people face challenges and win, fall in love and actually manage to make the relationship work.
I also believe that we can all make a difference in some way; help our communities improve their lives; help make our communities better. When I see people volunteer to help their fellow-man, it reinforces my faith in people; reminds me that there are people who look for a thousand little ways to build and not to destroy.
[pic on the right: Kensington residents volunteer at St. Giles Association For The Disabled On Nelson Mandela Day. I was not able to make it, but I can still blog about it and commend those who took part that day.]