South Africa: We Need to Go Beyond #Imstaying in This Gigantic Laboratory Called South Africa

opinion

To simply declare 'I'm staying' is not in itself a meaningful moral commitment (even if it's entirely sincere). What is needed is a more comprehensive pledge embodying a thought-through commitment to help build a better society.

To its loyalists, #ImStaying - the popular Facebook group - is the best thing to happen to the country in ages; a social movement that is, at once, involving, inclusive and inspiring. To its progressive detractors, on the other hand, it's little more than mass therapy for the privileged; an exercise in self-affirmation that fails to engage with the harsh realities of majority life.

The censoriousness and cynicism that comes from the arch left, reflexively, is a singular barrier to our collective well-being; bad for investment, bad for morale, bad all round. It doesn't follow, though, that their criticism in this case is without foundation. To the contrary, it highlights the fact that to simply declare "I'm staying" is not in itself a meaningful moral commitment (even if it's entirely sincere). What is needed, especially from the decently resourced, is a more comprehensive pledge than that; embodying not just a present intention to resist the lures of London but a thought-through commitment to help...

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