Kim Stephens, a Capetown citizen, wrote an open letter to South African president Jacob Zuma. In the letter, she highlighted all the social ills taking place in South Africa: poor education, poverty, and drug abuse, among others, and her letter has gone viral with over 17,400 likes.
As reported in the Times, Stephens said she was overwhelmed by the response to her letter and the messages she received from around South Africa.
"The messages I've received from around SA have blown me away. We're beautiful... the citizens of this crazy land. We are beautiful‚ and hopeful‚ and strong. So strong. I am expecting it all to simmer down soon. But that doesn't mean we must stop talking and listening. Hear each other‚ help each other. Learn more about the communities around you‚ and let go of the prejudices that hold you back; that hold us back."
Stephens said that the responses have been largely positive, with about 99 percent of the comments being positive, and she was receiving one new friend request about every two minutes. Recognizing her privilege, she said the post was in response for the need for South Africa to change.
"I didn't think that post would gain such momentum…I am passionately pro SA and all its beauty‚ diversity‚ and complexities. To the few that have messaged me to say that I am posting from a privileged perspective - I am‚ you're right. I am very privileged compared to the vast majority of South Africans. That is what moves me to want to see change. I am also passionate about understanding our divides‚ and finding ways to bring us all closer together. United we thrive. Be cognicent of your past‚ and positive about your future. Give back‚ uplift and listen. Mostly‚ listen."
The Times printed the full text of the letter and linked to her Facebook page. In the letter, Stephens encouraged Zuma to run and see what South Africa was really like now beyond his privileged existence.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, murder is at an all-time high in South Africa while crime continues to rise. Although the number of rapes reported is down, Democratic Alliance member Diane Kohler Barnard said she believes that's because victims no longer trust the police. The economy also continues to decline; the growth rate for South Africa is currently only 2 percent and the unemployment rate is approximately 34.9 percent. The African National Congress, led by President Jacob Zuma, has been in charge since the country left behind the apartheid system in 1994.
In a story reported in IOL News, a private initiative of concerned citizens put up a sign in Capetown that said "Zuma Must Fall." The group said that although the sign was put up to start the conversation and focus on the lack of leadership in South Africa, it has been largely interpreted as racist. The sign, which was erected on the block of Kloof Street in Cape Town's CBD, has sparked debate about racism and free speech. It was later torn down by African National Congress (ANC) supporters.
The South Africa flag was erected in the sign's place short after, and the city council said they had referred the matter for prosecution as the sign failed to meet regulations on size, and the company that erected the sign, Independent Outdoor Media, failed to seek the necessary permits from authorities.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]