• South Africans accept bad news at face value, but they will question and interrogate good news.
  • It is extremely difficult to convince someone of something that is contrary to their belief.
  • South Africa tends to excel when our backs are against the wall. We love to prove the doubters wrong.
  • We are blessed to live  in times like these. I love that we are reminded every day about the real things in life and how we can live a life of real significance here.
  • The mainstream media don’t take us seriously because we are biased towards the positive. The irony is that they are biased towards the negative. At least we don’t hide our ‘agenda’ – we’re proud of it; we don’t pretend to be unbiased and balanced.
  • Even though we go to great lengths to acknowledge the challenges and problems in South Africa, we are still accused of being naive, out of touch with reality and ostriches with our heads in the sand.
  • It’s important to know of all the problems in the world. We need to know what is wrong if we are to fix it. But there’s no point in fixating on the problem, energy is much better spent concentrating on the solutions.
  • Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, said “He who controls the media controls the mind.” The media have immense power in South Africa, as elsewhere, to shape the national narrative and manipulate the national psyche. I don’t think that local media appreciate the power they have. If they do, then I believe they use this power irresponsibly, in order to sell more papers.
  • When we write about controversial subjects (race and crime in particular) many people seem to miss the point of the article. They are so angry, they miss the nuance, the thread or the tone.
  • Climate change is the single biggest threat to us. Nothing even comes close. Not even crime. It threatens our very existence, without prejudice. The time to act is yesterday.
  • There is tremendous power in positive thinking. There is opportunity in every crisis.
  • We South Africans have made a lot of mistakes over the past 15 years, but there is a lot that we have done well. I am proud of the contribution we have made in highlighting the progress and positive developments in South Africa.
  • We are accused of being ANC spin doctors or government sycophants whenever we offer any support of government or acknowledge government for their successes. In order to earn the right to criticise where necessary, one also has to give credit where it is due. Contrary to popular belief, the government is sometimes capable of doing things well!
  • Certain South Africans seem to want this country to fail, just so that they can say “see, I told you so!”
  • These same South Africans see any negative sign (load-shedding, for example), not as a bump in the road but as ‘proof’ of inexorable decline in South Africa. They are very vocal and critical when it happens, but very quiet and unapologetic when it proves to be temporary. (Whatever happened to the people that confidently declared that load-shedding was ‘just how it started in Zimbabwe’ or told us that South Africa would go to the dogs if Zuma became President?)
  • Only a small percentage of South Africans are negative, but they are very vocal, creating the perception that the nation is negative. Read the comments under news articles, the only people who seem to bother to write anything are the bigots, the complainers and the idiots.
  • We get so wrapped in the day-to-day challenges in South Africa that we forget to celebrate how far we have come – if you would have told someone in the mid-1980s that we would be were we are today, you would’ve been considered a lunatic
  • There are remarkable people working for this country. Through this job I’ve met some of the change agents that are working to make South Africa the country that we want it to be.

These people give me great hope that we can and will become the country of our dreams.

By Ian Macdonald