Sunél's Blog | Rather than wait, create

Sunél Veldtman, | 31 May 2024

By the time you read this blog, South Africans will have voted. Likely, the era of coalition politics is now cemented. Our unhappy previous experience with coalitions will leave voters frustrated at best, perhaps even despondent.

Despite this prospect, we have seen a surprising uptick in economic activity. There are many reasons for this, one being that maybe South Africans have finally come to terms with the messiness of our political system.  Perhaps we are starting to realise that we can no longer wait for politicians to make up their minds before we move on with our lives. We cannot wait to have a good life until the news flow turns positive, or the potholes disappear. We must create a good life amidst all the chaos and challenges. It is possible.

This past weekend, I travelled through the Overberg with a group of phenomenal women and saw firsthand what it looked like when people decided to create such a life. On a farm outside Stanford, I stood in awe before expansive gardens, beautifully curated accommodation, and livestock farming that was all created from scratch and formed part of a modern, yet nostalgic experience.

 Yes, in the Western Cape political stability has helped, but on a recent trip to Gqberha, I noticed several businesses sprung from dreams, crafted by a unique brand of local creativity. These businesses were established by people who have, with great risk, fashioned something into being despite the decay of the local government surrounding them.

Creating a good life, however, is not just about risking all while facing headwinds. It doesn’t even need to involve business or work. My weekend away with this diverse group of women, some of whom I only met on this trip, proved to me again that meaningful conversation over lingering, delicious meals can foster a sense of well-being that has little to do with the political state. Yes, money helps, but those same elements can be brought together over a simple meal. It’s about appreciation for the community.

It’s also about seeking out beauty, especially immersive opportunities in nature.  Long walks along the beach whilst surrounded by the mountains, or just sitting out in the sunshine on a bench.

It’s about the intention of having a good time and valuing time together. It’s about appreciating health, and ultimately the privilege of being alive.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to come naturally to most of us. It takes effort and sometimes guts, to invite a bunch of different people together, go on a nature walk with strangers, or to seek out a new community. These things are free, but they require a conscious choice. The choice to live a good life.

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Kind regards,