Ten reasons South Africa doesn’t suck right now – June 2017 edition

National Flag of South Africa On a Brick Wall

So we’re more than halfway through 2017, and the country is still as dramatic as ever. Fires all over the Cape, more Gupta nonsense, the Proteas men disappointing at the Champions Trophy, and the cold, are all getting a bit much. It’s a good thing we still have some happy news to smile about. Here are ten reasons South Africa didn’t suck that much in June.

1. The #MG200Young South Africans list is out, and it is black and brilliant!

The Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans continues to show us that South Africa has truly revolutionary youth who are making a difference every day. This year, the list featured the radical Wanelisa Xaba, Naledi Chirwa, Mohale Mashigo and Sibu Mpanza, and we’re glad to see so many brilliant black South Africans getting recognised for their contribution to the changing face of the country.

2. Wayde van Niekerk made South Africa proud again!

This month, Wayde van Niekerk broke the World Record for the little-run 300m, previously held by Michael Johnson for 17 years. Van Niekerk took 0.04 seconds off of Johnson’s record, making it in 30.81 seconds. Way to represent our country! Our Wayde is the first person in the world to go sub-10 for 100m, sub-20 for 200m, sub-31 for 300m and sub-44 for 400m. While some might be calling him the next Usain Bolt, South Africa knows him as the one and only Wayde van Niekerk.

3. Durban Pride happened, and it was glorious!

During International Pride Month, Durban is the only South African city to hold its own march. The theme for 2017 was Hands off My Body! Hands off My rights! The march has been an important event for South Africa, where queer bodies can celebrate their lives and loves with others in their community, in an open and inclusive space.

4. South Africa’s firefighters really showed up for us

When the terrifying fires over the Western Cape destroyed homes and threatened lives, firefighters and volunteers from all over the country stepped in to help our fellow South Africans, and it was beautiful. This group hopped over to OR Tambo International Airport to get to George and help douse the flames. Our brave firefighters deserve everything for risking their lives to save lives.

5. Big business did the things!

Speaking of South Africans standing up to help each other, our favourite bulk-shopping corporation Makro donated food, water, clothing and other necessities to the victims of the fires in the Western Cape. Other private organisations came through, including a R10 million donation from each of the three of the biggest banks – Standard Bank, FNB and ABSA. Trucks of donated items and supplies were sent around the province to assist in distributing essentials to the people suffering from these losses. Way to go, South Africa!

6. Egg Films’ Sunu became the sixth South African director to win gold at Cannes Lions

At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world’s most prestigious advertising awards, South African-based filmmaker Sunu Gonera took home Gold, two Silvers and Bronze in the Entertainment, Entertainment for Music and Media categories. What a win for South African media.

7. The Proteas Women are doing all the things at the Cricket World Cup

The International Cricket’s Council Women’s World Cup kicked off on 24 June, and the Proteas Women’s Team beat Pakistan and the West Indies so far. Women excelling at sport makes us so happy. The team is definitely off to a good start and we’re behind them all the way to bring home the trophy!

8. Arts Fest has kicked off and it is lit!

The annual National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown is the largest arts festival on the African continent. Every year, thousands of people from around the world travel to the little town to experience all the wonders of art, theatre and music. This year’s theme is “disruption”, alluding to the events of the past two years at the university currently known as Rhodes, and it promises to be an intellectually and emotionally stimulation few days. South African art and artists are fantastic and they need to be appreciated.

9. Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr both happened, and they were joyous

While Muslims around the world experienced a lot of sorrow and fear this Ramadan, South African Muslims were blessed to have had the shortest number of hours to fast (only 11!) as well as a peaceful and spiritually uplifting month. Eid fell on 26 June, after the traditional ‘maankykers’ eventually spotted the moon, and it was a beautiful day of love and worship for all. Did you score a ‘barakatjie’ of Eid biscuits from your colleagues?

Ramadaan Day 24 – The Month of The Quran Ramadaan is known as the month of Quran, as this is the month in which Muslims believe the Quran, the Holy Book, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. It is common for Muslim kids in South africa to learn how to read Quran in the Arabic script at Madrasa (post school afternoon religious school). Some children go onto memorise the Holy Book. Muslims believe that memorisation of the Quran has ensured that it has remained unchanged since its revealation. Those who memorise the 6236 verses of the Holy Book are known as ‘Hafez’ or ‘Hafeza’ (upholders of the book) and are able to lead the Tarawih prayer (additional late night Ramadaan prayer). This intense memorisation can take years and requires both dedication and discipline. Picture: Children from a Madrasa in Parkwood, Cape Town celebrate peers who have completed reading the Quran, with a song. #ramadaan #madrasa #capetown #asouthafricanramadaan #Quran #themonthofQuran

A post shared by The Daily Vox (@thedailyvox) on

10. Goodwill and golden hearts seem to flourish in South Africa

A beautiful story this month is recently-appointed Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, and the man who helped him and his family eat with a monthly gift of groceries for three years. Suleman Bux, a grocer from KwaZulu-Natal, helped Zondo out while he studied for his degree by keeping the family fed. When Zondo returned years later to pay him back, all Bux wanted was for him to “pay it forward” by helping others. A truly remarkable act of human kindness that is needed more than ever in the country we live in.

Additional reporting by Aaisha Dadi Patel

Featured image via Flickr