Thursday, 17 November 2011

Festive Season: 2011 - Birth of a New South African Tradition

Original Writer Anonymous - Adapted By Vivienne Schultz

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide South Africans with monstrous piles of cheaply-produced goods; merchandise that’s been produced at the expense of South African labour (not to mention the Earth’s resources, accompanied by huge amounts of pollution). This year will be different. This year South Africans will give the gift of genuine concern for other South Africans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift-giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by South African hands.

Yes there is! It's time to think “outside the box,” people! Who says a gift needs to fit into a Chinese-made box, wrapped in Chinese-produced wrapping paper, taped with Chinese tape, draped with a Chinese ribbon and a Chinese gift tag?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut – right? How about a gift certificate from your local South African hair salon or barber?  What about gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car serviced? How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the South African working guy? Small, South African-owned shops and car washers would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. Are you one of those extravagant givers? Fine!  Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway paved, or the lawn mowed for the summer, or games at the local golf course.

Let’s watch what labels we buy!
There are a trezillion owner-run restaurants - all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about half a dozen breakfasts at the locally-run restaurant? Remember, folks, this isn't about big national chains - this is about supporting your home town South Africans with their financial-lives-on-the-line to keep their doors open.

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for Mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. Or, a gift voucher for a pedicure/manicure/facial at your local beauty salon. Or, you could give of your time to the elderly and offer a foot massage or a manicure or do some shopping for them? Hand them a card with what you can offer.

this is the new South African culture!
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. OK, you were looking for something more personal? Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves; they make jewellery, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Contact a local handyman to do something special for someone who’s been wanting those pictures hung up or that paint job sorted out.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave your waiter/waitress a nice tip. How about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre? Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? If you have that much money to burn, rather sub contract Amajobjob crafters and artisans (x beggars) to produce you something local or utilise the sprucing sisters.

You see, this season shouldn’t be about draining South African pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about our precious country, encouraging South African small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other South Africans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

You could also give our recent book Dependency to Dignity. 2011 Schultz V, Buys A. Order from