By Howard Feldman
I am well aware that the official start to spring is 1 September. That, however, didn’t stop me from declaring 1 August as the “New Spring” on my morning radio show. I assumed that listeners would get behind the concept and not only embrace the fact that the sun is shining, that there are blossoms on some early adopting trees and that despite the early winter that the EFF seems determine to usher in, there are many reasons to bask in the warmth of South Africa’s rays.
They hated the idea.
It made them angry, slightly abusive, and it did so to a point beyond eloquence. In no time at all the SMS line became a cacophony of capital letters, exclamation marks and unmannerly comments. It seemed to frustrate them more than land expropriation without compensation did.
Nothing I said could convince them to re-examine a truth that they felt comfortable with. They would not re write the lessons of their questionable past and they would not open this up to debate. September 1 is spring and that was that.
So, I tried an alternative track, “1 September is a colonial construct,” I suggested, tentatively at first and then more confidently as I warmed up to the idea. “It is based on a European notion that forces us to conform to a Euro centric calendar not of our making. This is Africa!” I suggested, “it’s time we take back our weather and give it to the month that was disposed!” I was a heart-beat away from playing either Shakira or even Toto’s Africa but at that moment I felt it might have been too much for them to bare.
And so, I was forced to concede failure. 1 August might be spring for me, but no one else was buying what I was selling. No one was picking up what I was putting down. August, I realised, would never see the spring.
We are often told that there are those who see the glass as either half full, half empty or even refillable. There are those who determine the weather as being partly cloudy and there are those who see it as partly sunny. Those who love the power of the thunder and those who fear it. Those who dance in the rain and those who hide from it. There are those who see the infinite possibility of what South Africa has to offer and those who see only the potholes on the road in front of them.
My interaction with my listeners this morning was fascinating to me. And somewhat perplexing. In the few hours that followed my show I grappled with the question of why there was such a tremendous resistance to embracing something positive and yet inconsequential? Why would they not have chosen to rejoice in the sunshine along with me? I wondered if it wasn’t a reflection of the insecurity that South Africans are feeling and an illustration of the fear that at moment anything that they might have counted on could be changed.
Like land ownership.
I wondered if the anger wasn’t displaced and if it was more of a reaction to the other changes that they might fear in the country, but that they can do little about.
Another possibility is that we are more comfortable in the “Winter”. That maybe it is easier to be negative and be to a victim of the cold than to embrace the sun and be deprived of the excuse. Perhaps it is easier to complain than to praise and maybe we have become accustomed to that. Maybe spring is a bit scary, and so it is better to delay it’s arrival as long as possible.
Either that or I just irritated them.
I suspect that there is a winter lover in all of us. I suspect that we fear change and that we are a little petrified to have no excuse for our negativity. Either way, I intend to celebrate the glorious day that is August 1 in Johannesburg, and invite anyone who is brave enough, to join me.
ABOUT Howard Feldman
Howard Feldman is one of South Africa’s leading entrepreneurs. His experience is global and extensive, spanning more than 20 years of working as a businessman, philanthropist and social commentator. Feldman was the chairperson of the Board of the South African Jewish Report, the only weekly Jewish newspaper in Africa, and he is a global keynote speaker, business strategist, author and morning drive show host. Regularly published in local and global publications, Feldman provides insights into strategic thinking, motivation, facilitating solutions and addressing organisational challenges.
Feldman has used his experience and innate understanding of markets and business to also take his career into the fields of writing and radio. He is the author of two successful books – Carry on Baggage and Tightrope: Musings of Circus South Africa – and is the Morning Mayhem host on ChaiFM from 6am-9am, Mondays to Fridays.
With this vast repertoire of skills and talent, Feldman is committed to providing individuals and organisations with the tools they need to thrive within a mercurial and challenging business world. His own life experience has allowed him to recognise the value of people and relationships without compromising on the energy of entrepreneurship and career growth. Feldman delivers thoughtful, humorous and insightful commentary that organisations can use to unravel complexities and unlock talent and potential. Thanks to his experience working across various markets, the legal profession and commodities markets to name a few, his skills lie in his ability to challenge, educate and engage.
For more information go to http://www.howardfeldman.co.za/