Sunél’s Blog | Sit dit af, sit dit af! (Switch it off, switch it off!)

Sunél Veldtman, | 20 December 2019

When Apartheid was at its height, Johannes Kerkorrel created the protest song, Sit dit af, sit dit af! against State propaganda at the time. It’s been ringing in my ears for a long time. It’s how I feel about news these days. The news media has become an endless source of negative noise. Almost every time I tune in, I become enraged at the sensationalist propaganda and the exploitation of news for materialistic gain. Bad news is used to prosper global media companies at the expense of the peace of mind of ordinary people, most whom have no way of fact checking or creating perspective.

The news everywhere around the world now makes us believe that we live in polarised and hateful societies. If you live on social media, this is what your reality is. Vitriolic, racist conversations cascade/retch down Twitter feeds or Facebook posts. We are filled with fear about corruption and crime and the impending implosion of the world as we know it. Endless speculation about the inept public protector or our wicked politicians spill over into our dinner table conversations from our devices and TV screens.

I see my retired clients waiting in anguish for their lives to be engulfed by the bad news. The fixation on bad news blinds us to the good around us and the goodness in our own lives. The unrelenting bad news (fake or real) robs us from experiencing the truth of our own lives.

When we give space to our own experience of everyday life, our reality suddenly becomes very different. We can become more aware of the very real, amazing humans in our country.  We can feel the genuine love and warmth of our cities and towns. Whenever I travel, it always amazes me that people cannot mention South African without mentioning the warmth of our people.

This is what the Springbok World Cup Win and #I’m staying has done in South Africa – point to the existence of the good in our country. We are all aware of the threats and challenges of our country.

When we pay as much attention to the goodness in our lives and tune down the perceived or real threats out there, it helps us to create perspective. So, over the coming holidays, when we will gather with family or friends, why not heed the call of Johannes Kerkorrel. Sit dit af, sit dit af!

Switch off the news, even if only for the holidays, and then open your eyes. You may experience a gloriously good world.

Sit it af, sit dit af! Listen to the song and hopefully the refrain will remind you to switch off.