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Age makes no difference


This advice isn’t vague, cryptic, poetic, symbolic, ironic or metaphoric in any way. In fact, it’s quite simple and straightforward

Picture: Xinhua(mcg)

While it would always be encouraged to accept what you read on social media with a pinch of salt, there is a five-word quote that has been doing the rounds on Facebook for some time, that cannot be taken literally enough.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of sentimental slush that half the population feel obligated to share with the half that wish they hadn’t, this statement isn’t enclosed in inverted commas, followed by either a biblical reference or the name of an individual who may or may not have ever uttered the phrase.

This advice isn’t vague, cryptic, poetic, symbolic, ironic or metaphoric in any way. In fact, it’s quite simple and straightforward.

However, as easy as this suggestion is to understand, it is all but impossible to apply in a scenario where public opinion determines our role models.

So, pretty please people, take these words to heart and “Stop making stupid people famous”.

Apart from the fact that neither aspirations of celebrity status nor the achievement thereof are qualities that should be promoted, encouraging the impressionable to be more like Kim, Kanye or even a Kennedy for that matter, will likely result in mass moral and ethical regression.

Besides, we are surrounded by amazingly ordinary individuals that go unnoticed and under-appreciated because we have been programmed to mistake bling for bravery, riches for righteousness and greed for greatness. We have been programmed to believe if you haven’t got something to solicit to the sheep, you don’t matter. You are no hero and you don’t count.

I’m not making this stuff up either. How else would we know that Bruce Jenner is no more?

Not all heroes are celebrated on screen or sell sex to the susceptible through song. Most neither desire nor dictate what is in and what isn’t and many have no followers of any kind.

These everyday examples to follow are all around us if we choose to see them. They come in all shapes and sizes and don’t associate making change with breaking a twenty.

Over the past few days, I have been truly blessed to have two such heroes cross my path, neither of whom still walk among us.

At face value, the two couldn’t appear more different. One lived to see his hundredth birthday and spent the better part of a century making a difference through public administration. The other gave his life before it had truly begun because he refused to sit back and watch evil prevail.

At a glance, the world of former mayor of Kimberley, Lawrie Shuttleworth, who died on Wednesday morning at the age of 103, and six-year-old Kutlwano Garesape, who was murdered in 2016, allegedly by a man who was trying to rape his mother, appear to be polar opposites of each other.

Yet, when you look past the superficial factors that distinguish these two from each other, their similarities and best qualities come to the fore.

Neither was willing to let evil prevail and took a stand for what they believed in when many would have opted for convenience over convictions, popularity over principal and self-sacrifice over safety.

Both made a difference and the world is a better place because they both shared it with us. Both are examples that we can all learn from.

This week, I learned that whether you are six or 106, you can change the world. Both are heroes who offered us much to think about when defining a role model.