This is WHY 2009 is going to be KWAAI.



Eish my Boet – the New Year has barely begun and already the prophets of doom are spreading the negativity lekker dik, like Bovril on a braaibrood. They klap us with deeply disturbing chirps like the global economic meltdown, soaring unemployment, vehicle repossessions, declining property values, stock market collapses, recession, depression, deflation, stagnation & fornication et al. It’s enough to make you naar my bru!

In spite of all this, I find myself feeling positive, upbeat and even (cautiously) optimistic right now. In May 2008 I was gatvol and ready to leave SA. Yet today, January 2009, I am feeling much more at peace and actually looking forward to the year ahead. This is despite having had my office broken into last November and being relieved of my laptop, briefcase, 3 cell phones & various digital cameras!

“Hau” you exclaim, “how is this possible? Has the motivational speaker finally lost his last few remaining marbles?”

Maybe – maybe not. Let me explain. I’m not blind my boet. I know that in many ways, things are pretty KAK for a whole lot of people. F’rinstance you don’t want to be an American Auto Worker right now, or a Brit in Financial Services, or an Aussie Test Cricket Supporter. Talk about zero options and no light out there Boet. It must be terrifying to be retrenched, unemployed and anxious with no income and virtually no prospects for any improvement. And the reality is that some “things” may still get worse my Bru. This cyclical correction has been a long time coming and it won’t just fix itself overnight.

But as you know boet, my nature has always been to consciously focus on the positive “things”, to actively seek out the good stuff going down and then focus my attention on that. And then to go out there and make good things happen, for myself and others.

If you open your eyes (and mind) and really look, there is a lot to be positive about. In fact, quite a few things are looking much better than they were just a few months ago, when the situation really stank. For example:

1. I filled my car last night, cost me R 330. A few months ago it cost over R 500.

2. Festive Season road deaths are down a massive 40%. That’s right, forty percent. Unflippingbelievable! And finally, finally they are fixing the Koeberg interchange, Cape Town’s most congested piece of tarmac.

3. We holidayed in Durban over December. Besides awesome Ushakaland, Glamorous Gateway, Wacky Wavehouse and Radical RJ’s Ribs, the beaches were full of smartly outfitted garbage collectors, friendly tourist guides, hyperactive life guards and sweaty pink pommie tourists. The whole jol ran like clockwork. I was beindruk ek se! Go Durbs!

4. We klapped the Aussies in the Cricket Test Series! In Aussie nogal. Nobody froze or choked. I’m stoked. And Graham Smith went from zero to Hero.

5. Bafana Bafana actually scored a couple of goals in some of their last few matches. Go ouens!

6. COPE gives me HOPE. Too much power is dangerous and our fledgling democracy can only benefit from more opposition for better balance.

7. Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille was voted the world’s best, and she is one smart, honest, Teflon Tannie. (Nothing sticks to her.) And what an example she is to all politicians.

8. We have a new minister of health, who seems sort of switched on. And Trevor is still pulling the purse strings (Thank goodness!)

9. Right now, our SA banks are said to be “safer” than the Swiss, German, British and American banks. And this is partly because of the National credit Act, which gave us so many headaches last year.

10. We have had some good rainfall and THEY SAY that this should lead to lower FOOD PRICES? (Front page of the Sunday Crimes a few weeks ago) I’ll believe it when I see it, but at least some of the headlines are becoming more positive!

11. Like it or not, 2010 is coming. And my feeling is we will pull it off, in typical SA style. There will probably be some hiccups and maybe even some big stuffups but overall it is going to be a moerse jol. Buy your tickets soon; they apparently start at only R 120 a pop. (But that probably buys you a seat in the toilet for the game between Outer Mongolia and Biafra)

12. Barack Obama – what more can I say. A bruin ou who can GO!

“Yes Mark,” I hear you saying, “this may all be true, BUT what about the terrifying realities of Crime, Corruption, Falling standards of Education, Global Warming, The Financial Crunch, Zimbabwe, Gaza and Minibus Taxis?”

My suggestion is this boet:

GET OFF YOUR BUT’S. Move on. Let it go. Get a life. Or make a big sign and go picket against whatever is pissing you off. Just don’t waste your precious energy agonising over stuff you can do nothing about. And if you can do something, then do it. Get involved. Play the game. Stop sniping from the sidelines. It serves no purpose, other than to increase your blood pressure, stress levels and the sales of alcohol and antidepressants. Read my lips as I say it again my boet: GET OFF YOUR BUT’S. Erase the word BUT from your daily dialogue and watch how your outlook on life will change. Dramatically.

Then, if you are feeling adventurous, the next step is to consider occupying your tortured mind with something alternative, creative and uplifting, such as:

1. Reading the book “A New Earth” by Eckart Tolle. Or if you prefer you could do like I did, buy the 8 CD set and listen to the book whilst driving your car. The traffic becomes so much more bearable my bru. Even the Taxi’s seem less evil. That Eckart oke is one smart dude. Just ask Oprah.

2. If you have not yet read “The best of 2008 newsletter” then click this link to read a wonderfully written summary of the positive aspects of last year from a SA perspective. It is extremely well written and very uplifting.

3. If you have broadband, and an even broader mind, Google “Zeitgeist – The Movie” and watch it. Especially part 3, where you will see an interesting take on the reason for the current global economic meltdown. If you don’t have broadband, visit someone who does boet. Make a plan. To view the movie, click here.

4. Help someone less fortunate than you. Give away a little money, or some of your time, or even some of the old useless shit cluttering your home and life right no. Get verlig my bru – it feels kwaai!

5. Eat a little less red meat – cow farts screw up the atmosphere and you will feel lighter and may have less chance of getting colon cancer later. If you need more motivation, read the bestselling book “Fast Food Nation” by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser. It’s scary but true.

6. Adopt a stray pet. It will love you unconditionally, something we should all learn to do.

7. Read the book “Fifty facts that should change the World.” by Jessica Williams. But be warned – it’s quite mind blowing. Truth can be stranger than fiction.

8. If you are white, consider visiting a non white township and go see for yourself how the majority of our country lives. It is truly an awesome, eye opening and uplifting experience. Check out the Sangomas, Shebeens and Street Life. Seriously now. Most of our township residents visit the white areas regularly. So why should we not reciprocate and visit them – at least once? Who knows, you may even find my laptop there.

9. Go to Google images, type in “Solar System” and check out the actual size of our sun relative to the earth. It really puts things into perspective. Or even easier, just click this link.

10. Also at Google images, type in Hubble Telescope and look at some pictures of the 100 billion or so other galaxies out there, beyond our Milky Way / solar system. Try to see your / the world’s problems in the bigger context of the huge universe. Or click this link for an amazing slideshow of the Hubble pictures.

11. Find someone to hug. Your partner, kids, family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, dogs, cats or rats. Hug them often my bru, tightly and appreciatively. It is the greatest gift that you can ever give and receive.

12. Start each day by thinking about or writing down all the things that you are grateful for. Then try to accept life’s curved balls without judgement. Gratitude and acceptance are hugely powerful transformational tools.

13. Get out of your rut. Adopt a practise to help you find more peace of mind. Actively investigate ways to connect to the still space within you. Find ways to change your inner world, and you will notice how the outer world immediately changes for the better.

In conclusion, I will leave you with a few beautiful lines written by Alberto Villoldo PH.D, from his book “The Four Insights:”

“To be a sage means that when you look around you, you see only beauty. You will come to understand how everything you experience is a projection of your inner landscape or dream. This means that nothing ever happens to you, since you’re the creator of each event and incident in your life. So you never need to fix anything in the outer world – if you want to transform some circumstance that appears to be outside of yourself, you just need to own it and change it within!”

Look after yourself my boet. Till next time – totsiens!

Stay close to the centre of the cyclone. It’s always calm in there.

With Love




  1. Dion
    Friday, 23 January 2009 at 5:03 am

    Wonderful piece !

    You have the ability to highlight the reasons why we are humans – we sometimes forget that in our race to be the best

    I am so inspired – I am spending the weekend reading all those books you mentioned, in a B&B in Langa – in traditional Zulu gear 😉

  2. Dawn Spencer
    Friday, 23 January 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Hi Mark

    I was pleased to see your suggestion number 1: Read A New Earth. I’ve read it and I have the audio book in my car. Also bought Power of Now. I recommend it to everyone. It’s my goal to become more & more conscious & live in the now.

    Here’s to a new earth in our time 🙂

    Cheers, Dawn.

  3. Sam
    Friday, 23 January 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Thats great. We are the projector. Own it, change it! Very positive stuff!

  4. Brynn
    Tuesday, 27 January 2009 at 11:34 am

    Finally, a positive article. I get so tired of hearing all the negative stuff, it seems to me people enjoy their problems a little too much.
    I’ll be checking out all your links a little later. Keep writing….. please!

  5. Keryn
    Thursday, 29 January 2009 at 9:51 am

    Hi Mark

    Your article was forwarded to me and I hugely enjoyed it. In fact I can almost feel the burden of recent news evaporating from my slumped shoulders. I’ve really reached the point that if I hear one more journalist talk about the Global Financial Crisis and job losses in hushed tones I’m going to start screaming and set fire to myself.

    I am currently living in Australia (I did enjoy the analogy in one of your posts about being invited to the biggest jol in the world and spending the night dancing with your mother – it is a bit like that I have to admit), and maybe its the cricket but we really do seem to be wallowing in bad news – and bad news recreates itself. People are walking around scared and deflated.

    When I look back I think that one of the most upbeat times in my life was living in Joburg in the ’80’s. Now if you remember this was also a time of recession, uncertainty and international companies pulling up stumps and leaving us to it and the future looked pretty grim. But we pulled out of the nose dive with humour and creativity.

    I’ve decided to give up newspapers and watching television, buy myself a house in Cape Town, drink some wine and look at the mountain.

    Thanks for lifting my mood today.


  6. Andrew Taylor
    Saturday, 31 January 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Greetings from London,

    Thanks for permission to put this up on my website. Now up and, as I have readers (at the last count) in 61 different countries, it should bring more people to your sunny shores.

    Ampers (As in Ampersand, not as in “nearly”) 🙂

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