Your replies to my “gatvol” letter


Hi Mark 

My mum in SA forwarded me something you had written recently. The essence was – sod all the crap news I read, I’m going to create my own happiness! I felt compelled to write and say thank you. Thank you so much for writing that. I’m living in the UK, where the impetus from the press is much the same and I’ve been feeling exactly the same way of late. It’s now time that we all say – get lost Mr. Negative. Bring me smiles, happiness and laughter.

Thanks again.


Hi Mark

This piece you wrote was forwarded to me.

Let me just say it is fantastic – FINALLY somebody agrees with me!

This world is a truly awe-inspiring place – if only more people could see it like that! – You are frank, honest and refreshing!

I believe that the more people that share a belief (petrol price hikes, interest rate, Eskom – blah, blah, blah) – the greater the feeling becomes that contributes to that belief. Be it a good or bad belief.

We cannot blame external factors for a “rough patch” in our lives simply because it’s easy. In almost all instances in our lives, work etc, ‘you are the problem, and therefore you are the solution.’

I practice an attitude of gratitude daily! It’s the best way to live man!

Inspired thought, inspired action a general shift in mindset, into a new positive attitude is the only way we will see a genuine change in the world

Anyway – Just a thought.

Thanks for brightening my day!

Have a fantastic week.


Hi there Mark

I am of the same opinion.

I am reading A Short History of the World and Nearly Everything at the moment.

I do not buy newspapers or watch on TV news negativity – I refuse.

I focus on the positive and enjoy my life.

I was at the Apartheid museum and saw footage that showed me how much of a worse situation we have been in during our history and how much better off we are now.

So thank you for the reminder and a morning ritual I started today was press-ups and weights, I am going to add a short run too.

A Blessing:

May your winter be warm,

May your family be loving

May you appreciate every moment in your life

Please realize that our lives are a miracle and we are lucky to exist

We are the same as everyone and everything at an atomic level

So let us be damn grateful and go out with the intention of adding value

May you be able to look back and say heck I did my best for SA and the world.

And I damn well enjoyed my life!



Dear Mark

I read your email about SA which a friend sent me – what a brilliant article, Thank You! I thought that you might be interested in the following very positive action that my sister-in-law is taking at her school. We would like to start a positivity promise throughout the whole of South Africa, and let it start with you and your children.

Children are amazing – they can lift your spirits when you are feeling down; they can fill a room with sunshine just from their laughter. It’s time for us as South Africans, to channel this beautiful positive energy from our children, and use it to create a new feeling of positivity for our country, and our future.

So, let’s turn parent modeling on its head just for a moment – let’s let the children start teaching us to be positive again. It would be the MOST unbelievable wonderful gift to South Africa, to get a POSITIVITY PROMISE going in all of our schools. All it will take is a few minutes a day from each teacher and his / her class in each and every school in the country. It will start in the classroom, but it needs to be carried over into the home. This is what I have been doing – I hope it will inspire as many caregivers and teachers as possible

The Positivity Promise, which is a promise to yourself to be positive, involves 3 easy steps

Step 1) We start off the day by saying the following mantra; our oath of allegiance – One sentence – that’s all. 3X every morning :

“I am a child of South Africa, and I can make a difference in my country today”.

Step 2) Cultivate “an attitude of gratitude” – A phrase coined by Dr John Demartini. Start a positivity journal. The children write 1 sentence about something they are grateful for each day.

eg. I am grateful that I have a warm bed to sleep in at night.

Step 3) How can I make a difference today?

Promise to do something nice (or positive) for someone each day, or say something positive to someone each day. Write this down in the Positivity journal, too. eg. Today, I am going to make a difference by including Johnny in our game at break

And do it!

This would start in the home, filter through to the school, and then on to the wider community (senior school and high school). If we can all just perform 1 new positive deed for someone each day, or say 1 positive phrase to someone each day, we can start making a positive difference in our homes, in our schools and in the wider community. It is a well-known fact that “positive attracts positive” – this is what goes out into the Universe. So lets start with our Youth in our schools; each child performs one positive deed and then instead of paying that person back, he / she PAYS IT FORWARD to the next person. Lets start a movement in our schools where one positive deed begets another one.

Imagine the ripple effect this could have if each one of our children in South Africa started making a difference. We CAN make South Africa into the greatest country – we have the potential! Please help us by making a positivity promise TODAY.

Thank you for making a difference in South Africa today.


Hi Mark

I read your e-mail about being gatvol with all the bad news in South Africa. I can really identify with your sentiments expressed in this e-mail. I do the following every day, and have never been happier in my whole life:

  1. I do not watch the news on TV anymore
  2. I do not listen to the news on the radio anymore
  3. I read the newspapers with circumspection and filter out all the bad news articles and absorb all the good news articles
  4. I read the financial press with greater interest and also only absorb the good news articles
  5. I have 2 sons aged 15 and 9, when I wake them up in the morning for school, I sing them a song and make it funny with their names in the song
  6. I always make sure that I am enjoying whatever I am doing, even if it is brushing my teeth in the morning and at night – I also tell my family to do the same
  7. If something does not work during the day, I leave it for later on or the next day and it normally works better the second time around
  8. I joke with people and tease them incessantly, both at work and at home, we all laugh and I feel better
  9. We have 2 dogs and 1 cat at home, I always play with them and pat and stroke them at least once a day
  10. I always laugh at the politicians and their shenanigans
  11. I always say that everything in life is negotiable except death
  12. I always do unto others as I would like them to do unto me

We have no intentions of leaving South Africa in spite of experiencing an armed robbery at our previous home. We were attacked in broad day light, at 06:45 approximately, by 4 armed robbers. They beat myself and my wife up badly, nearly raped my wife and generally terrorised us all, including our sons. This was all done for a wallet, purse and 2 cell phones.

I reckon that at least 90% of all South Africans want the same things ie:

a. A decent home and transport

b. A job or business of their own

c. Good schooling for their children

d. Good health care

e. To worship freely in their own House of G-d.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you wish



Dear Mark

Received an email in the “mail” – a funny down to earth honest and true email. Loved it and passing on. Thank you for taking the bull by the horns and sharing it with us.

Love & Light and all the other good things thrown in.


Hi Mark

I am just as GATVOL as you are. People complain almost every where you turn. I want to ask if any of them are doing anything to change what is going on. I know most are going to say, “well, what can I do, why aren’t the cops doing it or the government…..why must I do anything, I pay tax, I deserve …….and so on and so on”

Well there are many things we can all do.

Every year more then 20 000 people are killed on our roads. At robots, freeways, intersections, by reckless inconsiderate drivers, drunk drivers or unlicensed drivers.

Obeying simple laws such as the traffic laws is a start. Don’t be the person who races to get through the orange that is red, actually stop at a stop street…..don’t drink and drive no matter what. You not only put your life at risk, you risk that of countless people, young children, bread winners.

So don’t let anyone complain about crime if they cant obey the rules of the road.

Instead of sitting back and saying I cant, call the number of the truck company, or transport company to complain about the driver, demand action. You have the right to open a reckless and negligent driving case…as the witness to the incident.

Don’t just ignore something that is tearing the fabric of our society.

“Be the change you want to see in the world, don’t demand it”

As for the press, I don’t bother anymore, the newspaper, tv, radio….its all the same. I don’t think I could in any way add to what you have said… but you are dead on the money.

We are all aware of the problems, and that is what we as a nation are good at, identifying problems, but we are KAK at finding solutions. It is the responsibility of every South African to stand up and do something for his country, be it a act of kindness, charity or helping someone in need. Community service takes many forms. But we think cos we pay tax we are owed. Well we ARE OWED NOTHING BY NO ONE. If we want change we need to be part of the solution. Leaving to another country does not change anything, they are only going to other sets of problems. There are many examples, France- student riots, Australia- Race riots, South America – poverty and kidnappings. Iraq- war and so the list goes on.

We need to find solutions, put people in power who will make the difference.

I don’t have all the answers but together we can make change happen.


Well said Mark!!

You’ve got guts!! I love it

Happy day


Dear Mark

Loved it and well done. Helped me a lot as I often do get this heavy ball of anxious dread KAK feeling, when more bad news comes my way


Thanx Mark – that was awesome !!!
I hope you don’t mind, but I forwarded this to a few people, including John Maytham on Cape Talk
PS:Thanx to you – I am sitting naked in my front garden, drinking herbal tea and listing to Radio Lotus 😉


Well done Mark – pleased you got that off your chest, and not via your poephol either!

Kind Regards


Hey Mark

Sounds like you are doing fine by getting that off your chest bru, but every word is true my bru!!! You have made my Monday already……and I haven’t even got around to the tea and joint bit yet!

Go well.



Good Morning Mark,

Reading your letter is like having you on the phone, or chatting with you… I could even hear the tone of your voice as I read it!

As always, you bring positive energy and rays of hope.

I have been often chastised by some of our common friends for not reading the daily newspapers, but like you, over the last few years I felt that they only dragged me down.

Watching international news on TV while I do my morning gym, and listening to talk shows on SAFM while driving to work, keep me generally informed, but they are already pushing the limits of what I want to know… as you wrote, the more you hear and see, the more depressed you get!!!

However, to be fair to our reporters, without them bringing to the fore issues of abuse, misconduct, genocide, rigged elections, oil wars, corruption, global warming, etc… it would be difficult for ordinary people to take a stance and try and redress the wrongs committed daily, worldwide.

I agree that a news paper, or news bulletin, should try and even out the negative news with positive ones, and encourage people to look for beauty, joy and reason as much as making us aware of all our problems.

Maybe you should start a “positive news radio and publications”? I cannot think of a better person to do so…


Hi Mark

Great to hear from you and “good on you”…..

We have so much to be grateful for….maybe a “holiday” in Serbia, Iraq or Zimbabwe will put things in perspective !!



Thanks Mark.

Jislaaik bru….. but your words are somma powerful!! On a serious note, I could not agree more with your sentiments. I am also gatvol of reading and hearing about all the kak innie land. Enough! It is all about behavioural change. And we have the power to change the awesome future we are on the brink of……

Best Regards