I was very sceptical when invited to join the #ImStaying Facebook group the day after it was started. I have immense respect for the person who invited me – I have to mention race as it compounds the picture of the person – a white woman who was arrested during the apartheid years. I am not a ‘joiner’. I tend to run from organised groups. A glance at the #ImStaying group looked too soft and fuzzy, too ‘nice’.

But as I watched the group grow, something changed. My perception.

I was witnessing people who would normally not engage, reaching out in a growing cyber hug-fest. And I am a firm believer in hugs, so I joined. The more likes I gave to #ImStaying posts, the more my Facebook algorithms became affected, and I was getting more positive than negative posts in my newsfeed.

The group started by a Capetonian estate agent, voluntarily run with assistance from (unpaid) moderators and Admins, the rules are religiously enforced. The last one is:

10 U.T.H.I.N.K

PLEASE reconsider your post and see if you can edit it to be in line with our guidelines? UTHINK: Is what you have to say Uplifting? True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind? Thank you. #ImStaying

Sadly, I found detractors whose negative posts were blocked on #ImStaying used other Facebook pages to criticise #ImStaying. Because those admins did not have the backbone to restrict posts on their groups to their own vision and mission, that they allowed criticism of another completely unrelated group amounted to hate speech. 

I left those pages.

Read what Jarette Petzer who started the group has said over the last couple of days:

‘In just over two months we have grown from zero, to an almost one million ALL INCLUSIVE membership.

We have raised over R225 000 for South Africans in need, an additional R100 000 through crowd funding and another R50 000 in merchandising which we have yet to allocate.

Our members have touched millions of lives across the country with their acts of kindness and compassion.

Education systems in The United States of America are case studying us as we speak, to try and understand how we made such an amazing impact in such a short space of time.

We have forged alliances with some wonderful human beings and we have partnered with so many like-minded companies who share our vision. 

We have registered an NGO, formed a board of advisors and formulated plans to stage massive events across the country to help mobilise our members.

We have laughed together, we have cried together and we have revelled in our victory as a nation together.

Where there was darkness we brought light. While some saw the end of a county, we saw the beginning of a new era for South Africa, where we are able to come together as a people with all our differences, and work together for a better tomorrow.

While the naysayers took their best shots at us we continued on our journey to deliver on our quest of GOOD THOUGHTS, GOOD WORDS, and GOOD DEEDS.

We have not strayed in our objectives. Instead we have cemented what we are and who we are as a group – A single organism made up of hundreds and thousands of like-minded people, all with a common goal in mind. To bring hope to a nation, and to strive toward a better tomorrow for all.

Globally, we are the first group of our kind, and in the coming months as we continue to grow and mature, we will bring to the table more change, and more innovation geared toward helping millions upon millions of South Africans.

Stayers while you read this know and understand that YOU did this. You brought about this movement and it is you who are bringing about change in our time.

We will be remembered in history for what we have done, and each one of us here today would have had a hand in building a brighter tomorrow.’


Rise, Still We Rise 🇿🇦❤️🇿🇦


#HumbulaUmbono #HumbulaniBono #TsundukaXivono #UkukhumbulaUmbono #GopolaPono #KhumbulaUmbono #OnthouDieVisie #RememberTheVision”

In another post on 14 November:

‘Perspective is an interesting topic for me. Every situation I face daily, has the ability to shape or at least influence my view on how I see and react to the world around me. 

For instance, how I react to something today, may be a completely different reaction tomorrow to the very same situation.

For me it all comes back to being brave enough to self-reflect. Questioning my own motives and trying to figure out what part if any my ego may have played in what I said or did, and how I effected people around me. 

You see I’m not a perfect person. I’m a human being, riddled with flaws like everyone else. I would like to believe that it is my imperfections that impact on me in the most positive way because through recognizing these flaws I push myself to be a better person each day …

It’s okay to make mistakes as long as our heart is in the right place, and as long as we strive to better ourselves along the way.

Reaching out and touching someone’s life, even in the smallest or seemingly insignificant way, has the power to keep us grounded. It has the power to keep our hearts open.

It has the power to change not only the lives of others, but also people’s perception of the world around them.

One small act of kindness today has the power to change someone’s life for the better tomorrow. In my view that is how we measure our success. Not by the riches we obtain as we pass through but how we effect people on our journey, and the legacy we leave behind.’

That’s why #ImStaying

Rise, Still We Rise 🇿🇦❤️🇿🇦”

#HumbulaUmbono #HumbulaniBono #TsundukaXivono #UkukhumbulaUmbono #GopolaPono #KhumbulaUmbono #OnthouDieVisie #RememberTheVision

By Lee Maddeux

Image: #ImStaying Facebook page

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Uownit-SA is an online publication focused on collecting and publishing valuable and informed opinions from all the people of South Africa, published on the 15th of every month. Send us your views to

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