In September 2019, Cape Town–based entrepreneur Jarette Petzer posted a video on Facebook. It was an emotional recognition of the difficulties faced by South Africa, as well as a heartfelt plea to nurture everything he loves about this country. Friends suggested that Petzer start a Facebook page to continue the conversation, and #ImStaying was born.
Within weeks, 400 000 South Africans of every race, socio-economic and political background joined the page to tell their stories of everyday life – of beauty, of hardship and the magnificence of their fellow citizens – and to share stories across cultural barriers, which many had never crossed before. By the end of December 2019, the page had more than a million followers, and it continues to grow.
Adhering to the maxim ‘Good Thoughts. Good Words. Good Deeds.’, #ImStaying is about South Africans creating social cohesion through storytelling – reaching out to each other to inspire real change in the country they love and want to see succeed, and shaping a new future out of a painful past.
This book provides another platform for the diverse voices and stories of the #ImStaying movement, as well as giving an overview of how this uniquely South African group came about and why it’s so important.