A few days ago I saw my life flash in front of me as my car was rolling down a hill. I remember sitting there trying not to panic so I could control the car so I wouldn’t get injured. When it came to a halt I managed to open the door and tried to make sense of what had actually happened. I still don’t know the exact details of what the cause would have been as I was on a straight road on a clear Sunday afternoon. I also realised that South Africans, black and white, still care about what happens to others.
I was travelling by myself and had I been injured there would have been a possibility of me being trapped inside the car for days without anyone realising, but because of the culture we have in this country many people stopped to check whether the person in the car was okay or not. A few people asked me whether I had insurance and how easy it would be for me to get someone to pick me up from the side of the N3 freeway in the middle of nowhere in the Free State Province. It’s only after they were certain that I would be fine that most people decided to drive on. There was one truck driver who waited with me until the ambulance and the police had arrived. He only left once he was certain that I was going to get assistance.
I have been to Europe on short and long trips and have realised that the same friendliness doesn’t exist there. People don’t care much about the wellbeing of others, especially strangers, in Europe.
Recently I was watching a British television programme and heard the presenter talking about cases of people dying and corpses rotting for days inside houses because no one would ever check up on them.I have realised that I live in a country where there can never be a possibility of that happening.
I also live in a country where an extended family is still important. In a space of 15 minutes after the accident several family members had called more than once to ask about the developments and my wellbeing. I have not seen any members of my immediate family since then, but they call almost every day to find out whether I am alright since I have refused to see a doctor since the accident.
Something I should perhaps not do is to ignore my phone. I started doing that when I was receiving dozens of phone calls from friends, acquaintances and well wishers who wanted to know about my well being. I am fine and the accident has made me realise that life needs to be enjoyed a bit more than I have in the past. I have also realised that the sense of Ubuntu still exists in Africa and I can never be alone on this continent.
So now I will relax and enjoy Orlando Pirates and Sharks victories a bit more. Maybe I should take leave during the cricket world cup.