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Mr. President, where were you?

Dear Mr President,

Where were you on Sunday night? We, as South Africans, needed to see you. We needed to hear from you. On the eve of the grade 7 and 12 learners returning to school, where were you?

Where were you when those grade 7 and 12 students - confused, anxious and fearful - needed your reassurance? Our future generation needed to hear you spur them on, reminding them of the value and privilege of learning, especially considering the painful path to achieving education for all in South Africa.

This was a big deal.

Where were you on Sunday night, saluting our teachers and educators who have creatively and diligently invested in their students’ education throughout lockdown? They needed to see you championing them, and they needed to hear you thanking them for their hard work - despite many challenges - in getting the schools and classrooms ready for the arrival of their students on Monday morning. They needed your encouragement to motivate them to keep on, despite a minefield of logistics.

Where were you, Mr President, when a mother had to call Emergency Medical Services because her son’s bronchitis was worsening? Where were you when she could not ride in the ambulance with him or hold his hand as he struggled to breathe? Two days before, this mother could take her son to the doctor and get medication for his diagnosis and nurse him at home, but on this day, she could not enter the ICU ward as he was admitted with pneumonia for his last 48 hours of life. 50 people would be allowed to attend his funeral, but 1 person, his mother, could not be with her son and comfort him in his last hours.

Where were you, Mr President?

Perhaps you were in important meetings - for the sake of your country.

These are your laws and your restrictions, imposed on your people. Your beloved country is made up of these school children, teachers and mothers, and they are all confused, fearful and hurting. They need to see you and they need to hear from you.

The God you ask to bless South Africa is the God who calls you to serve your country, your people, with justice, sacrifice wisdom, humility and integrity. These are your people and their hearts are weeping.

Where are you, Mr President?



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