GYSOT is a slang abbreviation for ‘Get you some of that’, popularised by the enigmatic Richard Rawlings from the United States-based Gas Monkey Garage and the Discovery Channel series, Fast N’ Loud. But times are tough here in the RSA, and there’s a whole lot of negativity going on. This is why I reckon we should adapt Rawlings’ abbreviation for a uniquely South African approach: GYSGN, or ‘Get you some good news’.

So I’ll kick this issue off with some good news stories, to set the mood. Trevor Noah. The host of the US-based Tonight Show and renowned stand-up comedian was born in Soweto and lived much of his childhood in poverty. His mother was instrumental in his forming: even though there were times when there was not enough money for food, she bought him books so he could learn. She inspired Trevor to not only dream big, but to dream beyond big. Instead of just dreaming of one day driving a BMW 318i, rather dream of owning the BMW factory. Today Trevor is a true inspiration for young people with big dreams. The weather. Yes, we do have a drought. And there seems to be more tornadoes occurring these days (probably thanks to global warming). But overall, we’re not so shabby. Take Siberia in Russia, for instance. On the Siberian north coast, summer only lasts for one month, and an average annual temperature is said to hover around the -100C mark.

The coldest weather recorded in Siberia was -700C, in 1933. Imagine trying to tan a steak on a braai at that temperature. There was also the recent case of a friend of a friend who had moved to the greener grass on the other side of the big pond. Living in New Zealand, the friend had called one day, very homesick. It was the rain, he mumbled over the phone. In the beginning, when the rain started, it was pleasant and refreshing. A week later, it still rained, just more intensely. Three weeks after that, it was still raining. He just wanted some sun, he complained. Yep, every sport has its injuries.

Sport. Our Blitzbokke Sevens rugby team, as well as the Proteas cricket lads, are proof that, despite politics and other whatnots, we can still compete with the best in the world – and beat them. The Big Five. We have some of that. With so many national parks and private reserves, the Big Five can be seen in most parts of the country. Many people in the rest of the world will only ever see an elephant or lion on television or in a book. Here we can experience the real deal, in the flesh.

Our traffic and police officers. If you’ve experienced the pathetic lot who call themselves police or traffic officers in Zimbabwe, and you’ve run a main Zim tourist road gauntlet, our coppers sure are a sight for sore eyes, even if they are hiding behind a bush. Hlaudi Motsoeneng. No, wait… that’s not good news. That’s very bad news. Scrap that part.  Minibus taxi drivers. Yes, I know – they are largely a bunch of rogues who don’t care about anything or anyone. Or perhaps not? In December, a young student was on his motorcycle on his way to write an exam in Pretoria. A car suddenly pulled out in front of the motorcycle, causing the lad to crash into the VW Golf.

A minibus taxi immediately stopped, and a paramedic, who was a passenger in the taxi, jumped out and attended to the youngster, who had broken a femur. Meanwhile other minibus taxi drivers blocked the road so that the student and his minders were safe. Still more taxis raced after the Golf, which had sped off, cornering the driver shortly afterwards. We are uniquely resilient. As long as we can braai some-thing, we can handle Eskom power cuts and other challenges. Innovation. Local industries created the Rooivalk attack helicopter and a myriad of other cutting-edge weapon systems. Sasol turned gas into oil. Dr Chris Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant. The Kreepy Krauly swimming pool cleaner was invented in SA…

We have fame. Okay, so they mostly found their international fame (and wealth) elsewhere, but we have Charlize Theron, Sharlto Copley, Mark Shuttleworth, Elon Musk, Dave Matthews and Kevin Pietersen. In my search for good news, I even found one website listing our Number One man as a “world leader”… Now, if that’s not a prime example of positive, wishful thinking, I don’t know what is. What I’m trying to say is that yes, we have problems in our sunny South Africa. But compared to many other places on Earth, we don’t have it too bad at all, and there are still a lot of positives to focus on.

Text: Danie Botha