“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anyone.” – Audrey Hepburn.

As we enter this weird state of limbo between a health pandemic and an economical crisis, I am reminded of the value we place on people and people in our neighbourhoods and our society. As one of my influences (and hubby’s not-so-secret crush) stated above, people are important and in a small community such as ours, this has never been truer. We must stand together and help those around us to stand with us, as this is the only way that we will ever restore not only our own dignity, but that of the greater community. A dignified community is a strong community – a valuable weapon in the fight for change.

When was the last time you said “hallo” to your neighbour? Do you even know your neighbour? Have you met that new family who moved into your neighbourhood two weeks ago? Do you know what struggles they face behind those friendly waves and that cloth mask? Guaranteed your children do. Because as any parent will know, there are no better conveyors of all things newsworthy in a neighbourhood, than a primary school pupil. My 7-year old is putting her editor-father to shame almost daily and our 9-year old’s teacher possibly knows more about the goings-on in the Dreyer household than she should.

This brings us to a topic that is very close to my heart. Clothing. School uniforms in particular. The lockdown forced most of us into a state of hibernation which brought with it a few extra rolls in places we never even knew we had places. Skinny jeans are now the only thing “skinny” and my favourite top now resembles my favourite bandana. So what do we do about this? Donate it of course!

Your clothes which have now become too small or too “last year” do not belong in the bin. There are people in your community much less fortunate than you, but most are too proud to ask you for a helping hand. This is why there are second-hand clothing shops such as that wonderful gem “Dit en Dat” in King Edward Street run by the SAVF. Laerskool Tzaneen Primary has an amazing clothing bank where you can take your child’s school uniform, socks, blazers and jerseys which no longer fit, and it will be redistributed to those learners who cannot afford R800 for a tracksuit or R150 for a shirt.

But please, remember that just because your neighbours are less fortunate, does not equate to them not having a sense of pride and dignity. Don’t be that person who donates “flenter” clothes with torn pockets, missing buttons, holes in the trousers or torn collars. The quite simple rule of thumb is “if you would not wear it, don’t expect someone else to wear it”. If it is unfixable, throw it out, but it truly costs you nothing but a little bit of effort over a weekend to sew a new button onto that shirt, fix a zip or patch a small hole.

If your child doesn’t want to wear it because of the condition, fix it and donate it, but do not expect another child to wear ripped clothes to school. The families who use the school banks already cannot afford to spend money, now they will have to spend extra money on a new zip or to have it fixed so their child is spared the mockery that will inevitably follow.

Not all of us are blessed in the same manner, some are blessed in ways you will never understand, because you do not live in their reality. Yes, you pass them every day, but you do not know their struggles, blessings, or passions. It does not mean they are worthless because they have a different opinion on what is important in life.

We must start to realize that every person is different, their minds work different, their hearts work different. And that is perfect! I like different. I like that you are your own person with different views and emotions, handling things differently. I respect you for being you and in the same breath, respect me for being me. I do not mean any harm. The world is filled with enough hate, rejection and judgement. You do not have to entertain the vibes by spreading it too.