A new kind of butterfly
I used to idolize public figures. You know, the ones we’d see on television in the gaudy outfits and plastered on smiles. From the amount of attention they got, I assumed that they were heroes. Then I started watching movies and listening to music and they actually became heroes. In their own way, on set or in a song, their actions empowered me in so many different ways and it became hero worship. At one point, my peers didn’t mind admitting that Lady Gags was their religion. Of course, in an effort to fit in, I went along with it without really thinking about what that actually meant.
Then I opened my eyes and realized that most of these celebrities (not Gags of course) were really more akin to ticks and fleas, feeding off their fans admiration and that’s when that façade started crumbling and all these self-proclaimed “social butterflies” lost their right to the butterfly name.
The term “Social Butterfly” has been used to describe those colourful people that flutter about, mixing and mingling with anything that walks. I don’t know if the person that first coined the phrase for people like this actually thought past the glitz and glam of the butterfly wings. Butterflies are nothing like the “social butterflies” we have in society today. Real butterflies actually serve a purpose in the ecosystems they inhabit.
So what do butterflies do? Well, my favourite thing to talk about when it comes to butterflies is honey. Butterflies and bees come together in the most elegant of partnerships to help keep ecosystems as well as economies growing. Butterflies are not only aesthetically pleasing but they also serve community in a way that their current human counterparts can’t even dream of, they’re too busy “designing clothes” and entertaining delusions of grandeur. When I see a butterfly dancing in the wind I know that there’s still hope for Cape Town. They’re still out there, waiting to be reinstalled in their rightful place.
But what about the humans? If those people aren’t butterflies then who will “usurp” that title? Who are the heroes in society that make all the difference just by showing up and doing their job? Well, paramedics and taxi drivers of course. These people were born to serve community and when you desperately need one of them, the mere sight is enough to get your heart beating at a healthier pace again. South Africa is in dire need of butterflies and real Social Butterflies but where do we find the latter? We know that paramedics and their kind are in short supply; we need to train more and they need to be placed at the forefront of society so we can feel safe, knowing they’re around. But this is hardly possible, with so few heroes willing to take the courses to become qualified Emergency Medical Service practitioners. However, we do have a lot of taxi drivers and my question is; what would it take for South Africa as a nation to call on taxi drivers and anyone who takes the lives of the public into their hands, to stand up and be a hero and begin by taking a First Aid course and ensuring that they have the ability to at least help any victims on the spot instead of standing by helplessly while they wait for paramedics who probably won’t make it in time? I don’t know about you but if Uber or any public transport service provider had drivers who were qualified to perform emergency medical services, I would definitely go with them, especially if I had a medical condition of some sort.
We need to start building a city that works for EVERYONE and that means equipping the relevant service providers with the right tools to help keep our economy grow sustainably. Which question do we ask ourselves first? Is an initiative like this financially feasible? Or do we ask… Would an initiative like this save lives? The future of South Africa depends on which question is more important to you.