Tap into the feel-good factor


WHEN a nation is down in the dumps and nothing seems to work, the future looks gloomy.

At that very moment of despair as if through magic comes a singular event that changes the mood to one of unmitigated bliss.

A country in sixes and sevens is brought together by the antics of a soccer team flying the nation’s flag in a competition at the edge of the mother continent.

Misfits they were, blasted left, right and centre. But it all changed the instant they first drew and then they won, twice, unconvincingly to some. Now they stand at the cusp of making history.

Yesterday the whole nation stood shoulder to shoulder in anticipation that the Warriors take us to the final and perhaps win the African Nations Championship cup. All this was unimaginable just a couple of weeks ago.

How did we get to this point, where it has taken a team of determined young men and their coaches to make us realise that we are one.

It’s so easy to rally a nation, it seems. Just make them feel good. The Warriors have unwittingly done just that. It’s a feat politicians have regrettably failed to accomplish.

Forgive me for not having kind words for them, politicians I mean. They are the very reason why we despair.

They disappoint at every opportunity given to them and sometimes I believe they have been programmed to fail.

And it might be true that the Warriors have gone as far as they did because the dirty hand of politicians was not evident.

But jump on the bandwagon they will because that is what they do best, claiming credit where it is not due.

For decades Zifa has been plagued by a lack of support from the government. They have had to literally beg, steal and borrow to get national teams prepared and participate in regional and international events — to the embarrassing extent that individuals had to dig into their pockets to assist.

Don’t ask me where these people got the money from, but their love for the game drove them to the point where they stepped in where government had failed.

On Twitter I had predicted that we should watch how politicians would be lining up to reap where they did not sow.

Let us suppose the Warriors were knocked out in the group stage. Not a whimper would have been heard from the government. For them it would be business as usual.

I am not discounting the efforts by Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa, who just as the national team was about to depart took them out for a meal.

It is such piecemeal gestures that show a total lack of a policy for national teams. If its there, then we have never heard of it.

Let us turn back to feeling good. I can bet you right now that even if the Warriors lost the match yesterday, they would still get a hero’s welcome. That’s how easy it is to please a nation that has all but lost hope.

We are clutching at things that will take us away from our “situation”. We are fed on negative things on a daily basis through the media and other channels so much that people think it’s normal. It’s not.

The problem is that we allow it. What is the alternative? Being positive, that’s all and you choose to be happy. Yes, I said “choose”.

When it comes to issues of choice, don’t involve politicians. You know what has happened when given the chance to choose.

Being happy is an attitude of the mind you can control. You have heard the expression; look at the bright side of things. Seeing a glass as half full and not half empty. It’s a question of perception and these can be reshaped.

That is why I have issues with people who in this period of bliss are bringing up all sorts of innuendoes.

I advised one of these doomsayers to pour water on his frustrations and celebrate with the rest of the nation. Otherwise he would be a straight candidate for stress-related illnesses.

There are a host of other frustrated souls out there who choose, yes, choose to be that. I have indicated before hat life is too short. Some things you cannot change in your lifetime. While you are working at something, remember to live. You live in the present and not in the past or the future. That is the power of NOW.

How do you feel now and what do you want to achieve now? Things that happened in the past might have shaped the present, but you are living in the now. So you choose how you want to feel now. Choose to be happy because it is good for you and love your neighbour. Pass the good feeling around.

Let us rally around any entity that makes us happy and feel good. Today it’s the Warriors and the good thing about it is that it’s not political.

Once again sport has come up tops in bringing people together on a common cause. For this reason alone, let us nurture sport and give it the support it needs. I hope someone is listening.

Lenox Lizwi Mhlanga is a social commentator