I am so glad that a “privileged” person has spoken up about prices.
Alfred Adriaan’s comedy has been popping up on my Facebook timeline for a long time now.
The fact that I can identify with almost everything he jokes about, has forced me to become a fan.
These days, I eagerly watch every video that randomly pops up, even the ones I have seen before. And that is saying a lot from someone who never watches anything more than once.
So when I saw his video addressed to President Cyril Ramaphosa, it was a bit of a shock getting something so serious from a man who is usually seriously funny.
But that’s exactly the reason why it resonated with so many people. It has the same impact as the serious roles played by Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and other heavyweight comedians.
People pay attention when funny people say deep, thoughtful things that affect them. Search George Carlin’s comedy on YouTube if you want pure brilliance of exactly this sort of thing.
Alfred makes an impassioned plea to Ramaphosa about the financial crisis we all find ourselves in. He expresses his own anxiety at being able to support his family on a month-to-month basis.
This is important because his public persona gives one the impression that he is doing very well for himself. By his own admission, he is, but not as well as he should be.
He talks about his wife buying second-hand things to ease the financial burden on the family.
This isn’t the sort of thing that ordinary people will readily admit to, never mind a celebrity.
There’s something strangely comforting about knowing that we are all fighting the exact same battles. I can tell you from my personal interactions with some very wealthy individuals, they are feeling the financial pressure just like we are .
The numbers may differ, but the scale of the impact is exactly the same.
What Alfred did is important, because it lifts the lid on a taboo subject that people usually feel ashamed about. Like he says, nobody wants to be the one who appears to be struggling.
But knowing that absolutely everybody is in the same boat, even those whom we believe are living large, makes us feel a little better.
More importantly, we have to talk about this more openly, otherwise our leaders will think we are doing fine, when we are not.
The problem is that they have awarded themselves very comfortable salaries with wonderful benefits, all of which we pay for. So they don’t feel the pinch in the same way we do.
It’s the same with crime. They have bodyguards and security fences that we pay for. So the impact on their lives is minimised, thanks to our taxes.
It’s for this reason that we need to make a very loud and very consistent noise about the social problems that may be escaping their attention.
And it matters when people with large followings and platforms join the chorus of concern.
It’s not that their voices matter more, but rather it increases the chances of the message reaching the ears that matter.
We need more voices like Alfred’s to speak the truth about their financial worries during this time.
And it needs to be equally honest and authentic instead of boasting about the occasional luxury in their lives to create a narrative of pseudo success, when clearly everyone is struggling, including their own support base.
This is what is going to endear us to them and help us manage the stress of the monthly bills and feeding our families.
So thank you, Alfred. I feel a little better about hunting for bargains.