Are you THAT douche? Shame!


You can move around many times in your life but you can’t choose where you were born… No matter where you end up, you have your roots and although they don’t define you, they play a fairly significant role in your life!

When I think back on my childhood, I was just a kid who rode my bike around all day after school with other kids in the street, I watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and WWF with those same kids, played Street Fighter at the corner cafe and went to Robertsham Primary. Life was simple but life was exciting.

I know the world doesn’t stay that way forever; times change, some places become better, others worse, kids grow up and people move but shouldn’t we still be proud of where we come from?

I happen to live in the south of Johannesburg. Whenever I tell people from other areas that I live here, I always get some kind of snide remark or playful response but I can live with that. It’s not their home. They react this way because the good ‘ol South has a certain reputation and I can appreciate that. There’s also no massive attraction for people in other areas to come to the South on a regular basis. I understand all of this.

But it’s not those people who make me want to eat the fingers of newborn babies. Sadly, the very people who have the most negative things to say come from the south and to me, that’s quite ironic considering they live here. This is their home. Is it really so bad?

Over the last few years, I’ve made a massive effort to uplift this place. Why? BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE I COME FROM! Do I need more reason than that to put some effort in? My gripe isn’t even with people who live here but want to leave; that’s their prerogative. You’re not married to any city. I just wanna punch you in the gall bladder if all you do is break your hometown down while you live in your hometown.

If I’m honest, the very reason I’m writing this article is because of something I overheard the other day and it set me off. Normally, I would just let this kind of thing slide but I’ve just reached that point and perhaps this is my way of venting.

You can call me arrogant or vain but I’ve always stood up for this place and always tried to make it better. I see more people breaking it down than building it up so surely you can understand how that frustrates me?

I contemplated going off at this person and you have to be sure that I can be the ugliest human being on this planet when I wanted to but instead I thought I should share this message:

It’s simple. Don’t be a douche. If you don’t like your home then leave but as long as you live here, help the rest of us make it better. This goes everything you do in life. If you’re in an unhappy career then move but while you’re there, stop playing the victim. It’s annoying and it’s sad. And it says a lot about you. People have the ability to make things happen out of nothing. It’s almost a criminal offense when you don’t live up to that potential.

In the last few years, I feel like I’ve put my money where my mouth is. With various partners, I own the CrossFit gym Figure 4 in Meyersdal, my offices are across the road, I bought Malakite in Alberton North, I’ve run two big markets in the south and continue to run a weekly market at Malakite and finally, I started Deep in the Woods.

Again, I haven’t done this alone and my partners deserve as much credit but the point I’m trying to make is that I’ve invested in the South. Every time my partners and I have tried to create something there were a million people telling us we were dumb or crazy to even try. And now look. Imagine we had listened?

I don’t admit to this often but it’s daunting when you have an idea and everyone tells you you’re crazy. I love to be the kind of guy that does it anyway but negativity and lack of support has played on my mind for long periods of time before going ahead. It’s so entrenched in people to say something isn’t possible… Why? Is it so hard to help, add, uplift, believe, support? IS IT?

It’s not only us who’s working hard to make things happen… There are many others also trying to do the same thing who also deserve some support! Giving back to your community is one of the best feelings you can experience and I feel sorry for anyone who has never felt that before… Supporting those who are trying to do big things goes a long way!

To those who have helped along the way and there are many of you, thank you. To those that haven’t, shame!

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About the author: Mark Sham

Mark Sham

NOT the boy next door. Entrepreneur at heart with a marketing background and a love for social media. Owner of Vivid Marketing!

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