There are times when the saying about an ill wind blowing no good is appropriate – but, while yesterday’s violent tornado which ripped apart the communities of Vaal Marina and Mamello certainly brought ill in the form of destruction, it also liberated the best in human nature.
In mere minutes, the winds destroyed more than 500 shacks and houses and left 1 100 people homeless, with 50 people injured.
But, when disaster struck, the people of the communities came together to help each other and those who could not help themselves.
Even the notorious “Red Ants” eviction force got involved in rescue and relief efforts, as did volunteers from the NSPCA, the Red Cross and the Suid Afrikaanse Vroue Federasie, which called up its members to provide hot food for those affected.
The professionals from rescue and emergency services also threw themselves into it.
That community effort, which straddled the borders of race, gender and social status, was a reminder that we, as South Africans, have not yet lost the ability to care for each other.
And that is something worth remembering as we head into the festive season: don’t forget that the greatest gift we can give is to help those in need.