On the 14th of November 2015, I posted a status in concern with the support, or should I say lack of, that us South Africans give our own nation and country.
With that said...I tried to make a difference, Facebook had already created an app allowing you to show support for France and change your profile picture. Yes what France went through was a tragedy, at the time 127 lives were lost...however we have over 4000 farm murders in South Africa, and its still happening daily.
I decided that in order to make a difference, I used our everyday Photoshop program to place the South African flag over supporters profile photos.
Did I expect what would happen next...definitely not! The last screen shot I took of my Inbox notification was on the 16th of November 2015 at 9:23am.
After 1000 inboxes it reset itself and started again at 1.
We were asked if we had set up Photoshop to automatically apply the SA flag...due to the sizes and shapes of some profile photos, long portraits, too much colour in photos, poor resolution etc. It became a task to do each photo individually. Yes...one by one! Most images had to be cropped, we even edited the brightness of some images as they were too dark.
However, the majority of time was spent opening each message, saving the photo to a file, importing it into Photoshop, applying the flag and edits, exporting it to another file, then finding that inbox/person/face and sending it back.
In all honesty, I have no idea how many we did, it was only about half way that we decided to make a collage of some of the images and kept a few, following this collage was also another pile of profile photos that streamed in.
So what was it like to have something go viral...for starters your phone has to stay on charge...and on silent, because that notification tone does not stop, at times there was probably 1 to 2 second intervals between notifications.
Myself and Michelle did our best to keep up with the photos, at times we definitely thought "What did we do!" but after receiving heart warming inboxes and words of encouragement it kept us going:
"May you be blessed"
"Thank you for making a difference"
"Its awesome to see someone standing up for our nation"
"Thank you for what you are doing"
These were often followed by stories of friends and loved ones that were affected by farm murders.
In no time we were changing photos of ex South Africans from as far as Boston and Australia.
In true South African spirit, we had so many races messaging us, White, African, Indian, Asian, Coloured...to see such support from so many races just goes to show what we can do standing together.
And although we watned to write back to each person, we just didnt have the time...so to everyone...we appreciated every single message!
It was an absolute amazing experience and we are so proud to see what a difference we made...it may only have been a drop in the ocean, but at least it was a drop...and as they say, every drop counts!
According to Facebook...our total reach on our SA flag posts reached over 26 400 people. If one photographer can reach 26 000+ people, imagine what an entire nation could do!
From this viral post, its clear that we need to stop letting the world and social media dictate to us what is important, and instead of constantly worrying about other countries news...we need to start caring for our country, South Africa, our home, our friends and family, the place for our future generations and children.
Thank you South Africa!