© Richard Arderne
For many, the season was excellent. Local restaurants called it the ‘best season ever’ while many others stated that ‘they had absolutely nothing to complain about.’ Granted, it was busy at times, with over 70 surfers in the water at Seal Point one glorious afternoon, but it’s easy to resist the drama and think about the coming quiet times.
Social media, and in particular Facebook, was on fire, however. Facebook is commonly known as ‘social media for old people’, and all the cool kids are on TikTok or Instagram. Still, Facebook was the medium of choice for St Francis locals and visitors alike.
There was plenty of advertising, with restaurant specials being posted daily and all the events being listed whenever they came up. This is because there were so many sporting events, and all ran smoothly. Of course, the results and photos of these events were also published. There was also coverage of glorious happenings like the Flash Float and other such charitable events.
Still, the amount of complaining, venting, moaning, and generally insulting behaviour on Facebook was quite incredible. This year, however, there were many moments of vitriol that were pure comedy gold. Too many to mention, apart from the lighthouse foghorn being unacceptably loud and the music at Billy’s ‘too kak.’ There were also endless armies of online soldiers complaining bitterly about the water shortages and load-shedding.
We do all love a good moan, but there are unwritten rules of engagement in such griping. First, don’t be unnecessarily rude to workers (we’re all in this fight together). Second, don’t be shitty about absolutely everything, because it reveals your ugliness and lucidly highlights your own shortcomings.
Very few, if any, of the whiners were working over the season. But, on the other hand, very few workers and business owners had the time to gripe about anything. They were all too busy serving customers and getting their card machines tapped!
There were seriously funny moments, however. One visitor asked, ‘What time is the best time to go to Sunset Rocks?’ The deadpan answers from locals varied from ‘at sunrise’ to ‘around 11 am’, ‘not at sunset, obviously,’ and ‘lunchtime is probably the best time to watch the sunset at Sunset Rocks.’
Amongst the comedy gold was one element that stood out – people were very keen on defending our village and our people. They were eager to shut up the naysayers and the complainers. People were standing up to the trolls. The locals, many of who I know, were politely telling these people that maybe they should go somewhere else next year. Seeing locals and regular visitors defending our village, our hardworking locals, and our businesses was quite beautiful.
They gave those faceless arguers very clear directions to the turnoff to the N2. They recommended Plett, Knysna, Mossel Bay and Hermanus, amongst other suitable holiday towns.
When someone posted something nasty about one of our local pizza restaurants, the defence from the locals was immediate and clamorous!
Those who complained about the noise were offered cauliflowers (for their ears). Those who moaned about the crowds and the queues were advised how to obtain medicinal marijuana or psilocybin mushrooms for a change of perspective. (Both are readily available in the village, according to a friend.)
The conversations and ripostes were entertaining, engaging, and direct enough for the trolls (local and visiting) to feel the heat. The goal was not to chase people away but to make it clear that their mindless complaining would not be tolerated.
It was all quite superb, and at times it made me immensely proud. So, to those people who championed our village and our people over and again, I thank you.
I will thank you again when I see you in person, in the village, and not on Facebook.