Facebook group #ImStaying responds to 'extremely elitist' backlash

The group says that it is giving hope to despondent locals by posting uplifting messages about South Africa, encouraging them to stay in the country.

Picture: the #ImStaying logo. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - As the Facebook group #ImStaying continues to grow in numbers, some South Africans are interrogating its purpose and impact.

The group says that it is giving hope to despondent locals by posting uplifting messages about South Africa, encouraging them to stay in the country.

Cape Town real estate entrepreneur Jarette Petzer started the page last month. It now has 416,627 members and counting.

Petzer said the page is fostering compassion and connections between South Africans from all backgrounds.
But some locals disagree, claiming the group is extremely elitist, catering to a privileged white minority.

Petzer denied this and maintains that #ImStaying is all-inclusive.

“It's an all-inclusive group. We've got people from every religion, race and from all across the country. Everybody is contributing,”

However, a Woodstock resident feels the group serves a white, wealthy minority that is privileged enough to consider emigration at all.

“The group is extremely elitist. It's a fake positivity that only affects a minority group,” the resident said.
“Do they want to listen, or do they want to mute and delete us? Our reality is different to their reality. They need to learn to listen.”

The page has also been accused of deleting posts and removing members who offer a critique of the platform.

Petzer, however, said the group does not allow negative comments or discussions about politics, religion or what he refers to as "contentious issues."