Lighting It Up Blue, South African Edition
Last year we put a blue bulb in our porch light in a suburb in Virginia. Even though we were just one townhome in a large community, we were the sole blue light. Next year will be bigger, I thought….
This year was the first time South Africa joined in the Light It Up Blue campaign, and my friends at Autism South Africa went all out. They persuaded some high-profile businesses throughout the nation to take part.
More importantly (and visibly), they secured funding to light up Table Mountain. If ever there was an iconic landmark in the country- even the continent- a blue Table Mountain would get people talking.
Lighting our home blue hit a few hitches. Unlike the US, this isn’t a porch country. Our home is behind security walls and gates. Not even our closest neighbours would have seen a blue light. Then again, we have our own ways of raising autism awareness in our immediate community.
I asked Spectrummy Daddy if he would ask about lighting up the consulate. Our diplomatic community has proven incredibly supportive to our family, and this was no exception. I learned that not only would “our” consulate go blue, but after an impassioned plea by my persuasive husband, the Embassy in Pretoria would be joining in too! I’m in awe.
I still have no camera, so my friend gamely agreed to take me on a blue drive as we took photographs of the consulate and the nearby Sandton City shopping mall which had joined in too.
Now, everything to do with the government works on a budget, and there was no budget for blue bulbs or filters. Ever resourceful, the consulate staff came up with the idea of using blue cellophane over the existing security lights. For me, being under-resourced just made the whole experience more authentic. Anyone who has struggle to pay for autism therapies knows how to get by on a budget!
It is testimony to the photographic talents of my friend that we got this shot of a blue consulate.
While we were out, we couldn’t resist taking photos of Sandton City, which look incredible in its new blue hue.
Over in Cape Town, there was an electricity failure for part of the lights shining on Table Mountain.
Those of us who live in this amazing country are all too familiar with power outages. For me, it just made the whole experience even more South African!
The impact wasn’t quite as dazzling as we might have hoped, but that will be rectified for tonight and the rest of the week. I wish my friend and I could have gone to photograph Table Mountain too.
One thing I’m going to make a habit of- taking the Blue Trip to photograph the shining examples of autism awareness. You don’t have to be the sole blue light with efforts this global.
I think it safe to say that this year was bigger. Next year, I’m hoping for even bluer.