Joburg mom gets #ImStaying tattoo

A supporter of the #Imstaying movement has taken a further step in her cause by getting a tattoo to raise awareness about the beauty of the country.
A supporter of the #Imstaying movement has taken a further step in her cause by getting a tattoo to raise awareness about the beauty of the country.
Image: Provided

A supporter of the #ImStaying movement has taken a further step in her cause — getting a tattoo to raise awareness about the beauty of the country.

Erika O'Brien of Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, is among 678,000 people who have joined the Facebook group #ImStaying. The group was created last month, and is a home for people who have vowed to stay in the country despite increasing concerns about crime and economic hardships.

Asked about her recent tattoo — a picture of which she posted to the page — O'Brien said it was to raise awareness about the beauty of SA.

“We’ve seen a lot of horrible things happen in our country, but we seem to have turned a blind eye to the fact that there is a lot of good that is also happening. It's [the tattoo] just raising awareness and [a] call for our country to be one happy family,” she told TimesLIVE.

The entrepreneur and mother said she, along with her husband, had visited remote areas in the country to assist some unemployed people.

“My husband and I will be heading to Limpopo soon. This is just a way to get out of our comfort zones. We will be interacting with a lot of people and see how we can play a part,” she said.

She said she hoped the tattoo would also inspire her two-year-old son to be a good person who’d grow up to love and assist people irrespective of their skin colour.

She said she had recently been inspired by a man she'd met who was travelling to different parts of the country to spread love and to hand out food for the homeless.

“I was emotional. It's amazing to see people do well without expecting anything in return. There is hope,” she said.

O'Brien said she had received a considerable amount of criticism after getting the tattoo, but was unbothered.

“It is my body, and my choice. I made a conscious decision which I am certain I will not regret,” she said.

“That's commitment,” another group member was told when he shared his tat.

O'Brien said her tattoo took five minutes, cost R300 and was virtually painless. She has 22 tattoos across her body, all of which she said symbolised significant moments in her life — including the birth of her son and death of her sister.

While some people had decided to go, O'Brien said she had no intentions to leave SA.

“We have had this debate [leaving SA] with people in our circles a lot, we have an opportunity to do so but we are staying. This is our country, where our roots are, why should we leave it instead of doing good to improve it?” she added.


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