The #ImStaying movement we have come to know and love over the past year was officially birthed on 7 September 2019. Now, exactly a year later, the group has more than 1, 170 000 members who continue to share in the vision founder Jarette Petzer had a year ago.

Jarette Petzer

Over the past year, the #ImStaying Facebook group has been flooded with beautiful stories depicting real-life heroes, warriors beating the odds, the kindness of strangers, and the immense power of unity.  We celebrated together when the Bokke won the RWC and Zozibini was crowned Miss Universe. We have laughed at each other’s shenanigans and also offered support and guidance to one another in times of uncertainty.

In the year leading up to our first birthday, we celebrated with former domestic worker Nandipha Sithalanga when she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. We were overcome with joy when Isaiah and Sinead Harry shared their love story with us and even more so when they announced that they got married during lockdown. Together, we lived vicariously through Josh and Caroline and marveled at the compassion of little Joshua Roos.

Nandipha Sithalanga

In just 365 days we moved mountains. We saw South Africans from all walks of life participate in various campaigns and challenges, some initiated by us, and others by our creative and compassionate members.

The #TipChallenge brought tears to the eyes and warmth to the hearts of South Africans over Christmas while the #Layby challenge saw the laybys of many unsuspecting Pep customers be paid off just in time for the new school year.

In the past 12 months we have donated blood together, stalked pensioners, saved electricity, and bought stationery for underprivileged children. We have paid for groceries, made jars of love, and donated money to the community of Mfuleni. The incredibly-successful #VouchForYou campaign saw lockdown-relief vouchers issued to thousands of vulnerable families across the country during the early stages of the pandemic.

On 14 July we even launched the official #ImStaying book entitled #ImStaying – The unspoken impact of the ImStaying movement!!

I #VouchForYou Campaign

Since the group was formed a year ago, nearly 95,000 posts appeared on the group. 10.5 million comments were made, and members reacted to the content on the group a whopping 104.8 million times.

While the past year was not without obstacles we had to navigate it was a year filled with Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.  Without you, our loyal members, none of it would have been possible. Today is as much an occasion for celebration for you as it is for us.

Happy birthday, #ImStaying. Here’s to many more!

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