Boom or Bust ..

Much is happening at a lickety-split pace. Not just on the political front here, there and everywhere but also on my own home ground, i.e. in myself, in part because of epic sagas both near and far.

Our newly elected president, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, has agreed to land expropriation without compensation. It will be implemented according to the Constitution, to return land to the previously dispossessed. He has stated – I heard him say it – that it is an original sin, the historical possession of land by ‘others’ enabling dispossession of original land dwellers. Obviously this is a highly complex and delicate matter. But it gave me pause when he said about original sin and therefore the urgency to address this wound and make compensation.

Dispossession of persons of ancestral land is a grave sin indeed – 

Many are very disturbed about this. There’s been a bit of a panicked knee-jerk reaction. I am hopeful that ALL come to the table (including those whining about it) as Mr. Ramaphosa has requested, to start finding workable solutions. Many feel extremely threatened. Sadly, there’s already been some grabbing of land, illegally, even by violent means by the thuggery that is part of our landscape. The state actually owns a high percentage of the land; many of our indigenous people own land and the ‘white’ landowner represents a small percentage by comparison ..

I sit between shaky faith and doubt.  We have a sound justice system, sound constitution, a free press, intelligent observers and political analysts and activists from all sides. We know that the world has its eye on us. That’s not an inflated comment. Those that matter and have influence in the wider world are watching us very keenly. But more significantly, we as South Africans know somewhere in our bones, that this is Boom or Bust time … 

We had a very serious listeria bacteria outbreak here that caused the deaths of approximately 180 people out of over 4000 cases of  reported cases. Its source was recently detected to a local food plant where the bacteria was found in cold meats, salamis, viennas, polony and such like – processed foods. This is a form of cheap protein and is eaten by the less economically advantaged, the poor. It has affected mainly small children and the elderly whose immunity system is compromised. I read somewhere that 4 people recently died from listeria infected melons in Australia ..  

Death has been a part of my particular landscape this last little while. A few funerals in the last two weeks. Hearing of people who I know, dying suddenly, in spite of being in good health. Not from listeria, from other causes.

This was my younger son’s recent Facebook post in a store. I don’t know what to call it – satire?  It appeared unexpectedly on a day that I was thinking this very same thing about life and death and the necessity for keeping death alive on one’s left shoulder. Soft cheeses are also implicated in this outbreak.

”I feel so alive.

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Our health department was under fire, not only for this, but also for a tragedy that should never have happened i.e. the removal of psychiatric patients from their places of safety to other places where they were not adequately cared for, nor their families notified, and many died because of terrible management. It is a stain on our country. Heads rolled.

As I write, heads are rolling in many state departments. Ministers and minions are finally being called to account as the evidence of State Capture (read corruption) is being exposed for what it is. Billions lining the pockets of thieves in State Owned Enterprises.

The water crisis situation in Cape Town & surrounds is a 1000 times less dire than it was in January, when Day Zero was looming and overshadowing everything. People are more water-wise and plans are afoot to redress not only the incompetence by the Department of Water but also to effect desalination, already underway. There’s been a little recent rain in Cape Town! Dams are still dangerously low though –

The firing of Rex Tillerson US; Theresa May, UK prime minister firing Russian diplomats because of the nerve agent recently seriously disabling 2 Russians in Salisbury UK, and more recently, a police officer; and the firing of incompetent ministers here in SA, brings to mind being ‘in the line of fire’. Which, while it strictly means the bullet being fired and aimed at one, can be stretched into a metaphor. The dice are loaded, like guns are, there are triggers all over the world, we get triggered by personal and impersonal situations.

With thoughts of so many innocent and injured people dispossessed in ongoing war-torn countries, dispossession of people from their rightful lands historically, I can only keep a candle alight within …

“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Thank you for reading. Today is the Ides of March. Autumn (Fall) is approaching here in the southern hemisphere, Spring in the northern hemisphere. Betwixt and between – changing seasons – May the Force be with you all.


45 Comments on Boom or Bust

  1. Dearest Susan, I’m far behind in reading because of my trip and the poor internet connection there, plus I wanted a break. Then I returned home to family chaos, not to speak of the way the government here is becoming more and more unhinged. I’m glad I didn’t miss this powerful blog. We keep thinking it can’t get any worse, and then it does. I’m glad you have that candle lit. I have mine lit, too. I’m proud of the young ones here who are standing for their lives. One hard thing about being in AZ was I was too far away to attend a March for Our Lives. I want to show up with my body and my heart. I’ll be there next time.

    • So good of you to come by dear Elaine and a very big welcome home! May the family chaos resolve itself soon … it sounds alarming. I hope all safe and sound, the dogs too. And that you find time to rest & re-orient yourself. Yes, things do get worse – daily – on all levels here as well. Seems as if the powers of destruction are having a field day. May your candle keep its flame going. Lord knows we need it.

  2. I’m not sure how I missed this post when it came out, but here I am and so glad for it. I’m afraid news of your country is hard to come be here in the US. I get the headlines — Zuma facing charges — but miss much. Your candle shines on and lets me see.

    • Thanks Janet for coming by – the news changes every day – 🙂 – we find it quite exhausting as no doubt you do too in the US with your news – we get CNN which is not necessarily the best source of US news but we have many major other networks and get news when and if we tune in. Have a blessed Easter – hope the weather’s warming up!

  3. As an ex South African ( I left at age 20 during Apartheid era) it is very interesting to read your post about the current state of affairs. I appreciate how you juxtapose world events.

    Land appropriation sadly is one of the greatest historical and modern day tragedies in so many places in the world. And climate change is another. We will need to brace ourselves as we move forward.


    • Thanks Peta for coming by .. what I find encouraging is that countries are beginning to look at their history untold in e.g. the school books and exposing the real stories & tragedies hidden behind the scenes. They’re being confronted by the ‘truths’ and in many instances are willing even if fearful to look it headlong in the eye … so we brace ourselves – lovely word!

      I’ve signed to receive your blog, thank you …

  4. Hi Susan, felt sad reading this post of yours, so many lives lost, and yes death always brings a sense of emptiness and loss, here too in our country too there is so much happenings against the minorities, churches are destroyed, statues broken in some parts due to religious fundamentalism. The news paper too is filled with accidents, suicides, rape and murder. sometimes I don’t feel like reading the newspaper too as it gives me a feeling of helplessness. I am trying to keep shifting my focus to the good things however small to be positive in my outlook. My prayers for you and the families of the lost ones….. the decisions with regard to the land expropriation without compensation by the president sounds challenging…. I only pray for your country and the people who are going to be impacted by this…. and thanks for being so open in your sharing. I loved the first quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. wishing you love, peace and harmony susan:)

    • Thank you Genevive for coming by, I appreciate this and share your feelings of helplessness by what actually happens to innocent people who get caught in the crossfire of our inhumanity. This happens too in our country, burning of schools, statues – destruction on a large scale. What a strange and troubling world we live in … all the more reason reason to keep the inner fire burning and doing what we can to shine a light as you do … Thank you for your prayers for our country Genevieve and I pray for yours too. Things MUST come right but o my goodness, this is a very slow turning wheel. Love to you dear Genevive –

  5. It seems to me, Susan, that we take one step forward and two steps back. Destroying all credibility on our government and its ability to protect business, industry and private ownership rights is very detrimental to foreign investment resulting in more unemployment and crime. It is impossible to address past wrongs in such a manner or the economies of the entire world will fail. Every day at work I here of more educated young people leaving for countries with more stability. It is a very sad as I see less and less hope for this country.

    • Much to consider in the wake of CR’s latest attempt to redress the wrongs of the past Robbie I agree. Plus the EFF’s outbursts – plus plus plus … plus Australia’s wanting to give free visas to SA (white) farmers .. 🙂 And no doubt the latest news that zuma will face the courts and pay for his own legal fees will surely mean more and more delays … But I honestly do believe that somehow as South Africans we will weather this storm – and as I write a lovely huge one on the go and masses of rain .. 🙂 And let’s face it, Esimideni and listeriosis are terrible tragedies that shouldn’t have happened ..

    • Diana, I have only now on 29th March found your comment in my spam folder on my blog. I am so sorry. Thank you so much for coming by, I much appreciate it.

  6. Yes, the same issues regarding death due to illness, theft due to corporate rulings and theft of indigenous lands, are present here in the United States. We have a corrupt President who says anything that comes into his mouth without thinking nor does he follow through on his word. There is much turmoil taking place in our country. Looking out at the world makes me feel sad. I want to be like a turtle and keep my head in my shell. However, I see positive things too… the children protesting the gun laws. They will be voting soon… YEAAA!! The flowers are beginning to bloom and the sun has been visiting instead of the rain, so there is love and hope in the world too. I have to remember to look for the GOOD in life rather than concentrating on the bad or sad… to keep Hope Alive!

    • Hi Gwynn, yup chaos is in the air here there and everywhere … we’re aware what’s happening in the US and are thrilled at what the youth are doing in protest. AND as you say soon they’ll be able to vote! Life seems to happen pretty fast these days, faster than I’ve ever experienced it. Makes me realise how important it is to appreciate the simpler things in life, and the stability of that. Fabulous that there is less rain and more sun and that blooms are appearing! Keep hope and love alive dear Gwynn xx and thank you for coming by 🙂

  7. I couldn’t get to this post yesterday. I’m not sure my reply will go through. I’ve read a little in our provincial newspaper about things going on in your country. I hesitate to name it, because that might trigger a rejection. I was praying for you and had no way to let you know. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this will get through.

    • Anne that’s so dear thank you!! It’s come through – I hope my response gets through to you! I think things will be alright – it may take time. Time for cool heads and warm hearts. Have a lovely weekend.

  8. Dear Susan, Thank you. Instinctively, you recognise its now “boom or bust” time in your country, as the tension of opposites (above and below) gather themselves in confrontational skirmishes. I agree with another reader, the rest of the world surely gets a more diluted version of current events, than the version you so willingly share with us on your wonderful, “Garden of Eden” blog.

    I love what your son says about death and living, such wise words. Yesterday, I read, “Become a Warrior, not a Worrier” and these words came to mind as I read your post with a heavy heart for the many people who have recently died. I’m sorry for your recent losses. Hmm, sometimes, a real mean wind comes down doesn’t it! Scattering everything and everyone in its powerful wake.

    During those times I (try to!) remember to take refuge in whatever inspires, calms and nourishes me. At times it’s a dream image or a symbol that I focus on. Often I bring to mind a dream I once had of finding an oyster. It was so ugly on the outside and yet on opening, I fell to my (dreaming) knees at the beauty and magnificence within. A brief yet dazzling moment of grace! In soul, Deborah.

    • Deborah, I am always amazed how you pinpoint an issue – honestly, I had not thought of being caught between the opposites! Or seen myself as in the tension of them! Which of course it is!

      As I write, just back from work, the headline news is about the former president who WILL be facing the charges brought against him, a mere 783 if I remember correctly. Which he has artfully yet crookedly avoided for all this time. An example of the wheels of justice working well. This is good news.

      Davey’s FB post was a satirical one. He sometimes uses his platform to make a political point. But the point was made by my musical philosopher son.

      I LOVE the image of the oyster – finding the pearl! As we can do at times when the opening is found, many times on the outside. There is such a magnificence in that!

      Have a lovely weekend soulful friend xx

  9. It’s always interesting to hear your balanced perspective on these issues, Susan. Many of which touch us here too. Our immigration minister has come under fire for giving preference to white SA farmers over other refugees. Yes, we had a listeria tragedy too – actually five lives have now been lost here – from eating rockmelon. Who’d have thought.
    I am sorry to hear of the sudden deaths of your friends.
    I’m pleased the water situation in Cape Town has improved, and hope the situation in SA altogether improves greatly – boom rather than bust.
    You are right about the triggers all over the world. It’s good to see that some are being more vocal for peaceful measures as preferred options.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Enjoy the weekend.

    • Norah, I have only now this night of 29 March found your comment on this post. In the spam – maybe a reminder to us all to check our spam folders from time to time. I was searching for something else and INadvertently came across a couple of comments in the spam. Yes, I heard about listeriosis in Australia from rock melon and I’m sorry to hear of deaths. Peter Duncan (I think that’s his name – your immigration minister?) urging SA white farmers to come to Australia, giving preference over other refugees. Which has caused a ruckus here I can tell you! (let alone the recent cricket debacle).

      Easter is upon us … may yours be blessed and peaceful. Thank you for coming by –

  10. Sorry for all the deaths, Susan–those known to you–and those of your country people. Things do seem betwixt and between, bordering on chaos. Yes, keep the fire burning.

    • Thanks Merril – the borders seem to be both visible and invisible which makes it extra tricky. Who knows what goes on. It’s Friday – couple cups of coffee under the belt and all is well. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  11. Sigh. As usual you’ve discussed the issues in a reasonable way, but knowing how things are versus feeling how things are is a cognitive divide. My mind understands, but my heart is heavy. There will be light soon, yes?

    • Yes that divide will always be (sigh) Ally Bean until such time as the heart and mind are in synch? That’s my little flame …I think & feel … thank you for coming by, and have a lovely weekend.

  12. Some days it feels like the ship is tilting in every possible direction and you just don’t know where to hang on. So much sad, bad and mad-making news slamming into us, and yet some people, like you, always seem willing to find that spark of hope and share it.

    I really like your comment above: “The shadows cast by the past are long. The past may be past but it is still very much in the present.” It’s so true, and recognizing that truth is critical to finding a way forward.

    • You’ve made my day Kern by visiting! Lovely to see you! Thank you for coming by 🙂

      (Mad, Bad & Sad – A History of Women & the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present is the title of a book by Lisa Appignanesi just fyi!) But yes, much to make us mad bad & sad …That ship image that tilts whichever way is pretty graphic … hopefully we find the small still flame to hang on to …

  13. I am reading your blog and another tragedy, in So Florida is being covered on TV. This is a collapsed pedestrian bridge that has not yet opened. At least eight cars have been flattened by the weight of that concrete structure. So much negativity around the world. Keeping an upbeat attitude is a challenge at times, but we must carry on.

    Our young people are our leaders presently. They are standing up to the powerful NRA and the politicians who sponsor their agenda. I’m in love with American students, who simply want to live without fear of violence. Many NRA members are posting ugly comments about those children. What is wrong with them? Do they love their weapons so much that the lives of others don’t count? Do they live in such fear that they feel a gun collection, for protection, is more valuable than human life. I’m confused, I think.

    It’s wonderful that land is being returned to indigenous people. I only hope it will be better living conditions than those reservations in the USA. Here, they will plow right through a Rez to drill for oil or dig up for pipes to carry that damn petroleum.

    I always learn so much by reading your messages. Love you, Girl.

    • Hello Marsha. I heard about the pedestrian bridge collapsing last night. An awful tragedy. We had a similar collapse of pedestrian bridge about 2 years ago, also in its final stages of completion, onto cars underneath … the legal case continues …

      I follow the student marches – bravo to them. And to anyone who stands against the NRA. I know it’s big business and they donate to whoever is in power. And the 2nd amendment and the right to own guns – though from what I remember there is something in that statement that questions the validity of unparalleled use? The youth WILL bring about changes, they already are.

      Re land being returned – we’ve been doing this a long time (opposition parties being the most effective though hampered by bureaucracy, ineptitude of the previous govt.). It’s a stain on all countries that blast through homelands for oil pipelines – and the aftermath of leaking ones – we simply HAVE to protest!

      Oh dear – on the SA side we get veeerrrry vocal when they want to drill for shale gas in pristine areas and uproot people. Or build nuclear power stations when renewables are surely the answer.

      Well, enough of lamenting on my side Marsha. May you have a lovely weekend in spite of it all xx love to you dear friend …

  14. The land expropriation sounds dangerously similar to what happened in Zimbabwe in the early 2000s, which turned into violent ugliness. Hopefully this isn’t the case again.

    Thanks for keeping your candle burning. The world needs more like you.

    • Yes Holli, the comparison can’t be helped. The farmers in Zimbabwe who were kicked off their lands went elsewhere to neighbouring countries and are now being begged to return. We will surely not make the same mistake. It’s a very complicated process …

      Have a lovely weekend! – and thank you for coming by …

  15. Blessings to you for keeping me abreast of news in South Africa. I doubt that the New York Times could do as thorough and fair a job of interpreting the facts and implications thereof than you do here.

    My condolences to you on the deaths of friends. Whether they are acquaintances or close relatives, the loss is often very hard.

    I clicked on your son’s Facebook page and found your comment. Yes, the young don’t often think so philosophically, enmeshed as they are in the thick of things. Thanks for all of this, Susan!

    • Thanks Marian for coming by. Before anything else, thanks for clicking on Davey’s FB post – my comment was tongue in cheek as the food company is called ‘Enterprise’ – hence my enterprise comment, which somehow I don’t think he has seen. David often uses his musical platform to make political comment …

      Thank you for your condolences re deaths of friends and acquaintances.

      What I ever say re SA is merely the tip of the iceberg Marian!

      I’m very sorry to hear last night of the pedestrian bridge crashing in Miami near the university. This is awful. We had this happen a few years ago – looks like the same sort of thing, pedestrian bridge falling onto cars –

      Have a lovely weekend.

      • I should have mentioned that Enterprise is a brand name under that of Tiger Brands which is an international company –

  16. Thanks for reminding me to keep that little fire burning! May all the hidden little fires merge into a conflagration for healing change. Blessings, Jeanie

    • i like the image of all the little flames burning and a healing conflagration Jeanie, thank you! Blessings to you and thanks for coming by –

  17. I heard about the repossession of land in SA. That’s frightening. What our press said was it applies to farms, not the ground on which your purchased home is built. So complicated.

    • Yes, to farms is correct Jacqui. But also elsewhere. The inner city (Johannesburg) is being transformed and derelict buildings are being rebuilt to house the homeless. I haven’t been downtown but I hear thanks to the mayor’s dedication that it is as clean as a pin … Likewise in Cape Town’s surrounds, those these efforts have been underway for a long while already thanks to active opposition parties –

  18. Hi Susan – it’s understanding we need and some form of working things through – the same is happening here with the First Nations.

    If everyone had a way to earn a living and sufficient money for their family with their line of work … be it new small enterprises, or growth areas we’d all rest easier … and adjust more easily to sorting our challenges out.

    I haven’t got life sorted out here … but need to be in touch with friends in SA – I just hope things come through for me and then I can be in touch with friends etc …

    It’s good to hear what’s happening … so thank you for letting us know here … cheers for now – Hilary

    • I know a little about First Nations and Canada Hilary. Lovely to hear it from you. There are all sorts of potentials, mentor programmes for would be farmers near eg newly established small cities with all the necessities, schools, clinics etc a sort of mini-urban area although farming, unless it’s in the blood as it is in many of our people may be a challenge too far. Give a man a fish or teach him how to fish comes to mind .. we will have to wait and see ..

      I hope too that you can be and are in touch with friends … Susan

  19. Some bad sounding stuff here. Land appropriation without compensation sounds like as much of a sin as the dispossession if it happened before the landowner’s acquisition of that land. Knowing and understanding history is one thing, but making those in the present pay for the faults of their predecessors is not a right solution either. Now is now and what we make of now is what makes a nation successful. Can’t do anything about changing the past.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Thanks Arlee for your comment. It’s extremely delicate. Personally, I think this is a deep wound that needs healing. The shadows cast by the past are long. The past may be past but it is still very much in the present. It’s a paradox but there it is. Yes, the sins of the forefathers leave a heavy burden on their descendants. But I have hope that wise measures taken will enable a win-win outcome.

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