Winds of Change
What a strange, unsettling and uncomfortable month September has been. Pretty awful in many ways. Femicide, filicide, xenophobia, murders most foul, rape, gender based violence, racism, weak and divisive political leadership, destructive protests, looting, burning, ongoing commissions of enquiry with none being imprisoned. That’s just in my neck of the woods. The recent death of Robert Mugabe, past president of Zimbabwe has had political sycophants here excelling themselves in praising him for liberating Rhodesia. That man was a murderous thug, who enriched himself at the expense of Zimbabweans.
To add to my gloom, I injured my left foot some days ago so any walking has been anything but of the ‘out and about’ kind. Gone was my plan of walking on the beach, getting fit, losing a bit of weight. Gone was my plan of looking for a lovely outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding in Johannesburg. The thought of wearing a moon boot instead of slinky sparkly heeled shoes brought my spirits even lower. Ah vanity –
Are the winds of change upon us? The Global March in many parts of the world on Friday, initiated by Greta Thunberg, the young 16 year old Swedish lass already several months ago, speaks not only to our minds but to our hearts as well. Who can not fail to be moved by her addressing the climate change crisis, fearlessly, clearly, truthfully, calling out those in power who appear to have no concern about the future of Mother Earth and her inhabitants.
The 23rd September, tomorrow, the equinox, when for a moment the axis stands still before it turns, heralding new seasons in both the north and south hemispheres.
A deepening in the northern hemisphere, an arising in the southern hemisphere. Can we hope for peaceful change of the seasons, and in the world?
The upcoming Rosh Hashanah on the 29th September which marks – by the blowing of the shofar – the beginning of the world in prayer and self reflection. It is one of the two High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar, culminating in Yom Kippur.
A few things helped to lift my personal gloom. The one was our local Ndlovu Youth Choir and their performance at America’s Got Talent (AGT – could also stand for Africa’s Got Talent). The energy of these young people from impoverished communities, their wonderful costumes, the way they were received by audiences, their being in the finals, their homecoming this last Friday, was joyous. There is no other word. All thanks are due to Dr. Hugo Templeman, the conductor of this 40 strong choir, and musical director Ralf Schmitt.
Another thing that has lifted my spirits immeasurably is a tag that my son recently linked me to on Facebook. It’s the #ImStaying tag. It was begun only 2 weeks ago with a small ‘membership’ and now it has reached epic proportions. The personal experiences of South Africans who’ve lived and travelled elsewhere in the world, or haven’t travelled at all, speak to my heart and mind. Each and every one (many thousands already) says why they’re staying – it’s the people mostly, their energy, their diversity, their ordinary human ubuntu kindness, the feeling of being one with the soil, the land and sea scapes, the wild life, the birds and bees and the swaying trees … The song and the dance – black and white like the yin yang symbol … people of all stripes and cultures standing up, tall and proud. Every reason to believe that South Africa will turn the tide.
This one below I came across this morning; it’s certainly one of the longer ones. Malusi Thabethe is a man with the heart of a poet and the strength of a lion. I hope you read it.
I define South African.
I am the child of the soil, the branch that grew from the seed that became a tree called South Africa.
I strive and strike to make my country the better one in Africa.
I am the remainder of the blacks that were burnt fighting for freedom and equality and their ashes gave birth to me.
I am the light that will shine tomorrow to give light to our generations regardless of their Race.
I am the doorman who is going to chase out Xenophobia from our beautiful Hotel South Africa and welcome my fellow African brother’s with open arms.
I am the product of the past of South Africa, but I am the future to the improved South Africa;
The South Africa that does not discriminate against any race,
where children feel safe to walk on their own, anytime without the fear of being abused.
The South Africa that have politicians who care more about the people than their own greed.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy on the street whose life depends on the crumbs on the bins and leftovers from strangers.
I see my fellow brothers who made it in life driving past me on a daily basis and they close their windows every time they see me.
I don’t blame them the Government is also closing the door to better life for all. Remember the one they promised us during Election campaigns?
Yes that very same door is closed and I have no choice but to stay on this streets.
I used to believe that my vote count, oh yes it does count when it matters but once counted they forgot about me and their promises.
I am now a disgrace to my fellow leaders and I am labeled a failure.
Yes I failed but you failed me and the entire society.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy who is doing 2 shifts to ensure that my family is well taken care off.
I work for less to ensure that tomorrow my children are able to generate more for themselves.
I slave myself out for their future which I am hoping would be better.
I don’t see them as I leave early and come back when they are asleep,
This is life of a typical South African man, work hard for your offspring and hope for the better.
Every morning I pray for their safety and sure hope that I will come back home safe.
This streets is full of vultures, it’s a dog eat dog country and the dog I am want to go back to my puppies safe every evening.
I walk in the valley of death, oh God are you still my Shepard? Or because my name is Shepard I need to be my own Shepard?
I live in fear every turn I make might be my last one and every time I see my child might be my last time.
I define South Africa.
I can write ten thousand things about my country but
I am Love
I am hope
I am Reconciliation
I am Faith
I am the Smiling Stranger on the street.
I am the Diversity
I am the Past
I am the FUTURE
I am Malusi Thabethe
I am South Africa
Winds of change – they’re in the air, and in the soil. They’re in the birth of books by a few of my internet friends who have published books recently. They went through the labours of writing, editing, proofs – and launched their creations into the world.***
The winds of change are about – people are more aware of non biodegradable items and refusing them. People are voluntarily cleaning up beaches, and other areas. People are pushing for change – not only pushing, they’re doing it themselves.
Tuesday is a public holiday here in South Africa. Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation.
South Africa is a rugby mad world (also soccer and cricket – women’s teams too; as well as tennis, music, dance, braaivleis). The opening of the Rugby World Cup was on Friday night SA time. It happens every 4 years and this time it is being hosted in Yokohama Japan, the first time that an Asian country has hosted the RWC. The opening ceremony was wonderful.
Sad to say, our Springboks lost to the All Blacks on Saturday midday SA time. But, all is by no means lost. The Springboks know that South Africa is behind them every inch of the way. There are still plenty of games ahead …
Other things that are uplifting for me, is that I saw a GP here in Plettenberg Bay this past Thursday. My husband had a separate appointment with him after mine. The GP examined my foot very carefully and tenderly and prescribed an x-ray and some blood tests to be done which I did first thing on Friday morning. As well as a strong short course of anti-inflammatories. On Thursday night son Mike joined us for supper prior to his flying to Johannesburg on Friday for the #comicconafrica annual convention at which he was incidentally giving a talk this Sunday afternoon at 3.00 p.m. Mike didn’t really know about how sore my foot was. He was very concerned and took my foot very gently in his hands and performed some Michael magic …
X-rays first thing Friday morning, bloods taken and a call from the GP around 1.00 that day to say there were no broken bones in my foot and no sign of a stress fracture. My bloods were all within normal range. Sugars good etc .. Already my foot started feeling better, and has become increasingly less painful in these last few days though I’m being careful with it. I wonder if in part at least, the fact that I took matters into my own hands (or foot) by making that GP appointment – putting my trust in a yet as ‘unknown other’ helped my recovery. Maybe it was I who needed to make the first step, in aiding it. Maybe I needed to be own shepherd/Shepard. I feel as if I’m on a better footing with the world.
There’ve been a few tragic deaths lately. A dear friend of mine’s husband died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. I know someone whose daughter died tragically. The clouds are dark indeed for them. It’s an unknown journey for them as they mourn and grieve deeply.
‘Where there is sorrow, there is Holy Ground’ – Oscar Wilde.
Thank you for reading; I know it’s a long post.
***For a few of my internet friends who’s newly birthed books have been launched into the world, all success with them! I’ll do a blog post fairly soon I hope and give you details. The authors are Jacqui Murray, Marian Beaman and Damyanti Biswas.