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.

Malusi Thabethe to #ImStaying

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.

Yokohama Port

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.

 

 

42 Comments on Winds of Change

  1. Dear Susan, I am sorry about the challenges you are facing. I and the world have been following Greta Thunberg. You said it well about speaking to our minds and hearts. Despite challenge, I also read “hope” in your story. The “ordinary” human will prevail amidst the challenges. Listening and sharing Maluku Thabethe’s voice is making a difference. You are making a difference, Susan. xx

    • Thank you Erica. Yup, the challenges around the world are huge. I’m not sure ours here in South Africa are any worse or less. There;s a huge wave taking place right now of the #imstaying, people from all walks of life, rich and poor, black, white, colored, Indian, whatever, affirming their belief in this country in spite of it all. We truly KNOW that this copuntry can work. It’s the people coming together and not bowing down to the ‘divide and rule’ message from those who want to retain power. Have a lovely week Erica and thank you again xx

  2. There’s no doubt these are challenging times, and it too often feels like we’re all on the precipice of overwhelm. But I, too, am encouraged by Wilde’s observation, and the resiliency of humans whose strength and hope shine so brightly even in the darkest times. I love how you’ve found those sparks of inspiration and comfort that help ease some of the heaviness. And I’m glad to hear your foot is on the mend. These times call for exquisite self-care for all our bodies – and I wish that for you whole-heartedly.

    • Thank you Deborah for coming by … my sister (also a Debora) is visiting from yesterday only for a day or so, and when we went walking with her small dogs at the market up the road and later on the beach, she was so entranced at the reaction of people and children to the poodles. People would get down low and talk to the dogs, and engage in such warm and friendly chat. She said last night how lovely the people are – full of genuine smiles and good hearts. I think this is contagious …

      That’s pretty wise about how these times call for exquisite self care … tooo many are not well , auto immune illnesses etc. I had my first walk in ages yesterday and my foot stood up to it so I think it’s pretty well mended thank you.

  3. When darkness surrounds us it’s easy to give in to it, but your attitude here suggests you”re made of stronger stuff. I sometimes wonder about the why of it all, but like you said “it’s the people mostly, their energy, their diversity, their ordinary human ubuntu kindness” that I realize is the best in all of humanity– and I feel better as I/we deal with the darkness. There is light, you have to look for it and acknowledge it.

    • Thanks Ally Bean for coming by … South Africans of all hues and stripes have had their backs against the wall so many times, but we rise and rise again. Obviously not just South Africans, but this is one of our characteristics. I forget sometimes when I get the glooms, but the light is there even in our darkest hour … and, as you say, ‘you (me) have to look for it and acknowledge it’. That’s important – thank you for the reminder 🙂

    • Thanks Donna for coming by – I appreciate your lovely comment. Little by little, bit by bit, slowly we get to the end of it … I’m am verrrrry hopeful that SA will turn the tide.

  4. It’s good to hear from you, Susan. I love this quote: ‘Where there is sorrow, there is Holy Ground’ – Oscar Wilde
    When you list what’s going on in South Africa, I realize we have a mess in the United States but not nearly that level of lawlessness, at least in NY State. This doesn’t surprise me and we may be heading in that direction here. I hope/pray not. I understand the need to walk away our anxiety and stress & hope you heal quickly. Our bodies become more fragile, it seems, no matter what we do. And the whole world feels fragile now. It was uplifting to go to the Climate Strike on Friday and see the usual gray heads at protests overwhelmed by the many, many young people of various skin tones and with great signs. They give me hope because they have hope. Hope is fuel for action.
    Be well and keep taking care of yourself.

    • Thanks Elaine for coming by. I’m awfully aware that I/we live in a protected bubble but that this is not so for the majority of South Africans. 25 years of democracy and we’ve gone forwards in many respects eg electricity, water, schools, clinics but backwards in that schools leave much to be desired by way of teachers and infrastructure etc, clinics badly maintained and falling down – not all but far too many. The politicians promised everything would be free around election time – the sad thing is that the general population believed them and thus the rogues were re-elected …

      Yes, cities in SA took part in climate change marches last Friday … we’ll be doing a smaller one here in Plettenberg Bay this Friday, meeting on one of the beaches I gather. It’s school holidays so I bet there’ll be kids and oldies!

      You too take care 🙂

  5. Turmoil, challenges and obstacles overcome–that’s my September too. You always capture the essence of life in South Africa from politics, people and nature.

    I finally finished my Eagle Peak Annual (formerly a quarterly for 17 issues). Meanwhile, I had a toenail removed from my right big toe–it was growing oddly. The podiatrist said I didn’t really need it! Surprised was I–even more by the relative lack of pain. No dancing or walking about for me either. It’s only been a week.

  6. Wow! What a difficult post this must’ve been to write Susan as your opening lines alone fill me with heaviness, anger and sorrow! And yet by the end of this wonderful piece and with great writing, there you are … not only holding the tension of the opposites but bringing in much needed balance at this time of the year … which feels like this task is definitely one of your strong suits in life, no wonder you started your own writing blog!

    I’m mesmerised by the imagery of the ancient shofar and how it’s still used to deliver collective messages to communities in these dark times. I want to shout out myself … “Listen up world! If we’re not careful we’re all gonna end up when we’re heading!” And where would that be? Extinction! Hmm, I guess it’s no surprise that the socio-political movement “Extinction Rebellion” named their organisation the way they did!

    Here at the sacred still point of the autumnal / spring equinox holding onto the tension of the opposites feels almost unbearable today and yet we must if we are to emerge through this stormy period in her/story. And we must never forget the other side of hate, fear and badness, nor forget our own dark / light shadow and know what we are capable of too!

    Interestingly, I’m reading “The Other Side of Illness” by Albert Kreinheder, a feelings-intuitive (Jungian) approach to physical illness. Re: your left foot …last week I fell off my bike and bruised my ribs and when later I connected to the story of Adam (think Garden of Eden) and how Eve was created … I began to explore my wound is a new way. If you haven’t already read this one Susan I would highly recommend it!

    This is such excellent writing and well worth the wait. Hope your foot keeps on healing and that you get lots of rich replies (which I enjoy reading!) Oh and I enjoyed the prose poem … what an inspiring message! Hashtag #ImStaying, I love that! Love and light, Deborah

    • Such a wonderful comment Deborah thank you so much! Was it difficult to write? It was in a way because there was much I wanted to say and I was aware of it being long from about half way through. But Malusi Thabete’s #Imstaying contribution got me fired up plus I was already starting to feel better and brighter health wise even among the sturm and drang of our country. The #Imstaying has exploded – people WANT this country to work and are doing so much to make this happen. We’re all aware of the crippling corruption and yet in spite of it, we want to go forward in unity, not in racial divisiveness. The shadow is dark indeed, but there’s light there for sure – and there’s always gold in it if we do the work to find it.

      The tension of the opposites – yes, thank you for saying. I hadn’t made that connection.

      I’m sorry to hear about your ribs – ouch – they can take a while to settle. So look after them! Lovely to think of ribs and Adam. I’m trying to look at my foot injury in a psychological way; it’s not the first time its come short. The last time some years ago I had to wear a moon boot! Mmmmm, you’ve reminded me of my bicycle in the garage – last time I got on it and turned into a side street, I rode right into some bushes. No damage, it was funny – we laughed and laughed!

      Thanks for saying about The Other Side of Illness … I’ll look it out.

      Happy Equinox Day to you! Love, light, blessings and thank you to you 🙂

  7. How nice to read your post after a very long time susan, thank you for sharing so much about yourself as well.. I like the tone of your post, beginning with so many not no good things to be happy about and gradually looking ar the positive side of life. Hope you recover soon and its always a pleasure to read your post. I am inspired by the definition of South Africa… so much happening every where but there’s still light within and hoping to make it burn despite of whatever is surrounding me an our country… its all a mixed feeling – I went for a funeral of a friend in the early hours of evening and celebrated the birthday of a little child in the neighbourhood. ..the same day late night… .. this month was a busy month for me, i came back from bangalore and was glad to be part of the suicide prevention rally and could counsel, teach and manage my health too… the weather change has brought in dengue, malaria, typhoid back in the city… there are deaths.. I
    managed recover from cold and fever… glad to be alive 🙂 reminding myself there ‘s a lot more to life than worrying ….Take care susan, wishing you speedy recovery.

    • ‘…there’s still light within…’ – your lovely words Genevive thank you. May it burn ever more brightly. How extraordinary and meaningful that you experienced a death and a birthday in the same day. I’m glad to hear you got over the cold and fever and that you were part of the suicide prevention rally, though sorry to hear about the dengue malaria and typhoid and the deaths from it in your city. Do take care of yourself Genevive and your lovely husband David and daughter Dorothy who is as beautiful as you. All is well in my neck of the woods right now … we’re making plans to do a bit of travelling later on in the week. xox

  8. dear susan, the winds of change are stirring the pot and we see so much so wrong such suffering and it distresses us, and rightly so for we are human and we care. I took the grandchildren to the climate rally on friday and was moved to tears several times – the school children were /are impressive, clear passionate informed intelligent wise and I thought they are this because we are this. and as you point out amid all the horrors people good kind creative people are staying , are making a difference and are challenging the despotic corrupt regimes all over this beautiful planet. stay grounded susan and keep your spirits up – mother earth needs everyone of us now to care. xx

    • Thanks Sandra, yes the winds of change are blowing, sometimes steadily sometimes fiercely and it’s about time. The time may come when we really realise that politicians – mostly – do not have the populations’ best interests at heart. It’s a corrupt business. The children are indeed our future and in the meantime we do as best we to clean up the messes made in our time. Maybe it’s also the nature of unintended consequences but that just shows our lack of foresight and insight. Here in my country the young are also making their mark – the elderly too – everyone really as we pick up the pieces and try to leave behind a better place … have a lovely week 🙂 xx

  9. Thank you for writing about yourself and your country. I rarely see international news, but I knew there was a lot of unrest in South Africa. Hope your foot is back to normal quickly.

    • It is helping people come together Susan! That hashtag post has exploded. People are responding from their hearts. Most South Africans want to get along with each other. As I suspect that people around the world do ..

    • Thanks Mike. Hope the #comicconafrica talk of yours went well and look forward to hearing about it when you’re back in Plett.

  10. I’m so sorry for what you’re experiencing in South Africa. The world seems to be heading toward total insanity and destruction.

    (I hope this message goes through.)

    • Thanks Marsha but our mainly glorious diverse and wonderful people will keep us going. We’re mostly good and kind people. Our politicians have racist agendas and other agendas to divide us. They’re the crooks allowing lawlessness to take root – not effective at all in leadership roles. They speak with forked tongue.

  11. I worry about you, Susan. There is so much changing in your neck of the world. But you aren’t alone. Hongkong is buried in protests, Paris with their Yellow Vests. Something has happened all over the world. I am thankful when you post, even one not as upbeat as usual.

    I’m glad you might be making progress on your foot. Those are awful.

  12. A very thoughtful post, Susan. We returned from peaceful and beautiful Scotland on 31 August to enter a world of xenophobic unrest, looting and murder. Terence and I were scheduled to go to Budapest on Saturday, 7 September for work purposes and I didn’t want to go. I was so scared for my family and my children’s safety. The worst part for me is that although I pay massive taxes, I feel defenseless as if no-one who is paid to protect me and mine cares at all. If we were attacked they would stand by and watch. I am glad so many people still have hope.

    • I’m glad that your Scotland trip gave you respite Robbie from all that is happening here in SA. Neil my husband was in Scotland for several weeks on a golf trip and checking out family roots, in August. He loved his time there and was quite unaware of going’s on here. I’m sorry you didn’t make your Budapest trip because of safety concerns for your family. I wonder when the time will come when those of us who pay taxes (a very small percentage of the population) will say, No, NO MORE TAXES until we KNOW that they are used for the purpose we pay them.

        • No, I don’t know … I do know of some people who, in their municipalities said no to paying rates and taxes and took matters such as repairs of dams and roads into their own hands using their own money which went into a trust used to pay contractors of their choice …

  13. This is a GREAT post and I think some of the actions in So. Africa mirror what is taking place here in the U.S. I’m learning how greedy politicians are, or have become, I don’t know which. Sadly, we hear about the trauma in the world, but it is important to also look for the positive like the people working to clean up the waters of the world and the beaches.

    I am glad your foot is doing better. I had plantar fasciitis so I know how painful your foot can be. I have great exercises that help my foot as my physical therapist and the internet taught me what to do to help myself.

    Otherwise, I feel like Humpty Dumpty who just fell off the wall. I’m trying to put the pieces together again. Aging is NOT going the way I had it planned. However, I have to keep looking for ways to help myself.

    Your positive outlook is fabulous! We need to commiserate over a cup of tea.

    • Thanks for coming by Gwynn. I agree, world wide events are dire and troubling which makes the call for each of us to be alert And to heed how best we can look after ourselves with regard to our health and centre. Soul centre if you like. While doing what we can within our own sphere of influence eg refusing goods wrapped in plastic.

      Humpty Dumpty – I know that feeling well.

      Thank you for your good wishes re my foot. I’m convinced it’s getting better. And here’s to coffee and your chocolate chip cookies.Take good care of your sweet self.

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