Joburg was quite an experience. It was euphoric to be momentarily part of a place that had been through so much yet managed to still show signs of promise. Thanks to RBOARF, I met quite a few young Africans that were thankfully not Nigerian. It was good to see the African diaspora, proud and ambituous. It was good to see people talking and thinking of a time when "Africa" as a whole will have so much and so many to boast about..
...And yet there were still the signs of bitterness and anger of a people recovering but not forgetting about a past filled with horror, death and pain. Restricting oneself to the city centres of Sandton and the like..you almost feel like the history is being drowned by the capitalist grasp of huge malls, dainty restaurants and fancy people. There have been progressive steps taken to address the imbalance in wealth distribution between the black and white South Africans so there are new cliques of young Africans awash with cash et al from the Corporate bees that have taken the South African city by storm. Nevertheless..the true wealth still lie with the white South Africans and that's obvious when you drive down roads in certain neighbourhoods or peer into many an expensive restaurant. There are still a lot of black South Africans immersed and held hostage by poverty in this city that's pregnant with the promise of things to come. How will these be given a chance?
Venturing into Soweto.I feel my blood rushing with the acknowledgement of the history in the air and the ground beneath me. It helped that we had Tebogo, who spent a lot of her childhood in this township. She's proud of where she's come from and she's eager to share and give us a little bit of what it is that makes Soweto special. We go to Freedom square to look at the tenets of the new South Africa and although we know that we still have a long way to go, we also acknowledge that a journey of a million miles starts with one foot step. We drove past some hostels where foreigners dare not venture near for fear of being clubbed to death but we also whiz past the hugest church I had ever seen which apparently doubles as a life style complex with shopping facilities, shelter and more.
We went to the Hector Pieterson museum, Hector being the first kid to be killed in the 1976 uprisings. One can't help but wonder how a human being can shoot down a child in cold blood and then go on to kill many others just because they stood for what they believed in. All because they asked was not to be taught in the slave masters language...Moving on painfully, because I'm not versed in South African history, I think about all the other wars in Africa that have been fought for unjustifiable causes..I think of how much Africa is still being manipulated by the powers that be.and I marvel at how we sit content in our silos..and do nothing..Blood, blood and more blood has been shed but still the war rages on..what to do?
Moving on to Vilakazi street, where Nelson Mandela once resided and Desmond Tutu still lives..we see the emergence of new business opportunities in the form of B&B's and tourist merchandise.We also get to see the grounds of Winnie Mandela's mansion heavily protected by guards...and I'm happy I came to Soweto..where women still gather in their nightgowns and hair nets early in the morning to discuss the past days events, where people still exude warmth and ambition even though they've been through so much..There's just something about the African spirit..We are just difficult to break..We keep on going..regardless..
Having lunch on Vilakazi street, I had to marvel at the number of sleek, new BMW's that drove past me. The nouveau rich who have left the township constantly flow in to show the people that they have "arrived"..I must have counted more than 200 BMW's and we only sat for a couple of hours. BMW have apparently opened up a plant in SA citing the demand for their cars as a good business reason. My SA friends tell me that there is no type of car that one can't find on the South African road..If it's been made, you will find it there..
After a beautiful meal served by the chirpiest waitress I have ever met (Elvis, one of the guys ordered a beer and she announced happily that he would have to be innovative in opening the bottle as the bottle opener has been mislaid earlier in the day! And she said this with a straight, happy face.), we headed back to the Joburg that most people know and acknowledge with the fancy restaurants, big malls and western taste..
All I can say is..RBOARF..Thank you for giving me Soweto.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
My phone went missing yesterday..Truthfully, I didn't even realise it was lost! I got a call on my BB from a friend who spoke to the good Samaritan that found and safe guarded my phone..Miracles happen..God looks after his own...The norm is reversed constantly..
I'm stubborn when it comes to insisting that one can spend one's life overcoming the odds and living out the dreams which most people dismiss because they seem to be far fetched or slightly unusual. To be fair, I've come to accept that quite a few people think I've naive and/or maybe a dreamer...and although I'll always argue..deep down..they can't be too far from the truth..
I'm finding that my thirst for pushing the boundaries is increasing as life gets along and it's exciting but still scary. Until very recently, I was sure I wanted a husband, a house and the kids just before I was thirty..But now I'm really not so sure..I think about having a soul mate and I'm happy and excited but then I think about routine, school fees and household bills and then it all breaks down..There's so much out there and I haven't even begun to scratch the surface..I have this intense curiosity about people, their culture..the things that drive them..the way they do things...
As much as I am very guilty of subscribing to stereotypes..the times that I've been decent enough to think..I've been pleasantly surprised! People are always people and I'm convinced somehow that everybody has a heart and is capable of good even if they've chosen to do evil..Why do people go down the wrong path? At what point does the innocent child become a thief/murderer or anger filled and full of hate. I've come to realised that the world is the way it for a reason. People will never get along..The Palestine and Israeli conflict will continue to be fuelled by people who look the same but have rallied around different agenda's. We will all pick where our loyalties lie and rally round a cause plus be prepared to die for it. Miscommunication will always breed divorce and the world will continue to be stuck in a vicious circle where people focus on "I" and forget the "we" that would make more sense..
Is the world wrong? Who can be blamed? People have stories which feasibly justify and moralise their actions..The justification for actions taken by two parties cannot be fully resolved if a person decided to be as neutral as one can be.In the end, we choose to side the story that we understand..Women take sides and sympathise with the he fellow who has been mistreated by a no good guy who has men sympathising with him because they understand the oath that means that love cannot be let in because that girl crushed him as he tried.
Right? Wrong? Sometimes, it just does not matter. There will be lots of fights which we can fight but I think the point where we win is where we can and should fight but don't..just because...Yes, as usual in my naive and aloof way, I have over-simplified the issue..But life in its basic form should be simple..I'm in love with the simplicity that it is life..Having friends but not too many that love me just the way I am..Falling in love unthinkably with a guy and living together for better or worse, through fights and mishaps, ecstasy and the world..Sticking close to good and taking each day as it comes..Dreams are what the world is made of..phew.
When I look at TG(Tomorrow's girl)..I really can't see her bored to death, discussing husband demeanours and waiting for the kids to come home. I can't see her working to live and struggling to survive with kids everywhere and a husband she abhors. Nobody can see this happening to them admittedly..but the reality is it does happen..The reality is that we all think we're going to live happy ever after with the house, hubby, kids and the dog..But somehow, somewhere, some things just seem to go wrong!
Still-I choose to consciously keep on believing in beating the odds..I want to live, love, travel..I want to ride the stakes and win..and maybe cry when I lose..I want to be 75.. and content in the knowledge that I've lived, loved, ridden the waves and won..I want to be one of those old women who you see walking around with their heads held high because they've fought life and won..This might mean redefining the rules, going against the grain, giving up the dream if a hubby, house and the kids..I don't know..Contentment is relative and a personal assessment of of what we wanted vs... what we got...Surely, somehow..If you strive to get what you can and just accept and be happy that it should be something you want..life might become much simpler..
I'd like him to love me for life and want kids who reach for the sky....I'd love us to spend the summers in our house on the coast and really I want my friends and their kids out there with us. I want to live in the sun in a house surrounded by flowers of all types..The crib will be tastefully furnished and my pets, well behaved and groomed..Yes- I have a dream..but should he decide to leave and the kids decide to flee..If the pets go astray and the house never emanates..then I'll drop the past in the past..and remake my wee dream..
Life is really what we make of it..God is a God of Love and all power lies in his hands..Nothing is impossible..Everything is possible...If I think it, I can have it.If I fall down, all I have to do id dust off and try again..
Being single does not have to equate the advent of alone-ness.. Allow your heart to love and be loved..What's the worst that can happen? Your heart gets broken, you cry for months but dust yourself off and try again....In the end, it doesn't really matter..Life will always trot along, regardless..Don't stick to what you know, test the boundaries, see for yourself..Dream..dream..dream.
.but let your dream be a verb and something might happen.
I might be naive, curious and restless..but I'm bullish on love and all that life has to give..There'll be fire and storms but there'll be sunshine and fun..Friends will come and go as will love after love..but I'll still be here curious, waiting to see what comes up next..The ones who will stay have been known to Him since the beginning of time..so what can I do but to go with the flow..It's good to know that he forgives because I'm constantly falling off..Thank God for Jesus and the price at the cross..
It's good to be on a high because sometimes I'm low but hey..It's all part of the process..If you meet me tomorrow and I'm arguing the impossible..just let me be..Its the risk I've been born to take..
My Samaritan found my phone and chose to go against the odds..and my life has been full of instances where things have worked out strictly against the grain..So if you see TG with all my dreams come true...just laugh and be merry...It's all in the name..