I was on my way back to my home in Kiwiland. Saying goodbye to family was unquantifiably heart-rending. During my whirlwind visit, one of “my readers” accosted me, irked by an article of mine, “To be or not to be proudly South African”.
When one is on the other side of the planet with an 11-hour time difference, one’s perspectives may become distorted, with only the media and hearsay to go by. I read The Witness on line about an innocent six-year-old boy bludgeoned to death with a hammer. It galvanised my sense of anger at the injustices foisted on innocent lives, and at the cheapness of human life when another victim was slaughtered for two mobile phones.
But after 17 hours of flying from
This was such a contrast to my first exodus flight in mid-2008, when I’d bid farewell to my land and my roots and family... and sobbed uncontrollably all the way to
Arriving back in
Arriving “home” to
I’m referring not only to being reunited with family and significant others, but to the numerous positives which I’ve noticed, from new structures and developments, to more occupancy in some of the malls. Of course it’s not all a bed of roses. I had to attend a court case as a witness at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court. The first set of loos was locked and out of order, as were the second lot. The third set yielded more success; a functioning loo, sans a seat or loo paper. “Same old, same old,” I mused.
But when here, I realise how easy it is to be lulled back into the charmed life experienced by the more privileged sectors of the country — the endless balmy days, a robust energy, which is quite unique, an infectious optimism and the ravages of the global recession not being too conspicuous yet.
Juxtaposed against that is still
an element of gloom and anger voiced
by some, and as one acquaintance
I bumped into commented:
both love and hate.”
One of my days here was spent in the
I felt immense pride as I shared the day with my older son, a water engineer bringing water to the rural inhabitants of an isolated and almost inaccessible region, where huts and thorn scrub cling precariously to steep outcrops.
Now, on my departure, around the the time of the elections, I take a moment to reflect. Maybe I have been harsh in my judgment; lacking in conviction. None of us can accurately predict the future. To date, some astounding developments and amelioration's have materialised since Madiba’s long walk to freedom.
I am returning to
As I depart, I stop first to salute the South Africans who optimistically fortify the nation. Likewise, with the knowledge of ongoing unacceptable levels of crime and corruption which lead to some folk being mobilised to establish themselves elsewhere, I applaud South Africans, as children of the universe, who opt to spread their wings.
We are robust people. My hope is that we can make a positive impact — wherever we are — and like a stone thrown into static water, create ripples that exponentially extend outwards, whether at home or beyond.
Published in The Witness, April 2009.