Sunday, 6 December 2015

Apartheid and the fall out

When I was little my grandmother's gardener was effectively my only father figure for four years.   My grandmother's housekeeper was my nanny and mother figure. My grandmother was too old to take care of me constantly.

I was not an unhappy child.  I loved my dark-skinned family.  They took care of me as they would have their own.

This early beginning birthed my love for the African and it falters when stupid stuff happens: murders, robberies, dumping of garbage in the cities and protests turn violent.

The new South Africa as I see it has nothing to do with the mad robberies and theft from businesses.  It has to do with the suspicion, hatred and avoidance of the other colour without having the chance to understand each other, discuss and demonstrate goodwill.

It has to do with common decency.  Kindness. Being honest. The meeting of each other as equals - not even as equals exactly, because none of us are the same.  We are all fraught with past life experiences and they affect us whether we like it or not.

But, at least let us not have a blanket judgement for every dark skinned human and equally for a white skinned human.  We are all in this together.

I met a man in a garage.  It was the first time I was treated by a black man the way I would treat a black man.  There was no pretense.  This man was as comfortable in his skin as I am comfortable in mine.  It was a great day.  This is what I expected would happen in the new South Africa.  But it hasn't happened.

My prayer for the coming year is that both black and white South Africans will find comfort in their skins.  I pray that the protests will stop, that new leaders will emerge and that ordinary men and women will treat each other with human dignity at every opportunity.

We think everyone was better off in Apartheid.  Mostly we think this because crime has gone berserk, drugs came along and ruined the brains of many.  Nothing has been done to make it easier for the unemployable to find jobs.  Trucks burning, buses burning, rubbish in the streets, murders and robberies, houses burned down because drunk people cook on open flames and whole townships get destroyed, leaving men and their families in the bushes and in community halls.

Hatred for each other and judgement isn't going to make for a better South Africa.
Looking at the past isn't either.  We have to look to the future if we want to make a go of things in this country.

We have every reason to be hopeful for the new South Africa.   My prayer is that we find ourselves again.  We have extraordinary humans amongst us. Let's learn from them.

Love and Light

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