If you’re not in the mood for my reflection on the state of South Africa scroll down for more light hearted content!
Here I am. A 21 year old in a 20 year old democracy, South Africa. It is two days before the 4th democratic election in this country of extremes; two days before I’ll be allowed to go and draw my cross for the first time.
I’m a white, a pale native, woven in-between the everyday life of black Africa. I stopped looking for bright colours, for my technicolour dream coat, for the Rainbow Nation!
I’m not asking much: I shall be satisfied by something in the middle- of- the-road. So I’m searching for a little bit of grey, maybe brown, something beige: normal, boring and predictable. But there is nothing in between to be find in the land of my forefathers, the land of my dreams, the country of hope- (lessness). Only black on white, only harsh, unforgiving extremes.
I’m currently studying Veterinary Science at the world renowned Onderstepoort Veterinary Faculty and Research Institute, high tech enough to easily be mistaken for an Institute in a developed Western country. But driving to campus from home means going through Zandspruit, Diepsloot and Soshanguve- slums where people have to live in shacks of corrugated iron and mud, sans electricity, water or sanitation. Full on 3rd World vistas.
I’m sitting at home, looking out over a green garden and sparkling swimming pool, studying for tomorrows Toxicology exam. Whilst scarcely a kilometre away at the traffic light a Malawian woman (Probably an illegal immigrant) sits in a wheel chair holding a child (probably not her own, but used to gain sympathy) begging for money. Extreme.
Me, like the rest of the world, avidly follows the Oscar Pistorius saga. But I can’t help but wonder why this white-on-white murder is allowed so much publicity whilst far more horrific crimes are committed each day. White-on-black attacks makes national papers, black-on-black attacks are maybe mentioned in regional papers. But black-on-white attacks, which are the most violent and heinous, are largely ignored.
As this election draws nearer, I realise how ironic this country is. We boast about being safeguarded by the World’s most progressive Constitution, our Human Rights being the best protected. But our human rights are violated daily by the very government that set out to fight for our people’s freedom. Apparently there’s some secret clause protecting the ruling party/government.
The irony of giving millions the right to vote but then taking away the right of their vote being meaningful and contributing to bettering their lives, is not lost on me.
Maybe me, a proud member of The White Tribe of Africa, together with the post-Apartheid, “born-frees” will be able to make a change for the better with our nearing D(emocracy)-day and find our pot of gold together for the sake of our beautiful country.
Listen to: Gangs of Ballet, Matthew Mole, Jeremy Loops, Dear Reader, Shadowclub (iTunes is your friend J)
Read: Deon Meyer, Lauren Beukes, James Herriot (duh ;)), poetry
Watch: Dr Who, The Grand Budapest Hotel, independent theatre
Plant: Indigenous, Organic
Participate: Postcrossing, Yarn bombing, Geocaching
Cherish: Good health, family, friends, decent art.
Drink: Craft beer, proper wine, Fair trade coffee
Visit: South Africa, Morocco
Donate: WWF, EWT
Websites: lostateminor, iflscience
Quotes: “I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king without the desire to read”- Thomas Macauley. “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.”
— The Doctor, Season 5, Episode 12
Be: creative, impulsive, optimistic, humble
May the forth (and the odds) be ever in your favour
Ps Correspondence welcome