I’m a work in progress

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As many of you already know, I am all for figuring out how we can disagree in a healthy way, how we can have many different, opposing views and still co-exist in a healthy way. I consider it a form of wealth. In most instances I will make time to have a conversation and see it to the end (no matter how hard it is), so when I say I wanted to get up and walk away from this conversation, please understand what that means. I felt that I had reached a dead end. That there was nothing of value that I could add to the conversation or take from the conversation, it was almost as though I would have been contributing by walking away. Afterwards, I got home, still feeling fragile and worked up from some of the personal attacks I had endured in the conversation. That is where this thought process was sparked from. I shared it as a status update and the over 100 likes and comments showed me that it resonated deeply with many people (some of which stopped me in the streets to say “thank you” and “I agree”) so I thought I share it over here too.

“I am not a socialist, nor am I a capitalist. I am not black. I am not a coconut. I am not anti-American nor am I pro-African (I know that I have just compared a country to a continent – no need to point it out). I am not a feminist either. I am an individual that is bi-polar & schizophrenic and wild and tame and confused and self-assured. I am masculine and feminine. I am confused and certain. I am a puzzle made up of beautiful as well as ugly. I’m a talker. I’m a listener. I’m loud. I’m silent. I’m passionate and apathetic. I am part of the “system(s)” and I am not. I am all of this and none of this. You know why? I am a product of all I see and encounter. I am a work-in-progress. I’m allowed to be.”

The price of Freedom

I came across this image a little while ago while searching images for “Church Square”. This image of the well-known Church Square in Pretoria (the capital of South Africa) popped up. I found myself staring at it for much longer than I had hoped to. I began to feel sad.

I remembered some stories that my dad had told me on my recent trip home to Ga-Rankuwa.

Church Square

He told me of how beautiful Pretoria was when he first arrived there, he spoke of the Jacaranda trees that brought on a burst of purple streets accompanied by fresh fragrances which now remind me of home, he spoke of the trams that ran through the city centre, he stopped a second and mentioned that he never ever enjoyed a ride on one, I absent-mindedly asked “Why?”, and he turned to me and said “I wasn’t allowed to”, it dawned on me, black people were not allowed to. Instantly that sentence transported me to a time that I have never known, a time when my parents’ movement was restricted simply because they were “non-white”. This conversation with my dad weighed very heavily on my heart.

Apart from the sadness that surfaces every now and then when I look back on this conversation and the life my dad was forced to live I learnt a few things:

– Beauty belongs to us (nobody can take that from you). My dad still saw the beauty of Pretoria despite the terrible reality he and others faced.

– We are incredibly fortunate to be living in a time when I (a dark-skinned female) can sit at a computer, sharing this with you, in the centre of Cape Town, before catching a bus to my home on Kloof Street. I need to remember to enjoy these things I take so for granted.

– What is our offering for coming generations? People died for the life we now enjoy. We walked into a life previously dreamt and fought for. What kind of future do you dream of? What are you doing to contribute towards that?

– Speak to your parents (and other elders): It is such a deep wealth to have the opportunity to live through them. Live through a time you have never and will never experience. This also is a free wisdom exchange. Make the time, find the space and drink their wisdom.