24 September, 2013

My South Africa.

Recently we had my BIL over here in South Africa for a few days...his last visit was in 2004. And even though, its not hard to tell, I am always positive about my home country, but its always nice to see it through someone else's eyes for a change....especially someone who only ever hears the bad stuff...

And I know he is not alone, we all know that the perception out there in the world is that South Africa is this big bad place...and seeing him 'see a small glimpse of SA' and be completely blown away, was one of the best moments of my life...no exaggeration...I was just so proud. He reminded me, once again, that our country has so many awesome things, we've overcome so many things and how lucky we actually are...

And then...shortly after his return to New Zealand, the incredible, Professor Jonathan Jansen writes this...this! I cried when I read it, I wanted to scream it from the mountain tops, so that all the world could hear it...this My South Africa.

My South Africa
by Prof Jonathan Jansen.

My South Africa is the working-class man who called from the airport to return my wallet without a cent missing.

It is the white woman who put all three of her domestic worker's children through the school that her own child attended. It is the politician in one of our rural provinces, Mpumalanga, who returned his salary to the government as a statement that standing with the poor had to be more than words. It is the teacher who worked after school
hours every day during the strike to ensure her children did not miss out on learning during the public sector stay-away.

My South Africa is the first-year university student in Bloemfontein who took all the gifts she received for her birthday and donated them, with the permission of the givers, to a home for children in an Aids village. It is the people hurt by racist acts who find it in their hearts to publicly forgive the perpetrators. It is the group of farmers in Paarl who started a top school for the children of farm workers to ensure they got the best education possible while their parents toiled in the vineyards. It is the farmer's wife in
Viljoenskroon who created an education and training centre for the wives of farm labourers so that they could gain the advanced skills required to operate accredited early learning centres for their own and other children.

My South Africa is that little white boy at a decent school in the Eastern Cape who decided to teach the black boys in the community to play cricket, and to fit them all out with the togs required to play the gentleman's game. It is the two black street children in Durban, caught on camera, who put their spare change into the condensed milk tin of the white beggar. It is the Johannesburg pastor who opened up his church as a place of shelter for illegal immigrants. It is the Afrikaner woman from Boksburg who nailed the white guy who shot and killed one of South Africa's greatest freedom fighters outside his home.

My South Africa is the man who goes to prison for 27 years and comes out embracing his captors, thereby releasing them from their coming misery. It is the activist priest who dives into a crowd of angry people to rescue a woman from a sure necklacing. It is the former police chief who falls to his knees to wash the feet of Mamelodi womenwhose sons disappeared on his watch; it is the women who forgive him in his act of contrition. It is the Cape Town university psychologist who interviews Prime Evil in Pretoria Central and comes away with emotional attachment, even empathy, for the human being who did such terrible things under apartheid.

My South Africa is the quiet, dignified, determined township mother from Langa, Cape Town, who straightened her back during the years of oppression and decided that her struggle was to raise decent children, insist that they learn, and ensure that they not succumb to bitterness or defeat in the face of overwhelming odds. It is the two young girls who walked 20km to school every day, even through their matric years, and passed well enough to be accepted into university studies. It is the student who takes on three jobs, during the evenings and at weekends, to find ways of paying for his university studies.

My South Africa is the teenager in a wheelchair who works in townships serving the poor. It is the pastor of a Kenilworth church, where his parishioners were slaughtered, who visits the killers and asks them for forgiveness that he was a beneficiary of apartheid. It is the politician who resigns from her politics on conscientious grounds,
giving up status and salary because of objection in principle to a social policy of her political party. It is the young lawyer who decides to dedicate his life to representing those who cannot afford to pay for legal services.

My South Africa is not the angry, corrupt, violent country whose deeds fill the front pages of newspapers and the lead items on the seven o'clock news. It is the South Africa often unseen yet powered by the remarkable lives of ordinary people. It is the citizens who keep the country together through millions of acts of daily kindness.

My South Africa is the people listed in the stories above. They are real. I know them. They give me hope.
And this is my South Africa too, and this is why I choose to live here.

Happy Heritage Day South Africa!


Sharon said...

I cried too! Thank you for sharing!

Lynette Jacobs said...

All the reasons why I love my South Africa.

Lauren said...

Just as we all have our faults so does our beautiful country but man what "lekker" place we live in.

So much to offer and filled with diversity....ask anyone whose left and pines their heart out for the "kak" :)

Thank you for posting.