I have a friend (and I am writing this in English, because my friend is mainly English), an ex-colleague who became a friend over time. As I got to know her, I realised how intelligent she is, how funny, smart and witty she is. To this day I still remember our first visit to an “adult shop” and how much she made me laugh that day.
Our work roads parted, but we still kept contact through Facebook, like so many people these days. And then I started reading stuff that my friend, Jessie, wrote and I got to know the ‘other’ Jessie. The Jessie that is still smart and witty, but also has the most beautiful heart. And writes from that heart the greatest words.
I got her permission to quote her latest here, but you can read more of her stuff HERE
“My South Africa is not Shrien Dewani and the men he may or may not have hired. It is not Oscar Pistorius, a temper and a gun. It is not the mall robberies or the torching of train stations. It is not Steve Hofmeyer and his attention seeking tweets, nor is it Busani Ngcaweni and his bigoted generalizations. It is not the death of a soccer player or a granny in Observatory – both to violence.
Yes. That is a facet of South Africa.
But my South Africa is the spirit of Freedom. It is a boy on a train, cradling his brother. It is all the souls that make the trek to work and back on an aging infrastructure every day. It is every charity and charity worker that looks past the filth and pain and sees a person. Past the fear and hurt and sees an animal needing care.
It is every single one of us who love our country. Who wants it to be better. It is every person that doesn’t break us down, but rather builds us up.
My South Africa is me. And what I chose to be. Who I chose to be.
It is you. And who you chose to be, in this country of pain and liberty, desolation and beauty.
It is a boy, on a train, cradling his brother in the summer heat. We should all be better, for him and everyone like him.”
She made me think. About MY South Africa.
My South Africa is the taxi, in the long string of cars, which makes way for me in the morning, the driver smiling, even though some of them drive like maniacs.
It is the black man at the petrol pumps which tells me that I have a beautiful old Toyota and that I must please look after it.
It is the coloured woman in the Karoo who took my daughter under her wing when she was still new in town and now still every time hugs me when I visit, and promises to look after my daughter.
It is the truck driver that picked up my son when he was hiking home and drove out of his way to drop him off right in front of my door.
It is all the people that pitched in when Beaufort West had no water, because of a severe drought, and transported so much water to the town that they had too much water in the end.
It is the diverse group of young girls in the office opposite mine, working together, eating together, laughing together, that gives me hope for our people.
It is the French car guard at the shopping centre, who gives me the brightest smile when I say “Merci” everytime.
It is a beautiful sunset, a full moon rising over the mountain. It is the snow on the mountains, unexpectedly, in November. It is a hot summer’s day, with the smell of the ocean close by.
It is ALL the people of this country, the good and the bad. Because even in gangland, in Manenberg and the Cape Flats, in Eersterus and other townships, not everyone is bad to the bone. In Constantia, in Kayamandi, in Houghton, in Khayelitsha – there are good people and there are bad people. And in the end – we are all the people of OUR South Africa.
Jessie’s South Africa, my South Africa, your South Africa, our South Africa.