Reise ins Unendliche,
to the centre of the earth,
the other side of the moon
and into the sun filled sky…
through soft rippling ocean waves,
Love of a higher order
schrieb ich dir,
Liebe Deinen Naechsten,
deine Augen glaenzten.
Vuyo Koyana invited me to Winnie Madikizela – Mandela’s 80th birthday celebration at the Artscape Opera house in Cape Town.
Winnie in Xhosa attire with Marlene le Roux, CEO Artscape
Vuyo and I have known each other for many years. Often, I listen with rapture to her stories of life under Apartheid, how she coped, excelled, and now works as a successful entrepreneur, leading the Pan-African market on Long Street, and as a psychologist, facilitating diversity workshops. She is spiritually deeply grounded and straddles diverse traditional and cultural environments with ease and aplomb. I often return from our meetings filled with warmth, inspiration and admiration for her beauty and generosity.
Loyalty brought us together,
one, escaping danger,
The other, opening the door,
to healing. Continue reading
Farewell mass for Rector Luke Pato at the Rosebank Anglican church. Luke is now the Bishop of Namibia. As he handed the church key to the director of the St. Martin’s in-the-veld church, a middle age, white business executive, this man burst into uncontrollable tears and could not stop hugging Luke.
Last night, SAFM broadcast a dialogue session at the University of Free Sate (UFS) under the heading ‘reconciliation and social justice’ lead by Prof. Pumla Gobodo – Madikizela and Prof Andre Geet as key presenters.
Listeners expressed passionate, at times militant views with regard to addressing inequality and entrenched white privilege in this country. Some voiced their view that white people will not share their privileges voluntary and that a confrontational stance is needed. At moments I felt reminded of young people’s voices heralding in the Arab Spring in Northern Africa some time ago.
Later, on my way to the shopping mall, I dropped off a young hitch-hiking woman in Masiphumlele and moments later, having taken a wrong turn, landed in a newly developed town-house community close by, learning from the security guard that white people own all these houses.
If my heart hurts watching a stray dog but remains unmoved seeing a poor woman scavenging through my rubbish bin, I lost the capacity to value our shared humanness and I need help to repair the human connection:
To appreciate the beauty of our souls
The generosity in our hearts
And show grace which comes from service
Thursdays are rubbish pick up day in my neighbourhood. From early on, poor people move through the streets canvassing rubbish bins that have been rolled out to the street. Some bounty hunters have organised pick up points where they wait for small trucks to fetch them and their bulging bags of discarded goods. While I admire their industriousness, I also feel very sad.
We met before,
so many times
in different places
with different faces.
‘You will go
till you know’,
the sisters said
‘this is your learning’.
And again I slipped
into the yearning:
‘I told you before,
detach from self’
spirit sister says.
Talking about our difficult histories and conducting respectful and caring dialogue with others has been healing. What stands out for me as a descendent of Nazi parents and now, as a benefitting white resident in South Africa is the opposite: silence. It is the inability of many who accepted the apartheid ideology of discrimination, exclusion and violence to speak about their choices. Post-Nazi Germany was just like that for many years. Denial, excuses and deep-seated shame covered the country like a suffocating blanket of silence.
I am often amazed at the ease with which white people relate to one another in and around our small, predominantly white town. Even as strangers during chance encounters people act with such familiarity, generously offering to help each other, making way, whether at the parking lot, passing through doors or waving others ahead into the traffic flow; friendly smiles and gestures as if all are intimately connected into one big family.
I feel that this is an exaggerated, mutual assurance of recognizing ‘us whites’ versus the ‘other’, black people to whom so many white people in our town behave in a demeaning way, with awkwardness, smiles whipped away into tight lipped, stern and critical faces. And body postures, sending messages of dis-approval, rejection, hostility.