Within my soul, within my mind,
There lies a place I cannot find.
Home of my heart. Land of my birth.
Smoke-coloured stone and flame-coloured earth.
Electric skies. Shivering heat.
Blood-red clay beneath my feet.
At night when finally alone,
I close my eyes - and I am home.
I kneel and touch the blood-warm sand
And feel the pulse beneath my hand
Of an ancient life too old to name,
In an ancient land too wild to tame.
How can I show you what I feel?
How can I make this essence real?
I search for words in dumb frustration
To try and form some explanation,
But how can heart and soul be caught
In one-dimensional written thought?
If love and longing are a “fire”
And Man “consumed” by his desire,
Then this love is no simple flame
That mortal thought can hold or tame.
As deep within the earth’s own core
The love of home burns evermore.
But what is home? I hear them say,
This never was yours anyway.
You have no birthright to this place,
Descendant from another race.
An immigrant? A pioneer?
You are no longer welcome here.
Whoever said that love made sense?
“I love” is an “imperfect” tense.
To love in vain has been Man’s fate
From history to present date.
I have no grounds for dispensation,
I know I have no home or Nation.
For just one moment in the night
I am complete, my soul takes flight.
For just one moment… then it’s gone
And I am once again undone.
Never complete. Never whole.
White skin and an African soul.
The weather was so nice this evening that I decided to take a solo stroll around Melbourne City. I went in and out a few stores and then sat on a bench on Bourke Street and watched the world go by for a bit. A homeless man asked the person next to me for change and he was refused. He skipped me for some reason and asked the two Asian girls to my right if they had any, to be honest I was insulted. After the girls refused him as well he swore at nobody in particular, stumbled and then walked off down the street but not before he stopped at the public drinking fountain on the sidewalk and elegantly took a sip of water being careful not to get it down himself and went on his way. How about that? Perfectly good drinking water in the middle of the city for everybody to use and its free! About 10 minutes after him a lady stepped toward the drinking fountain dressed in an expensive looking black suit, sky scraper heels and more make-up than Boy George and took a sip. I wondered if she would have done that if she knew who had used the same fountain only moments before her. Thats when I realised I was thinking like a South African. How wonderful is this country with its classless society and it's free, drinkable water on every corner? My mind went on a tangent then and I thought about how homeless are you really when you live in a great climate with free healthcare and education and free drinking water in the middle of the city? A country with active human rights is not to be scoffed at.
This train of thought took me back to 6 years ago when I was in a similar situation in Cape Town CBD. I was waiting for a bus outside the Golden Acre and watched how a homeless street kid who couldn't have been more that 11 years old walked up to the trash can in front of the bus shelter and pulled out a bag of half eaten fries and began to munch on them. I winced a little...surprisingly not because they came out of the trash but because I knew they would be cold. He didn't finish the bag but instead of just throwing it back in, he carefully placed them on the inner lip of the steel bin, crossed the street and disappeared around the corner. Weird, I thought. About 5 minutes later another kid walked up to the bin, peered in and reached for the fries. He had a couple of mouthfuls and he did exactly the same thing. Wow. These kids were purposely leaving them in such a way so that when the next person came looking for something to eat it would be ready for them. The attitude of 'we're all in this together' was evitable.
It really is those small acts of thoughtfulness and kindess that can turn your average day into a great day, restores ones faith in humanity or in extreme cases, stop someone from ending it all. Maybe you have to really be at your lowest eb to notice how much good there is. Like when you're on a budget and you can't go out for dinner all the time and become amazed at what you are able to produce yourself through limited means. The big moments in life are wonderful but I so often think about how selfless those moments really are. Like when you buy something huge for someone or cook them their favourite meal, it's also about you getting the credit and feeling good about yourself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on grand gestures I'm just making an observation.
When you think about things that have made a difference in your day they seem almost too insignificant to mention because the person doing it is not looking for praise because they are acting through their sub conscious. Like when you're trying to switch lanes on the freeway and someone lets you in, or when you're snowed under at work and someone gets the phone for you. Or sometimes my girlfriends will find something when they're shopping on the internet and send me a link with 'this is so you!' in the subject line...more often than not it is definitely NOT so me but I love that I am on their mind. Think about those days when a stranger holds the lift for you or opens the door for you when you're arms are full. It's those tiny, and almost immediately once they have happened overlooked things that show us that there really is good in everybody when we momentarily forget ourselves.
Sometimes those grand gestures, those feasts that cost loads of money will still leave you feeling peckish and wanting to stop in at KFC on the way home. But if we kept count of how many free drinking fountains we came across and how many packets of fries that are left perfectly hidden in the secret part of the trash for us to find, we might discover that we will almost always feel sated and quenched.
So I'm a bit annoyed. I know that this is a topic that most people originally from other third world countries would have an opinion on about a different object, but me being from Africa...this is mine.
The other day THIS popped up in my inbox. I knew it was going to happen, I've seen these plastic girls pop up on various design and interior blogs and I've cringed every time.
The doll is made domestically in Africa. Girls play with these dolls they call by caring for them, dressing and feeding them, and sometimes tucking them into the waistbands of their skirts just as women carry infants in cloth wrappers wrapped around their waists. There are significant rituals associated with girls, including the belief that proper care for the doll can ensure fertility and survival of children.
These are sold for couple of Rands back home and the money (we hope) go to the kids in the townships. Since I have lived in Australia I have visited Cape Town twice. Each time I go back home I buy one of these in a different colour and hopefully plan oto go back and visit enough in my lifetime to collect all the colours.
God my dressing table needs a tidy. Anyway. There is nothing one can do about them being bought in the masses with the first world economy dollar and then flogged at some wanky trade show to be sold on to housewives who read Home and Garden. They're cute and they look great and of course they would be a hit, but I just wanted you all to know the back story before you just went in and consumed without thinking.