The beginning of the season of Advent is one of expectation and simmering excitement, if not spiritually then at least festively. The planning and preparation that goes into annual family gatherings lends some stress to the logistical scenario of accommodation, food, gifting and even tricky relationships – every family has them in some shape or form.
Returning to our home country, South Africa, after another year of living in Europe, it becomes harder each time to try and marry the memory to the reality of what we see. Each year, the litter becomes more evident, the poverty amplifies, the joblessness more overwhelming, the economic divide ever-widening and, the most alarming, the racial hatred increasing, despite the efforts of SO many to nurture the “rainbow nation” that has been local media fodder for the past 27 years… It is a myth, something akin to the “Arab Spring” that was supposed to be a “rebirth” for Egypt, Tunisia and Libya back in the early 2010’s.
I find my own righteous indignation barometer climbing through the roof as I contemplate what is, undoubtedly, the direct result of political corruption. Worse still, there is no end in sight! How will the country claw its way back from, no longer the edge of the precipice, but now the bottom of the pit of devastation?
To cast one’s eyes north of the border, into the country of Zimbabwe, once the proud name-bearer of “the breadbasket of Sub Saharan Africa”, now lying in tatters, that too have become tattered, it would be nothing short of naive (on the “flat earth” level) to believe that South Africa is not on the slippery slope to a similar demise. This is the alarmingly swift spread of the cancerous corruption that seems to accompany virtually every nation on the vast and very beautiful continent. Power hungry, megalomaniac, paranoid, downright GREEDY men who will rape and pillage their own country and people for their time in the proverbial sun!
This blog is fast descending into a racial rant which is not the ultimate source of my “epiphany”. Suffice to say that the three years plus that we have had the opportunity to adventure into a first world European lifestyle, we have found ourselves in a position of privilege from which we cast our eyes south to the mire of third world poverty. That is not to say that we’ve lived luxuriously, rather that we’ve lived a simpler, humbler life of freedom and safety that we could never know in South Africa. It is so easy to become righteously indignant from a distance but what a perspective that distance affords us:
We are ALL created in the image of God – “God made man” not pigmentation, intellect, economic status, creed, sex, race or culture, just HUMAN BEINGS, every single one of us.
During the course of my new work, I have enjoyed a number of very interesting documentaries, the most enlightening of which is entitled “When Jack became black”. Before the less tolerant and more racially jaded click the ESC button, hear me out on this one! I urge you to find this docci on Amazon Prime and take a listen to a wonderful narrator, Dr Shelby Steele, who sheds some very interesting light on the matter of race in America. Yes, it’s America you may say, which has nothing to do with South Africa, or Europe for that matter. However, it was this little work piece that created something of an epiphany for me regarding race: we are ALL racists simply by the definition of the word RACE.
In a glowing, golden Eutopia, I suggest that we rather align ourselves to the HUMAN race and be done with the division and hatred once and for all.
If this crazy year has taught us nothing else, may it be that we are united in a battle against a virus that knows nothing at all about the divisions that we impose on one another so, SPREAD THE LOVE, all the people of the world!