South Africa

I come from a nation large and strong
Where we raise our voices in song
Sing praises unto the heavens and earth
With a dozen languages of different words

Our people, we know of tragedy and pain
We know more of loss than of gain
Yet we seek not to dominate
We seek a commitment to cultivate

We have the land, the labour, the love
We have sun and moon, is that not enough?
We have seeds sown all over our nation
So why, may I ask, are we still in recession?

Since 94 we have overthrown Apartheid
We are living legacies of Mandela’s fight
Our existence in itself is what makes us free
So why are people suddenly chasing money?

All of you South Africans are smart enough to
Stand there and tell me Zuma did this to you
And if we as a People claim to fight corruption
Then is not desire for wealth simply giving up our freedom?

I say this to you, my country, we do not need money right now
We will need it in the future, but first take a look around
You see that backyard of yours, that you forgot was even there?
Well that’s a perfect spot for a home garden, use the sunshine and the air

You there, standing by the window with nothing in your hand,
Go to your yard and look around, find a plot of sand
Take your fingers and your palm and lay them on the ground
Now you can draw a picture there by wiggling your hand around

And you, Mr, Mrs, Miss whoever you are
With your fancy trucks and empty unused cars
Why don’t you get up and register those wheels
To collect soap, food, and deliver some meals

We as a nation, we have been through much
And this lockdown has been a little tough
But remember, we’ve also overcome much more
Than just staying home and closing a door

For all the sacrifices our ancestors have made
We must have compassion, we should not complain
We as a nation have only one mission
To consider and respect each other’s fight for freedom

I have only one request today, my beloved South Africa
That we take one minute to remember Nelson Mandela
Think about why he pushed Equality instead of money
The fundamental philosophy of what it costs to be Free

South Africa, my people, my nation, my land
I wish we could help each other understand
That there is only one way to overcome mass corruption
We must be fully committed to tackling our own oppression

We must become open to change and transformation
We must set a good example for the new generations
We must become cooperative, constructive, and creative
We must focus on being productive, only in sports are we competitive

Slowly as we build ourselves, our skills, and our souls
We will see progress within the nation, and then we can make goals
We must, as People, take some responsibility
We within ourselves must have accountability

South Africa, my beloved, I pray for all of us
But mere prayers are not going to be enough
South Africa, my love, let us unite as one
Let us keep living and striving for our free-dom

 

MG

 

 

South African Freedom Day 427

Moving On

The crossroad is where you and I first met,
I inched forward whilst you raced on ahead,
Neither of us knew what was in store
But I sought direction and you just wanted… “more”.

Here we meet again,
at this crossroads, my friend;
Me? I never left,
merely needed the rest.
You ran in circles
wrapping up your own mess.
Never have I seen
anyone in such distress,
for usually it is I who causes
the chaos and unrest.

If I am to admit, t’has truly been quite a while
since I’ve had to hide a tear and even feign a smile.
Yet that is what you’ve needed,
so that is what I gave,
then you trampled on our seeds
sent our forest to its grave.

After all this time
I surrender my pride
Your demons are no longer
my battle to fight.
They never really were,
nonetheless I tried
But darling, I’m not your saviour
Just a friend you devoured.

MG

 

 

After All This Time

Every time I try to write a letter
I can find a million ways to better
The words I place right on the page
Paper and ink, a written stage
On which I placate my unrevealed self
As if this book was a display shelf
Bound, wrapped, unexposed, but true
The mysteries held in me, in you
For years, we tried to grow — apart
But I knew that you held my heart
For so long, we’d gone our separate ways
I thought you’d left me here to stay
Here we are, we meet again
Finally ready to make amends
The irony is that between us two
There’s no right or wrong — only truth
So, my dear, my wondrous creation
Are you here by obligation
Or did you come to finally concede
So that we may combine our realities…?

MG

Try Something New

“Try something new,” she had said, responding to the unspoken yearning I’d been having for adventure.

What’s new? I had wondered, constricted by the limitations of my imagination. And bank account. Try something new…

I’d been pondering for months what “new hobby” would satiate my thirst. For months, I dreamed of playing the violin, of resting it gently in my left hand, tips to the fingerboard, bow at the ready as if it were a wand, preparing to cast a spell of musical magic.

But there was something at the back of my head whispering, “one thing at a time my dear. One thing at a time.”

Eager beaver I was, always wanting to cultivate or learn something: another instrument, another language, another sport,  a new skill, expand my world and all that. The mere thought of balancing all of that amidst a life of work, academics, social life and relationships, would be overwhelming to most people.

I suppose I’m “different” that way. I was…determined.

And so I tried something new. Contrary to what I had thought, t’was not a passive hobby that was needed, but rather an expressive outlet. An aggressive and intense activity that had the adrenaline pumping with the risk level fairly low.

I tried something new.

I packed my bag and prepared for a day out at sea. It was sunny with very few clouds blotted around the sky. There was a gentle breeze, barely noticeable unless one was consciously looking out for it. The sun blazed down ever so softly, discreetly, but silently lethal if one was not careful.

It had been years since I had last been in these waters, a decade, perhaps. I strapped the board to my feet and tightened the laces, with enthusiasm and confidence. Though it had been years, and I was a little nervous, I was more excited than I had felt in a very long time.

Smiling at the board with silent anticipation, I jumped into the water and let my body adjust to the temperature. The water is your friend, I told myself, as the touch of the ocean against my skin shocked the city-life out of my system momentarily.

Try something new, she had said.

At that moment, I was more grateful than ever to even have this opportunity, to have this experience. To have this kind of freedom that very few truly understand, let alone appreciate. I was grateful for my friends, for their presence and company.

And I was grateful for the sea, for the fun I was about to have.

I gripped the handle and the motor roared into action. In seconds, I was up and gliding across the water. The waves washed over my feet as I tilted forward and backwards, controlling the direction of movement. The sun blared over my head and the wind blew at me as I soared across the waves.

It had been years, but I was finally back.

Finally… free.

 

 

MG

Do You Remember?

Do you remember, m’dear
Back when you had everything to confront yet nothing to fear
Everything to give and nothing to lose
Everything decided and nothing to choose? 

Do you remember when you looked up at the buildings?
The skyscrapers?

Do you remember when you tried to do it alone?
You dug and dug
more and more rabbit holes 

Do you remember? 

When you challenged a system that was created for
You,
not to challenge but to enjoy.
Still you chose to explode and destroy
Be it with excitement
Unprecedented curiosity
Unencumbered fascination
But do you remember your impulses?

Do you remember being… 

 

free…? 

 

MG 

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Self-hate looks a lot like self-love.

And the only one who truly knows the difference…is…

(Scratch that)

The only ones who truly know the difference…are…all the ones around you who can feel what you feel.

MG

The Women in My Life

(True story, biographical.)

“How do you know you’re at peace?” I asked my mother once, in my teens. She told me “when your masculine and feminine stop fighting each other, when you stop fighting yourself, that’s when you’ll find peace.” So I asked, “which side should I be then? Which one wins?” My mother smiled and said “figure it out.”

I watched, trying ever so hard to understand how my mother could be so at peace despite everything she had been through as a mother. Then I looked at both her sisters, and realised they’re made of that same metal that makes my mother who she is. Naturally, it made sense to get to know my parents’ siblings better so that I could better understand them…

In the last two years, I’ve learned that mother’s younger sister has been doing remote work from home for almost as long as I’ve been alive! What my generation aspires to do, she’s already an expert. Last month, I discovered that mother’s older sister is one of the first women who ever  wore trousers as work attire in corporate London, back in the early 80’s. When she told me this, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there was a specific “skirt / dress only” dress code.

“We were supposed to only wear skirts to work,” my aunt told me, “but skirts can get very uncomfortable, you know. So one day I put on a pair of trousers because it was more comfortable. Next thing you know, other women start doing it too. Eventually, it just became accepted in our company (Ernst and Young).”

I reflected, and pondered: it stood to reason that the strength came from my grandma. With R20 (USD 1.50) in her pocket, my grandma moved the family of ten (five went ahead, I was told, the other five came later) to the city in the 1960s during the apartheid in South Africa. As a family, they never let the Apartheid become a factor hindering them from just living their lives. When survival is your main focus, and it slowly seeps into the “norm”, you learn to embrace the better parts of life.

My grandparents always opened their homes, always welcomed those in need. Though they didn’t have much, they gave what they could: love, shelter, and a hot cup of tea. They didn’t discriminate who came through the doors. They were loving, but they were tough.

To the kids, they were very disciplined, from what I was told. Swearing warranted washing your mouths out with soap, dishes had to be cleaned immediately after dinner. Beds had to be made and tucked in completely, without an angle sticking out anywhere (although, I was recently informed that bed-making was my great grandmother’s rule). Disciplined, but always out of love. They knew that as long as the kids were disciplined enough to later be self-disciplined, then they would be able to take care of themselves.

They were right. And so it continued in the family line. I see it in my mother, I see it in how she is with our family. I know it comes from her family, that strength, that unity, that togetherness. The way she always did her best to stay strong for all of us when we were all falling apart; when we’re at our worst, she’s always the one motivating us, holding us up, comforting us and letting us know that “it’s okay not to be okay, as long as you get up again when you’re ready.”

My mother is the strongest woman I have experienced. She taught me everything I know and more, at least by providing the platforms where I, too, could become self-disciplined and self-motivated. I am where I am (literally) because yes, she birthed me, but also because she is the one woman who has always, always been there for me, through thick and thin. The one who has lifted me when I was down, but humbled me when I was arrogant. The one who can fight me when I need it, and calm me down when I diverge.

I am strong because my mother is strong. She is strong because the women in her life are strong.

So how do I know that I am at peace?

Because my masculine energy and my feminine energy are no longer at war.

I am a person, a human. A human with strength, both inner and outer; a person with emotions, both aggressive and passive. A human with weaknesses, both external and internal; a person with flaws, both on the outside and on the inside. A human with motivation, both physical and emotional; a person with compassion, both expressed and empathised. I am not perfect, but I am balanced, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.

Balanced, and equal.

Within myself.

Peace,
MG

(Re-blog from https://mikavelli.com/2017/03/09/the-women-in-my-life/ )