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
South African Freedom Day 427
What do we do when the enemy cries?
Do we mock their pains, or empathise?
What do we do when the racists scream
that they want to conserve their liberties?
What do we do when classists steal
from those who have less material?
What do we do when sexists refuse
to embrace others as human but then make excuses?
What do we do when homophobes whine
about the fear of being ‘hit on’ all the time?
What do we do when ageists enforce ideals
not to address them by name but instead by title?
What do we do when religious indoctrination
is interpreted with arrogance and not with empowerment?
What do we do when any other human
believes it’s acceptable to compete for validation?
What do we do when abusers run towards weapons,
provoke violence, get beaten, then play ‘victim’?
What do we do when the enemy cries?
Do we mock their pains, or empathize?
Inspired by Hong Kong
One day, two world leaders got together
To discuss a deal that would benefit each other
One said, “I’ll paint my country as heaven
but really it will be hell.
People will flock from all over
to drink from our immortal well.”
The other replied, “I’ll canvas mine as hell
but really it will be heaven.
No one will dare draw near;
no humans means no pollution.”
The first leader smiled, “I’ll build factories for the humans,
teach them the bare minimum
and ensure cheap production,
then I’ll sell them to your nation.”
The second smirked and said, “I’ll drench them with education
and dictate the laws of freedom,
They’ll design our ammunition
and set up our revolution.”
The first raised an eyebrow, “You think you can take us on?
Your ego is not that strong.
You’re weak with humanity and empathy,
you will have a crumbled economy.”
The second laughed and replied, “Depends what you define as economy.
To you, it’s the paper trail of money,
To your people, it’s multiple properties.
To us, money is simply
but a tool to enhance our humanity.”
The first was enraged by this plan
for he did not understand
what it meant to be loved, to be respected, to be free;
he was oppressed by his own beliefs.
The second was not too scared,
for there weren’t many who needed his care.
He provided the tools and let them pave a way,
then reveled in delight of what they’d made.
“God, grant us world peace,” prayed the old woman.
“God, keep the art alive,” prayed the young man.
“Without chaos, there would be no art. Without art, no peace. Peace exists because of chaos, without chaos an artless world would lack peace,” said God.
I looked at old pictures
Of you and of us
Trying to muster an apology
For not being “good enough”
All that came out
Were words of honest truth
“I’m sorry that I was never
Broken enough for you”
For months I kept trying
To go back and apologise
Kept thinking I’d done wrong
That I’d accidentally lied
In retrospect I realize
The only mistake I’d made
Was not spotting your disguise
I thought was “compromise”
You’re so used to being depressed
That you throw away happiness
Every chance you get
You stop to analyse instead of progress
You were noticeably different when we met
A lot less distressed
A lot more perplexed
And a lot more invested
I, too, was trying to process
A great deal of unrest
The turmoils of our youths
Eventually split me from you
I took time to rebuild myself
You, instead, ran to hell
Got comfortable and stayed there
Whining that no one cared
Slowly, I faded out of your life
Drifted effortlessly into mine
One that I had relentlessly created
To include only those who motivate
And silently exclude those who berate
My world invites but does not force
Just come through the door
Don’t break down the walls
You are always more than welcome to stay
But you deliberately choose not to pull your own weight.
I come from a city where…
Kids can make computer games
But don’t know how to ride a train
Teens can ace quantum physics
But have no clue about budget sheets
College kids can start revolutions
But with love they’ve no solution
Thirty year olds still watch cartoons
But can’t define platoon or harpoon
Forty year olds still live with mommy
But convince themselves they’re free
Fifty year olds try out kick-start companies
That last no more than fifty two weeks
The sheer existence of intelligence
If not balanced is meaningless
This city is filled with educated idiots
Whose lives rely on widgets
She looked at me with insecurity in her eyes, as if pleading for sympathy.
Much as I tried to muster up a shred of compassion, she had used up the last ounce left in me. Used it up on some medial triviality that was, if anything, inconsequential to the matter at hand.
For years, I had done my best to understand the root of the issue. For years, I had given a part of myself to her — my ears, heart, time, energy. I had been sympathetic towards experiences far out of my scope. My arms were always open for embrace, my head was always open to another perspective, but my soul was guarding my heart from digesting more than I could stomach.
Then it happened.
One day, I opened my eyes and realized that she was a living, breathing reminder of everything I had already overcome. She had the demeanor of a human, but the behaviour of what used to be my undefeated demons.
I was at the end of my tether, a tether I didn’t even know existed — perhaps very few people had ever dared reach it. Even fewer lacked the cognizance to know where my line lay.
But she, I suppose, fell into that category of “one of the fewer”.
I confronted her, of course, regarding the levels of disrespect radiating like Venus’ sulfuric acid — she didn’t “mean to”, she just couldn’t “help it”. Apparently it was my fault for letting her speak in that manner, for not defending myself.
Well my apologies for choosing to rise above the need to be unnecessarily defensive.
I took her advice, nonetheless, to prove a point. I “defended myself” by not taking blame for other people’s transgressions. This was, incidentally, viewed as “interrupting” and “not letting the other person finish speaking.” (Rambling, honestly).
Well my apologies for having self-respect and guiding a conversation instead of enabling validation.
How did I even let it go on so long?
I’ve been there before.
I’ve been in her shoes before. Those juvenile, self-centered, self-indulged, narcissistic, insecure, egotistic, defensive, over-analytical, paranoid, anxious shoes.
I’ve worn something like that.
Many moons ago, but in those shoes I’ve tread those paths — climbed the mountains and rolled down cliffs, drowned in lakes and washed up on shore, broken my bones and worn them casts.
But I am not there now. Nor do I want to go back to any of it.
So when I say that I am out of sympathy, it is not selfish or uncaring. It is not callous or heartless.
It is that I will no longer allow anyone to twist something beautiful into their distorted versions of reality. I cannot fill the voids she won’t admit exist, and will not validate insecurities that are hers — not mine — to fight.
My darling, if you ever read this, I’m sorry that I’d ever let you mistake my kindness for weakness, but I’m walking away because of the strength I’ve mustered up after recovering from this battle. I can’t let you interpret my words to your advantage simply to justify the mistakes of mine you continuously repeat instead of move past. I cannot keep being the buoy you cling to when you get stranded at sea, repeatedly. It’s time for you to pull your own weight — I’ve left you with enough care packages and tools to sift through, but it’s up to you to figure out how to use them.
You’re on your own, darling, but in a way that you need right now.
I’ll see you on the other side.
Hope you make it out alive.
Signed with the kind of love you’ve yet to understand,