Every morning on my way to work I drive through the suburb of Boskruin in Johannesburg.
It’s a suburb like most others in the city. Pothole-filled, littered-lined . . . unkempt sidewalks and stray dogs – the occasional beggar – stark realities of life laid bare every square foot of the way. Too many people for too narrow roads . . . too many people, going about their days wondering when “they” will do something about the state of the nation.
When “they” will take a little bit of pride.
At that time in the morning the first batch of news moves a million heads from side-to-side in one powerful display of dismay, disarray and discontent. Our radios providing fodder for debate that will rage all day – in offices, in coffee shops, on staircases and around balcony ashtrays, the smoky illusion of people with purpose.
Online the debates will rage behind “clever” pseudonyms and faceless Avatars, nicknames for rainbow people who dare not stand by their convictions. Disguised, anonymous, opinionated – relieved by their godlike presence – speaking from above with nobody being able to see the entity behind those smiting remarks, behind those faceless accusations, behind those baseless declarations of . . . fact?
In cocoons we envelope ourselves in meaningless days of frustrating routine, of mind-numbing similarity, of distanced empathy and empty promises to do more, tomorrow, maybe.
In unison we decry the decay of society and moral fibre, the deterioration of respect and the rule of law, the erosion of empathy. Together we cry for the beloved country and we sign email-delivered petitions without ever again questioning their impact, without ever asking whether it made a difference, without wondering if we could have done more.
Together we feel robbed of something pure and great when those we consider icons and sources of inspiration fail to live up to the hype bestowed upon them.
Unified in horror, we watch our heroes die.
Every morning on my way to work I drive through the suburb of Boskruin in Johannesburg. It’s a suburb like most others in the city . . . except for the lady with the bag, the gloves, and the determination to keep her part of this world, clean.
There she is, every day, clearing litter out of her own accord. No sponsors’ bib, no Olympic medals, no Tour de France titles and no best seller books telling others how to, also, be great.
She’s just a lady, ignored by thousands looking for hope and inspiration – waiting for “them” to deliver on that promise of a better life for all.
She’s just one lady with a bag, cleaning our streets at 6am.