Culture grounds us. It provides us with a purpose, it gives us a sense of belonging to something, some part of history. We are proud when we think of what our people have achieved, inspired by their braveness and heroics.
It also has the ability to turn our knees to water with fear. The stomach will fall to the bottom of the body, right above the anus whilst twisting itself into a knot so tight that breathing becomes difficult. Sweat is produced in abundance which causes a lack of spit in the mouth, the tongue subsequently gets stuck to everything (throat and "verhemelte").
Why does our culture cause these feelings? Heraclitus said that "The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change", and we do not like change. It strikes fear into our hearts. Yet, change is necessary. Change is natural. A boy changes into a man, a girl into a woman and a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. They fear the changes as they happen, yet most who have undergone these changes have been better off after. When I think of change and of culture, it is not as simple to compare cultural change to that of going from an adolescent to an adult. It is not as simple because the cultural change that I foresee happening in South Africa is one that does not exist yet.
When we grow and develop there are mentors, others that have experienced our path, or a similar path that guide us and instruct us. With a new culture that develops this guidance is absent, which can be the cause of great fear. As I said earlier, our culture, our heritage provides us with something of who we are. We adopt the values of our ancestors, their traditions practiced and beliefs they had. We adopt their religious beliefs and we ground ourselves in that. Think of the many churches. Who actually experienced an eye opening event with their "God", yet they believe fervently in that "God's" existence?
With our democratic nation, young now at 20 years old, we have been forced to abandon our previous cultural notions and to step forward in creating a new culture. And has proven difficult! an expected result if you take where our nation has come from and the history that we shared, yet, we will need to choose differently at some point. Who will step forward and be the pioneers of this new culture? What will their values be? How will they express themselves in love, hate, politics, religion and other social and individual aspects?
How will we raise our children to be accepting of this new culture, which is coming, and has already seen change in corporate cultures across South Africa. I am excited about this and study the battles fought (internally and externally) with great interest as South African "boys and girls" change into the men and woman that will shape this beautiful country's future.
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