Stirring the even tenor of society

2016-11-10 06:00

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” ? Noam Chomsky

Do we ever consider the reason behind our consuming habits? Or has consuming become a way of covering wounds that fail to heal because attempts to heal them are swallowed by constant violations of our consciousness?

In fact, I would further ask the question: do we even know what is, and how to be conscious?

At the eve of a very shaken political landscape in South Africa, where politicians are pointing fingers at who laundered money the most, we see the youth of South Africa taking up arms and grappling with a state that has delivered empty promises at the mercy of the black child.

We also see patterns of the youth grappling with being swallowed by constant images selling artificiality and consumerism. Even more so, we are consumed by the rat race, that we have placed on a pedestal the value of the type of job one possesses more that the value of the human life and its happiness.

What happens then when we are stripped from all the titles and material we have acquired? Who and what are we when there is a lack of material and money and all we have is the self, in its “naked” form, the soil that is brown and the soul that is not dependant on the validation of external influences?

Kwa Ntsika is a non-profit organisation based in Gugulethu. It seeks to unearth the underlying impacts of how, amongst other things, has the colonial regime stripped away much of the platforms that assist our communities to flourish. The organisation also takes a look at what progressive transformative stances can our communities, especially the youth, use to change and better the current conditions in in which they live under.

On Saturday the 29 of October, Kwa Ntsika held a three-hour workshop with 20 youths from Gugulethu. The workshop attempted to understand the relationship between economics and consciousness and how these two affect the relationship between the ‘self” and the development of the broader community.

The workshop presenter, Dr. Buhle Khanyile, drew from the works of the late Steve Biko and Frantz Fanon. The workshop created a space in which young black professionals thought about the relationship between their economic aspirations and spiritual lives. Particularly, what forces influence how we think about money/material things and our spiritual lives/how we live with ourselves and those around us.

It asked questions such as: In what ways does capitalism and consumerism shape the ways in which we understand ourselves in the world? What ways of living that are made possible to us by consumerism? Are there any practices that we can put in place that will help us to balance our material aspirations while deepening our consciousness and what does all this have to do with our sense of personal freedom?

“The use of Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko was to frame the conversation while it attempted to strike a balance between academic discourse and practical questions about how to use academic discourse to help think about our everyday lives, struggles and aspirations in post-apartheid South Africa,” Khanyile wrote as part of the workshop description.

The workshop is a series of activities that Kwa Ntsika plans to implement in order to bring about consciousness or rather awareness to the youth in our communities. As a belief that development begins at home, at Kwa Ntsika we regard “home” as the individual, more specifically the inner self (consciousness), before we could expand it to its standard definition.

Our mission is make sure that platforms are created where those adversely affected, whether by default or otherwise, by the injustices designed to oppress the black child and strip away their sense of self-worth, can come together to strategically, and tactfully discuss and create ways to dismantle the emotional and psychological brainwash created by these injustices; amongst other things.

We further hope that our platforms develop future leaders that support each other instead of always competing against each other.

To end this rumble on the same note that participants were left with, and to try and plant a seed for a thought process that seeks to free one from the misconception that life is about “consuming more in order to validate who you are”; I leave you with the words of the American Novelist, ? Wendell Berry:

“But even in the much-publicized rebellion of the young against the materialism of the affluent society, the consumer mentality is too often still intact: the standards of behaviour are still those of kind and quantity, the security sought is still the security of numbers, and the chief motive is still the consumer’s anxiety that he is missing out on what is “in”.

In this state of total consumerism - which is to say a state of helpless dependence on things and services and ideas and motives that we have forgotten how to provide ourselves - all meaningful contact between ourselves and the earth is broken. We do not understand the earth in terms either of what it offers us or of what it requires of us, and I think it is the rule that people inevitably destroy what they do not understand.”

Follow our Page on Facebook Page: Kwa Ntsika - Intsika Yoluntu Luthando to keep up to date with our activities:

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