The #AmINext protests of the past two weeks were a game-changer for South Africa, writes Adriaan Basson.
Light showers. Partly cloudy. Cool.
Khaya DlangaThe young lady arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle cocaine in her dreadlocks hasn’t even been tried in a court of law yet and has not been proven guilty. According to reports, she confessed that she was smuggling the drugs to a client in a hotel in Thailand.As much as we joked about her and the drugs in her hair, as much as we beat her up on the social networks, I am certain that she is beating herself harder than anyone of us could. Maybe the greater burden for her is not that she is in jail in a foreign land, but disappointing her parents. There are few things worse in this life than disappointing your parents. Unless they disappoint you first of course.There was nothing sadder than watching the YouTube video of the girl as they her led before the cameras with half her hair undone. The video is still so vivid to me, it as if it happening now.The Thai airport authorities lead her to a chair, they speak to each in what to us is a foreign language. She is bewildered. Tears stream down her face involuntarily. Her hair is being undone; she rests her hand on her forehead. The camera rolls, others click as though at the airport for a celebrity interview. Except not. But for a while, this young woman’s hair (or rather, her fake dreadlocks) will be famous. Yes, we made fun of the story. We won’t be able to look at people with dreadlocks the same way again.What makes us think that things make us who we are? “I want! I want! I want!” is a parasite that has infested our very being as young people; we need to reassess what we value. Perhaps we value that which has a price tag, but the things that are truly valuable have no price tag. Like freedom.What can we learn from this? What can we take out from this?Know thyselfKnow thyself. If you can’t do that, at least know thy girlfriend’s birthday. None of us know what we would be prepared to do to get what we want, especially when an easy and harmless opportunity presents itself to us. When you know yourself, all temptations cease to be temptation. Everything is divided between things you will do, and things you will not do. When you know yourself, you become immune to peer pressure.When you think you know everything and have answers to everything, you do not know who you are. (Disclaimer: I do not know everything and I have no answers)Stick to your principlesSometimes, principles are difficult to stick to, depending on the circumstances. Sometimes people will say you are being difficult when you stick to your principles. When you stick to your principles, you are not being difficult; you are sticking to your principles.Do not be desperation’s victimNever allow the illusion of desperation to cause you to make a decision you would never make. We can be so desperate for things that we become blind to our values. The desperation says that we must get what we want at all costs. Regardless of the price. Unfortunately, not realising that the price will cost us for a lifetime in the end - just for short-lived ecstasy. Things are fleeting, life is too precious.Quick Easy MoneyQuick easy money is often dangerous money. In the end, one pays more for money that comes too quickly and easily. There is no substitute for good old hard work. Being a cowardBeing a coward has saved me from doing many things I knew I would regret later. Sometimes it is admirable to be a coward. We must be brave when it matters. Bravery for what adds no value to life is misguided.I’m sorry if this seems sanctimonious and preachy, but my heart bleeds for that young woman. It bleeds for her family. Her story has caused me think harder about my life, about how quickly it can change, without warning. This is not denying the fact that more often than not we have a hand in our own destruction. Beware of the self. All we can do now is pray for her. Unfortunately, she may be a lesson to anyone who was thinking of doing what she did. As you can see, I cannot even bring myself to write her name. My heart goes out to her family. And to her, despite what she did. Having said that, I won’t stop joking about dreadlocks and drugs.- Follow Khaya on Twitter.
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