To Heal the Nation, We Need to Heal the People

2015-08-15 13:55

If the social media was ever going to be held to account, and the prophetic voices of this new age were to be questioned, it would be on how our conversation has degenerated into worthless banter. We have stopped far too short of opening our minds to a world of new possibilities and have dismissed any progressive idea as naïve and too idealistic to be heard. We have then indeed become a broken nation, with a hopeless people.

Traditionally though, there is a resilience that characterises an average South African even under adverse and seemly untenable situations. My sport loving brain will run to Jonah Lomu, side stepping James Small, Joost van der Westhuizen and Jappie Mulder bringing the winger down to win an unthinkable world cup. Or the Sydney test in 94, after Warne took five wickets and Australia only had 117 second innings target, but Donald and “Vinnige Fanie” got them all out for 111. Or the 1997 Congo Brazzaville game where soldiers wielded guns at Bafana Bafana players and Mark Fish had both his eyes elbowed to a swell and World Cup 98 was in danger.

There was also a common thread with the stories I mentioned above which has become an undeniable truth about South Africa: the 95’ Rugby World Cup win, the 95’ Africa Champions League win by Pirates, the 96’ AFCON win were all linked to the Madiba Magic. Nelson Mandela was glue that united us to an ocean of possibilities.

Affirming a People

What we believe of ourselves and what we aim to correct and achieve shapes who we are and what we can aspire to be. I was brought up with stories that I seldom hear being told today, which I thought were lies because only my grandfather told them. He told me of Lucas Majozi, a black stretcher-bearer, who accompanied his company into action during the second World War and was wounded by shrapnel as the company took enemy fire but he continued evacuating the wounded. Majozi worked incessantly till he collapsed next morning through sheer exhaustion, stiffness, and loss of blood. His extreme devotion to duty and gallant conduct under continuous enemy fire throughout the night saved the lives of many wounded men who would otherwise have died through loss of blood or possible further wounds.

He told me of his great grandfather, John Mokitlane Nyokong, a land title owner and an industrialist of his age who also employed white people despite the limitations pass laws imposed on him in the early 1900s. The list was long with stories that were equally impressive and I grew up believing in a grander posture of who I was. I know today the stories are factually proven true. I do, though, sometimes wonder if future generations of South Africans should learn of the joined contribution of all races to the South African story.

Even the pupils and teachers attending or working a Job Maseko School in Kwa Thema, Springs would not in any of their literature have come across his story. Even through the meritorious and courageous actions of Job as a prisoner of war during the second World Cup, he sank a fully laden enemy steamer while moored in Tobruk Harbour, turning a war.

Healing the People!

The Bible says, “I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

I believe the greatest equaliser in life is inspiration. There is a level of passion that’s unquenchable and able to turn even the poorest of the poor into a success. This Inspiration is affirmed when the image we hold of ourselves is not a subdued one. My particular differentiator may be that I have never known my people to be subdued, despite my recollection of apartheid. For this reason I had a mathematics and science Academy at age 19 helping matriculates prepare for their final exams. I was traveling throughout rural South Africa teaching maths and science by 22 years. I have worked over time in the development space with rural villages far removed from hospitals that we had to organise rural clinics to ensure delivery of medicines to the people.

The average South African’s narrative is deeper than what meets the eye. Whether documented or not, the truth, mutual respect for the common good of the country is not a far-fetched idea. Some of our journeys may have been omitted out of the history books but the inference is not to form new philosophies on who your neighbours is. They are South Africans with a history of fighting wars on your side even with a history of fighting against you.

 Healing a Nation  

I have said this before, because our social experiment is premised on the idea that we should be reconciled culturally and socially without a history of conciliation, we don’t know yet where to start. May I suggest maybe we should start at some vain unconscious level by admitting to ourselves that we need each other?

 Be Inspired South Africa!

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