Posts Tagged ‘apartheid’

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

Once again I found myself emotional when watching a movie about South Africa. And the above quote? I happened to be quietly teary just before that, but when James Earl Jones quoted that piece in the movie, I could not contain myself any longer and just broke down sobbing. My dear husband is so sweet and patient with me when I become overcome like that. I just could not get over how apt that quote is for me…”For fear will rob him of all“…and indeed it has. It was fear which drove me away from South Africa, which is still driving my friends and family away.  Will it ever stop?

The book was originally written in 1946, 2 years before apartheid became official, and already fear was shaping the nation.  I was born into that fear, nursed on it.  No wonder fear wracks through me still, even 10 years after being away from it.  It was almost as if Alan Paton could see into the future when he wrote that he wonders if love will be transformed into hatred.  I wonder what he would think if he were to see what South Africa is today.

I just have to read the book now.  The movie was powerful, but books are always better at capturing the nuances.

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Africa Weeps

Sue’s Arty Farty Musings is a blog I follow on my RSS reader and although I don’t always have time to delve into it, I found I had some time this peaceful Sunday morning.

Her latest work, ‘Africa Weeping‘ is AWESOME!  Check it out.  I want me some 🙂  If I could afford it, that is.

These paintings so totally speak to my soul…tugging at my African Heritage heartstrings.

I don’t know if I’ve blogged about this before, but I feel guilty for leaving South Africa (I’ve been away for nearly 10 years now – wow!).  I feel that I profited growing up white in an apartheid South Africa, had privileges my fellow countryman did not, and all because my skin was white and not black.  And when it became tough to live in SA, when it became a struggle of life and death, I left.  Make no mistake, I still think it was the smartest move for me and my family.  Yet I feel guilty.  Like I should be giving back, putting back into the country I freely fed upon growing up, joining the struggle to make it a growing, prospering country again.  Sometimes I think about going back and my blood runs cold and fear for my life stops me.  Is that smart or selfish?  I oscillate between the two and haven’t yet found the happy medium.

This is what makes my current job the sweetest of ironies…I work for a historically black university here on the Eastern US seaboard.  This was purely unintentional of course, it just happened to be the job which fitted in my current lifestyle the best.  So now I find myself working back my karma, on US soil, in relatve safety, for a people who were historially disadvantaged not only here in the US but who were also violently and butally uprooted from their African homeland.  And I find that my guilt is slowing dissolving and the wounds healing.

Aint life strange sometimes.  And of course, even though it may appear otherwise, nothing is ‘just co-incidence’ 😉

No matter how many years I spend away from South Africa, I will always be African at heart and the African lanscape will always call to me.  I hope I’ll be able to have some of that landscape, so poignantly captured, in my home, bringing it just a tiny bit closer.

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