Soldier of Love

I was going to write about the state of the nation address but the First Lady’s’ outfit upset me too much. Instead, I’ve been inspired by a tweet from Sibongile Mafu: “So who’s going to break it to the adults? Valentine’s Day doesn’t exist”.

I don’t want to subscribe to Valentine’s Day. I think it’s sick that I expect a gift from a special someone even though I have no plans to return the favour. I don’t want to give anymore thought to wearing something red and white and I’m disappointed at myself for the teen years I spent being bleak over not getting a long stem rose. This might be a good time to confess that in my 11th grade I orchestrated a flower delivery from a ‘secret admirer’. They were actually from my mom; I had handpicked each rose and watched the florist assemble them in clear cellophane.

In aid of trying to understand this annual middle class illness, I’ve researched the origins. In short: Valentine was a Roman priest who defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying soldiers to their sweethearts in secret. Claudius believed wives and family were a distraction to the soldiers and when he found out, he sentenced Valentine to death. The date of Valentines official death is reported as 14 February 270 AD. Yawn, still doesn’t explain the spectacle. I’m looking for the idiot who romanticized this heartbreaking death. Hallmark… is there something you would like to say for yourself?

In the spirit of red hearts, Swiss chocolate, dinner for two and a cheesy proposal here is a list of things to fall in love with about South Africa:

  • Our national anthem: “Uit die blou van onse hemel, uit die diepte van ons see. La la la la la shim sha dom do do ta ta la la!”
  • Sport: Rugby, Soccer and Cricket supporters are merging. Wearing your Bafana Bafana T- shirt to a Springbok game is not a political statement.
  • Political Heroes: Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, Joe Slovo and so many unsung heroes.
  • Dorpies: My favorite dorpie is Bathurst in the Eastern Cape. Blink and you miss it. Their claim to fame is a giant pineapple and you wouldn’t want to miss it!
  • Braai/ Tshisanyama: The family that braai’s together, stays together.
  • Our sense of humor: This blog is proof that South African’s have a great sense of humor. My slating of the political scene in “Effective Representation” has been well received.

So in response to @sboshmafu, let’s spare the adults. Expectations are high. Even lonely hearts have made plans to rent out The Notebook for the umpteenth time. Personally, I’ll be having a romantic TV dinner for one and thinking of all South African’s around the world who desperately regret having left.

Ps. find me on Twitter @phakamanilisa

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