Monthly Archives: July 2011

Multiplying

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 We are a family!
Let me start by saying thank you. I read all comments, tweets and emails and I’m encouraged. My ramblings seem to speak to many of you and I hope you will carry on reading. Without further delay, this weeks’ middle class concern is “Should I adopt a child?”
The world population is doubling every two years. South Africa has just reached the 50 million people mark. Logically- no one should be reproducing. On a superficial level, it means more traffic, longer waiting lists for the best schools, less personal space and a smaller chance of finding the right size during sales. Environmentally it means less land, water and food and more pollution and waste. Socially and politically it means, more unemployed youth and more tax to service the 14 million plus South African’s on social grants. It makes me nervous.
Before I get cussed out for linking adoption to overpopulation let me add that there are many factors to consider before assuming the parenting of another being. Every child needs a loving home and parents. With so many unfit parents, I believe there should be a licencing process in which couples apply to some greater authority for permission to have children. I say this in jest but humans have done very well in multiplying and not so well in assuming responsibility.
I am not ready to have my own children but I think adoption is worth considering. Many South African children are in desperate need of families. If I’ve stirred any curiosity, visit Adoption SA or Adoption Voice SA for more information.

Lala ngoxolo

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I can’t explain the all black attire and sunglasses at a wedding except to say my uncle was barely stylish but greatly loving
My family is from rural Eastern Cape. I mean gravel road, sheep and shepherd, valleys and hills kind of rural. I spent some of my holidays there as a young’un. Pulling goats teats, chasing chickens, listening to battery operated radio and by all means avoiding the long drop. My uncle lived in the serenity of these blue sky’s and green hills. When I visited, it was a true meeting of country and city mouse. I would trade him stories about the metal bird we had flown in for a lesson in herding. He joked that he had once been hit on the head by human droppings from a passing plane. I dedicate one of my favourite poems to him, in the hope that he will dance with the daffodils for all of eternity. Lala ngoxolo malume (RIP Uncle):
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
By William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Somalia: famine, war, pirates

This is Somalia. It is in the horn of Africa (East Africa). Thought a mini- history lesson might be in order since the country is back on the radar. According to the UN, 3.7 million Somalis are now in crises and fleeing the country in search of food and water.

In 1991 opposing clans overthrew President Barre. The country has not had a central government since then (only a transitional government). It is considered a humanitarian disaster due to clan violence, rule of law absence and frequent stretches of drought and famine.

International media is obsessed with Somali pirates. They’re not a myth but they’re not wearing eye- patches yelling aaargh either. There is still debate on whether there is a direct link between poverty and piracy. There is no debate in my head that with a functional central government, economic growth and social development, piracy would cease to be popular. The pirates hi- jack ships, take crews hostage and demand ransom money. With every hi-jacking, the pirates are getting craftier and more sophisticated- for this reason, I also have an arb fascination with them.

 I keep torturing myself with images of malnourished children and helpless parents. It’s easy to conclude that God forgot about Somalia a long time ago. To make donations and keep up to date with progress made in the region visit the World Food Programme website.

The Arts

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Young Man Holding Greek Drama Masks by Hill Street Studios

 The National Arts Festival is upon us. I will not be attending this year but I can imagine the energy, spirit and mood.  Cue Newspaper is in full swing, with young journalists running around Grahamstown watching average to great plays. The Green Village is amass with bits and bobs you think you desperately need but don’t. Eateries are filling up with strangers from all corners of the earth. Most importantly performers are stretching, memorising, reciting and possibly washing away the jitters with some gluhwein.
Sadly, my acting career ended with my high school career but the arts remain a crucial part of my social life. Not just theatre of course, but dance, film, music, literature and anything else under the ever expanding definition of ‘the arts’. Typical of all things middle class, it all has the potential to be pretentious: I’ve never been to the theatre under dressed or sat at the movies without coming up with several interpretations of what the director and writer must’ve meant. But there are two sides to every coin.
As part of the Amnesty International Society I took part in the Vagina Monologues in university. I recited “The Hairy Vagina”. My rather conservative boyfriend sat in the audience squirming, after weeks of trying to talk me out of it. He almost managed to convince me it was crazy, except the words ‘You cannot love a vagina unless you love hair’ proved to be more powerful. I uttered the words ‘My first and only husband hated hair. He said it was cluttered and dirty’ and my feminist side reared its head and demanded the audience listen and internalise the message. The audience tensed when I said ‘He made me shave my vagina. It looked puffy, and exposed, like a little girl’. But it was the one’s who tensed the most that came to see the show more than once. My embarrassment slowly thinned amongst the standing ovations. The cast had become a medium for expression; tackling issues of self- esteem and feminine pride. The play was never about me, it was about the power of theatre.
The arts is an extension of our lives, a reflection of our decisions and a creative documentation of history.