Tuesday, December 23, 2008

it flows in the blood

there is something about being african. there is almost a covenant between the land and the individual. it is not something you can avoid or ignore. it flows in the blood.

true sometimes i consider whether i should leave, based only on the fact that i may one day pick up a not-so-stray bullet like so many of my patients, but somehow i know i won't. everything is messed up (thank you anc) but somehow i live under the delusion that staying may just be better for the country than leaving.

the real reason i wanted to post quickly was just to link to a great post on a most excellent site that shows the beauty of this land that does indeed flow through my blood.


Anonymous said...

We live 15 minutes from Johns Hopkins in the good old USA and my nephew was shot walking home from the corner store last August.

Hopkins is in a horrible neighborhood but 15 minutes away it is supposed to be a lot safer. Many nights we wake up to the sound of the ghetto bird (police helicopter) hovering over our neighborhood.

It is a whole lot safer then S Africa but not much. When I lived in Nepal the Maoist threw bombs into hotel lobbies and shot people in drive bys.

Bongi said...

anonymous it seems that there are places in the world where i would feel at home after all then??

rlbates said...

Beautiful video in the links. Thanks for sharing.

Jabulani said...

Leave, sure, and the ex-Medunsa student could take your place!

However, as I've commented before: Africa is a demanding mistress. Leave her, and she'll rip out a chunk of your soul not even YOU will be able to close! Those of us who've left, always hanker after her; remember her with longing; try to recreate her where we land-after-leaving. And still she triumphs. African blood beats to African drums, not American, English, Australian ... Settle we might, but rest? Oh no, Africans out of Africa only ever rest when they go "home".

You'd "feel at home" in England too - my cousin got shot in Brighton on his doorstep!

Jayne said...

I keep telling myself that I only have to stay in the Sandpit for another 36mths, then I can go home (& not have to worry about bond repayments!) & I know it's wrong to wish time away, but I'm impatient for those 36mths to fly by. After my trip in October, I now have friends who truly understand what it is to love South Africa & 3 of them would happily relocate! I know SA has its problems, but nothing, NOTHING can take away the smiles from complete strangers, the smell of the first rains on the dusty earth & the sound of gawgaws at sunset. You're doing a wonderful job Bongi - don't ever leave please :-)
I wish you a good Christmas & great New Year.

Greg P said...

In the end it should all come down to you, not the needs of your society, some sacrifice for humanity, or whatever.
But you have to be circumspect about this. You have to look at all the things that derive from your current situation. One very positive thing we all see is the inspiration that comes from your work that has led to this blog and its wonderful character, the high quality of your writing, the ways it teaches all the rest of us about the part of the world you live in.
I don't say this because I want you to stay so we can read more good stories, but because it seems those stories surely mean a great deal to you to.

Sara said...

I think this about here too for me. As tired and frustrated as I can get here, how I would have more money and an easier life in Australia (or London or whatever), I just can't go.

One thing I didn't like about liberalism in Berkeley is that they tried to erase cultural bonds - the idea that everyone could be the same, love each other the same. People are cultural and geographical creatures, we all have a home and a people, or at least need one. This isn't a bad thing that should be erased.

Jade said...

Wow! I always find it intresting how some of the most beautiful parts of south africa have the poorest people living in/around them.
Do you remember back when we use to sing "south africa, we love you our beautiful land, lets show the whole world that we can bring peace to our land" and walk around wearing those blue and white dove badges? How wrong we were? We were so hopeful. Goes to show that hope in man mostly dissapoints.
I love this place too, i would feel lost anywhere else. I've come to the realisation that i won't see Africa @ peace in my lifetime considering that the life expectancy is only 49. However, im very sure that we can still make a difference in communities we find ourselves in and to the most forgotten in poverty. So i'm staying home too.
On a lighter note where else will u hear people use words like howzit, yoh!, eish!, lekker, sommer, eat biltong and boerewors and treat odd illnesses like babelaas induced sicknotephilia ( always on mondays and fridays).
You are right; it does flow in the blood

Bongi said...

jade, i was at the union buildings for the inauguration of nelson mandela and danced with complete strangers across the lawn as the planes flew overhead. there was so much hope. then after too short a time mandela stepped down and the true nature of the anc came out. yes i was so hopeful, like you and like you my hope in man has been lost.

still once again like you i'd hope to make a difference where i am. let the politicians continue to empower and enrich themselves at the expense of the people. i will go on hoping to be the change i hope to see.

who knows, maybe the political winds of change we see now will help us to 'cope'?

Jabulani said...

Jade(lq2m), on an even lighter note;), you'd "hear people use words like howzit, yoh!, eish!, lekker, sommer, eat biltong and boerewors" here in Chichester and London!!! My husband, due to my heritage, started stocking SA goods (biltong, Mrs Balls chutney, rooibos tea and Super C's,etc.) and hand-make various flavours of boerewors in their farm shop. Pretty soon this fact reached the huge ex-pat SA community who came from miles around to buy stuff. Afrikaans became a common-heard language in the shop, as well as Ja-Nee, eina, nee jong and sheezlike. Now SA shops have sprung up all over this region serving the large numbers of us here in the south of England. But everyone hankers after our homeland. Our blood still flows red like the African soil.
And it seems the ex-pats have brought something with them: sicknotephilia is prevalent here too!

Bongi - losing hope in man is one thing, but if you ever lose hope in your ability to help even a single person, then truly all hope is lost. Until that time, Elpis burns bright.

Anonymous said...

My sister-in-law is South African, but she and her family had to leave when she was young. Her father was targeted because he spoke out against Apartheid (he is a minister), and defended Nelson Mandela.

Her parents would move back to South Africa, but their children and grandchildren all live in the USA, so they visit their family frequently. My brother visited a year ago when the whole family went back for a visit.

They frequently say you can't take Africa out of them. It calls to them.

Bongi said...

storkdok, that family should not return. the present government hates whites and the shock to white people who fought against apartheid can be difficult to deal with.

but as you see from the comments on this post by expats, if africa is in you you can never really leave. it follows you and calls to you. in all reality i don't think i could leave.

Eish said...

It's so true! Just when I think my flame has been snuffed, I hear :
Africa - Toto
Great Heart, Impi & Scatterlings - Johnny Clegg
Qongqothwane - Miriam Makeba (R.I.P. Mama Afrika)
More than a Feeling - Boston (beer ad & rugby theme)
Shosholoza - Traditional
I'd Like - Freshlyground
Paradise Road - Joy
I get a lump in my throat & a sting in my eye.
When I hear :
Umshini wami & Nicholas Louw, I have to swallow back waterbrash.
The power of music is incredible - I always have music in my theatre & nothing unites the team as well as jolling together. It has even melted the sourest of scrubsisters @ 2am ;)