Soweto rising: 1976 – youth day

Today, South Africa celebrates and recognises the power of a youth willing to stand for what’s right.

Today, my country mourns the lives lost in a struggle children as young as thirteen inherited, a struggle designed by a people, a government and legal system that placed premium and prejudice to the colour of one’s skin.

The message isn’t “by blood and fire, all wrongs can and will be made right”. It isn’t that a victory only exists when there has been a loss; the message is that a system designed to cripple a group of individuals will not survive. The message is that let us be equal in success and privilege as those children were in death, as man and child, mother and daughter were gunned down without pause.

Today, my country raises up the youth, now living or passed, of 1976. When the streets of Soweto were on fire, when classrooms, hallways and playgrounds were silent and an army stood tall and proud, armed with fists, voices and bodies, against a government armed with rifles, gas and the rule of law.

Today we remember their strength, and celebrate our own.

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By Design…

There’s harmony to your design

An inspired balance, a predestined finality to your conjuring

An unwavering permanence to your wounds and wanderings

There is an unalterable element to your every atom

Like the pulsing tide within your veins, there are courses that remain invariably your own

The immutable resolve of settled clay

The indomitable Prometheus’ curse

You are who you were meant to be

You never had a choice in the matter

Or did you?

Do you?

 

Project: get off your ass

The epiphanies stopped. The moments of clarity that bring with them a new found energy to take on the world, to conquer and thrive (and be awesome) stopped coming.

I’ve had a head filled with ideas and intentions and a heart bursting at the seams with hope, but I’ve been running on empty. It shouldn’t make sense, but unless you’ve been in my shoes, it won’t.

Something changed; somewhere along my journey, during my fall and my tenacious trek through the perilous wild that’s life, I dropped something of mine that was important. I lost a part of myself in the process of building myself up that I didn’t realise I’d stopped building and was simply fighting against the elements and patching up holes.

So I wandered. But I remained stuck. Again, this shouldn’t make sense, but it does because I lived it.

As with every odyssey, a turning point must be had; a moment where what was once lost, what was taken for granted and thought to have disappeared to never return again, must return to the aid of our hero. I’m the hero here, this is my odyssey, and today’s when the tide turns.

I want to document my progress, to use this space to not only share my journey, but to also keep me accountable. I really hope this isn’t yet another one of my “I promise, I’m really going to start working out and looking hot now, something has to change” phases, I’ve had many and none of them have lived past a week (and that’s being generous).

The goal is to be proactive. Sounds easy, I know, but the hard part will be working against a mindset I’ve created, nurtured and reinforced over the years. I have to fight my inner couch potato, rage against the voices that plead for mercy and I need to turn this into a lifestyle instead of a quick-fix.

I’m an insomniac, so this will be the first hurdle I need to overcome, the second is my health (however that’ll go), and the third is taking initiative mentally to be on point and ahead of the masses professionally. This will be no easy feat, but I don’t have much to do anyway so why not if the end result could change my life.

This means establishing a daily routine, having to stick to a timetable, eating right, being physically active (ouch), being mentally active (I mean, I’m almost always in my head so…), being spiritually stronger and most importantly, being fearless. I was once fearless, I went against the grain and did things that now make me envy the young man I once was, so I’m looking forward to seeing this through and having it become the new norm.

Here we go…

YIN YANG…

I am both optimistic and pessimistic.

I love the sound of laughter but I can’t stand being laughed at

I am naïve and idealistic and I am street smart and cunningly shrewd

I believe in love and I’m also a raging cynic

I’m a sweetheart, I honestly am, but they raised a savage

I’m a peacemaker but I will fight to the death for what I believe in

I hate noise, but I sing at the top of my lungs when the mood strikes

I’m a health nut, but I love chocolate and pizza

I’m sophisticated, but I throw it down when the beat drops

I have thousands of friends, but I’m on my own

I dreamed a dream…

I’m not one to speak on my dreams, out loud for others to hear, to weigh in on and I guess shoot down. I have a very real fear of being laughed at for the things I want to accomplish, because I live in a world that doesn’t favour dreams.

I live in a world where dreams are currency; traded away for comfort and survival.

I live in a world where dreams don’t survive; they don’t see the light of day and are most likely to haunt you than inspire you.

So for the longest time, I remained silent.

I allowed my dreams to stew, bake and bubble and to some extent ferment.

I was afraid.

If nobody knew what I wanted, what I dreamed of, then nobody could recognise my failures. To speak it is to give it power; power to inspire you or power to break you, I wasn’t going to be broken. I’ve stood by and watched family members use dreams to crush someone’s spirit, and I was never going to become one of those people.

So I remained silent.

I allowed my secret dreams to be my own, I didn’t share them with a soul (maybe one or two), but I spoke very little of them.

I remained afraid.

But that’s not entirely true; I revealed them to hundreds, paraded them before gatekeepers and prayed they were enough, that I was enough.

Time and again I was proven right; my dreams were broken, battered, shot down, ignored and thrown aside, but I kept them. Sometimes I feel like they’re a delusion, an insistent poison that won’t stop until I’ve broken.

Sometimes I feel like there’s more to them. For them to have survived so long, to have grown and strengthened can only mean they’re worth something.

So I’ll keep them, I’ll commit them to flesh and have them dance in the light in the hope that someone will favour them and honour them.

I won’t be afraid anymore.