by Kopano Sibeko
A week and a day ago was what is nationally known as June 16, termed after the 1976 Soweto uprising, which spiraled because Afrikaans was to be shaved down every bodies throat as a medium language in schools in South Africa.
Now 37 years later, we are free from such oppressive obstructions and we are supposedly a “democratic” state, however politics are not what I want to blab about in this piece.
Rather I want to challenge the notion of mental slavery… Just how we enslave ourselves mentally and we in turn want to blame it on the government, yes I am well aware that we still live in divisional classes that don’t allow us the same opportunities at times, but we all have brain cells to change such.
Funny how we want to blame the government for our thoughts or lack thereof.
We as the human race in our own individual capacities, want to conform to what ‘society’ deems as correct. yes maybe societal norms are placed to shape our lives in order, but have you ever wondered how life would be if we challenged those norms.
For over three decades now, we are liberated in South Africa. free to choose if we want to speak or learn Afrikaans or not. We are free to get an education, sometimes the education is free, yes maybe we might not have the best educators, but education takes personal willingness and sometimes one doesn’t need a push for that.
We are free to get married to the same race, to the same gender and to foreign nationals, yet we abuse that freedom sometimes by constantly arguing about if those things are morally correct… to whom is it suppose to be correct to?
I ask. people still cage their minds to tradition, religion, sexism and racism.
True, maybe we are not as free mentally as I thought the country should be, sure maybe I can blame it on the government, but on which basis might I ask?
The great Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Marley once said “emancipate yourself from mental slavery,none but ourselves can free our minds”.
The song urges listeners to “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” because “None but ourselves can free our minds”. These lines were taken from a speech given by Marcus Garvey in Nova Scotia during October 1937 and published in his Black Man magazine.
“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind ” Marcus believed.
Sometimes poverty is a state of mind, if we break all the chains that distract our trains of thought, if we learn to prioritize and more importantly if we read so we can be more knowledgeable.
shock often hits me, when people complain about service delivery and yet they burn libraries, education is the service, use it!
Reading helps awaken ones inquisitive quality, let us not limit ourselves to what the media feeds us, to what the government offers us and what the society tells us we can and cannot do.
So my thoughts are, rather than wearing uniforms, drinking to a pulp claiming to celebrate the lives that we lost and also sending out a bad message to the upcoming youth, let’s emanicipate ourselves by fighting for the very course of the struggle they fought for. Education… let’s take that day and fight for proper educational standards.
Let’s fight against this oppression, this suppression and this mental limitation, for the youth is doomed with the current education system.
It perplex’s me just how powerful the mind is, it is the only tool that one can free you from all that chains you.
Inspired by these words by Marianne Williamson.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?”
With these words I break all the things that enslave my mind.
Previous by Kopano
2013 June 3: The Strength of Love and Acceptance
2013 May 11: Actually, absolutely, definitely NO!
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