It has been 15 months since Yithi Laba youth conference passed and it feels like it was yesterday. I honestly do not like putting my words on paper, Zanele Muholi keeps bugging me to write something and I always drag it.
I just believe that we can’t all be writers, can I get an Amen?
Okay now getting to why I decided to write this article. I was prompted by a picture of Faces and Phases participants taken on August 25 2016. What stood out for me was the attached statement “THIS IS WHO WE ARE!”
I asked myself, who are we really?
After the conference, I participated in the 2015 Ford Ranger Odyssey Africa competition.
I was selected from over 11000 applicants from all over Africa to be in the Top 40.
I went to the boot camp for 4 days at Prince Albert in the Karoo, after the boot camp I was selected as part of the Top 20 to go to Namibia for 12 days.
Even though at the end of it all I did not win the competition, I was one the two females in the Top 5. It would have been great in fact AWESOME to have won, but the true prize for me was being able to spend 12 incredible days in Namibia, driving in the Namibian Desert in the most hard core bakkie in the world the Ford Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab XLT 6MT 4×4.
I saw the most incredible places ever.
The highest peak in Namibia: The Burnt Mountain, the most amazing place when the sun sets Spitzkoppe. At one point we were about 30km from the Angola boarder. It is 12 days that I will cherish for the rest of my life on earth and eternity.
Mind you, it was the first time I crossed the South African boarder, first stamp on my passport. All expenses paid baby! What a journey it was.
We were 20 different people from all over Africa (South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire).
Camping in the wild was our way of life. Sleeping under the blanket of stars and the moon, seeing them so bright and clear, WOW! Being one with nature. I learned a lot, the culture of Namibians, their flora and fauna. Their way of life and different tribes: the Himba and Herero people).
We learned about different rules about not being able to travel with uncooked meat from one place to another due the different types of animal diseases. And you know what that meant, yes!
Exactly that, we had to eat meat the whole day before “crossing” to another place the next day. I even considered becoming a “vegetarian” at one point. LOL!
So my 2015 was most definitely an eventful one.
I got to camp outside for the first time in my life.
Why was it my first time?
I asked myself that question every day since I started camping. Me answering me “because camping is not for black people.” What a lot of cow dung. Camping is for everyone, I just told myself it was only for white people, stupid me. I missed out on whole lot of great nights outside. I got to drive a Ford Ranger, who knew?
Me one day driving a Ford Ranger, Never! If I had never took a chance and entered the competition, if I never left my comfort zone. I would have never experienced what I experienced! I would have always told myself that black people don’t camp and you know what. I would have NEVER driven a Ford Ranger. Not because I cannot afford it because I never noticed it even though it drove past me every day, it was just another bakkie on the road. That is why I asked myself, who are we really?
Are we people who are defined by ignorance, by standard and stereo type of other people, are people who are defined by what we went through, what happened to us or what never happened to us?
Are we defined by what we were supposed to get, but someone did something in order for us not to get it?
Are we defined by having either both parents or one parent, who literally does not exist in our lives even though they/he/she is/are still alive?
Are we defined by being orphans or having one parent who would break his/her back for us, just to see us succeed and we show little or no interest at all, and throw it back into their faces?
Are we defined by the level of education, qualifications and success or rather the lack of? Who are we really?
I keep asking myself how has life changed for the other Faces I met last year.
What challenges did they faces and if those challenges won and broke their will to live forever?
Or who like me has a story of adventure to tell. It might not be the same as mine, but it was their adventure and they enjoyed it. Some might know the challenges I went through to be were I am, but I never let them dictate my future. I defined and dictate my future. The moment I open my eyes in the morning the devil gets a headache because he knows, whatever challenge I face, I do not face it alone for my Rock and Fortress, my place is safety is Alive. I wake up every day and I thank God that I am alive.
Who I am, you ask?
I AM BECAUSE HE IS!
WHO ARE YOU?
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