“The prospect of being given a second chance after 1994 is rather intricate, I say to you now; I am the change I want to see in South Africa. As much as I was once left bruised, violated, lied to, cheated on, disappointed and oppressed! I rose above and beyond the Government and their politics” S. Nkumbi
April 27th, the day we call Freedom Day as South Africans.
What is Freedom?
In my own terms I am struggling to decipher the term. Thoughts are running wild and my being is being washed by mixed emotions. Today is the 27th of April 2017, I know that black South Africans voted for the first time in 1994. Our parents and grandparents who experienced the apartheid regime first hand, had hope in their eyes for better days. That sent assumptions that they were free and we ended up calling this day Freedom Day. I am going through mental turmoil trying to figure out how free is the Mother Land?
When will the Fees Fall?
What is happening with our Government?
Knowing the state of my country at this very moment my Heart is bleeding.
Allow me to share my own personal feelings towards this day, I feel nothing!
The more things change, the more they stay the same and in this case they have gotten worse. I was only 4 years old when this day was marked as “Freedom Day”, I have memories of Mother looking hopeful that things would change even though she still had to wake up in the crack of dawn and had to hustle for her young ones. With that said, the day left a bitter taste in my mouth. No doubt things got better as the years progressed. What still puzzles me even to this day is that blood had to be shed to get to where we are now and all we got as a consolation prize is making this day a public holiday. As we grow wiser we realize what matters and choose to see the good in things. This is our History and celebrating it makes sense considering where the country was before 1994. When I asked fellow South Africans what does this day mean to them, my question was beautifully answered by Cathy Winter, “A day celebrating shackles thrown off and of naming shackles that need to be unbound, still.”
So here I am 23-years later with this pen in my hand writing this! It filled my being with Joy when I realised that When I wrote a poem titled Color of Freedom back in 2013 I was being prepared by my Ancestors for this very moment. I take pride in knowing that the youth of South Africa is rising, taking matters into their own hands for the betterment of the Nation. We know we are powerful beyond measure, which gives me hope that the next generation will continue building from the strong concrete premise that we have created for them. Leaving your homeland is not easy, far from it. However, because we are dreamers with a cause, we do it without a single bone of doubt in our bodies. Knowing that the drums shall be beaten when we come back to the Promised Land, the Motherland.
I am in a foreign country, I have left loved ones behind, risked being misunderstood out of my comfort zone but then again; nothing grows in your comfort zone. We are all meant for greater things. I have met a lot of fellow South Africans along the way in different stages of their lives, who know deep in their gut that we can only be the change we want to see. With our communities in our Hearts even the sky is not the limit, if it means going to the moon and back in order to see change in the Motherland then that is what will be done. In inference, freedom is a color of a beautiful rainbow nation and is expressed by each and every individual in their own terms. These words are engraved in my heart and it is how I express freedom in my own terms “Peace is not something we awake and claim to have; it is lived, felt, abused, denied and then expressed in a manner better than before simply because we know better now” Nkumbi.
I met a gentleman in Switzerland by the name of Mandisi Sindo, all the way from Khayelitsha in Cape Town a true visionary full of determination and wisdom. He is a Creative Art Director at Makukhanye Art Room and an Artistic Director to mention a few. Close to his heart are the words of Fanon, “What matters now is not to know the world but to change the world”. Indeed he took Khayelitsha out of SA. His mission is to heal Souls through Art. Our children will grow to know that they can be who they were meant to be without any doubt. Art is an integral part of who we are as beings, it is where we find bits and pieces of ourselves and expressing it in a manner where we know and feel that we have reached the highest parts of our beings.
I then reconnected with a Woman by the name of Sandy Zigana who is currently living in Turkey and this is what she had to say about freedom in her own terms, “Being in Turkey has taught me a lot of things about myself and the Muslim religion. I have come to understand that there is not only one God but rather categorised in different ways,” she says.
Sandy goes on to tell me in her own words that she believes that the world begins with the children. “Growing up I was never one of the brightest students, I took liberty of understanding and inspiring those that are living in my very own shoes,” adds Sandy. This is how her path began and led her to where she is now. Sandy is an English kindergarten teacher; she strongly believes that is where the future begins. She will bring back to SA wealth in terms of Spirituality and love. She aims to empower the young ones to go for their dreams. Her values are honesty, respect, love and humanity, a true African. In the end she says, “It is my passion to impact people with education, teaching makes me happy, it is a reward on its own, knowledge of self is true wisdom”. Sharing that wisdom with the Kings and Queens of tomorrow is priceless.
Lastly, I crossed paths with a young a gentleman by the Name of Sisa Ntshwaqela one of the founders of Dine with Khayelitsha In Switzerland. Dine with Khayelitsha started in April 2015, when I asked him why Dine? Sisa said, “We started Dine as a business so that we can be able to generate money and use it to sustain our early childhood development program.” It is an NPO called Have Fun and it started in 2014.
He proceeded to say, “ Dine is also meant to bridge a gap between cities and townships and bring change in South Africa”. Conversations are shared over nice meals, a space where people connect and network. His roles at Dine is facilitating the conversations, organising spaces and being an MC during events. Dine is a goldmine of knowledge anyone who has ever been to the events knows the feeling of togetherness plus the spirit of Ubuntu.
In inference, Freedom is when you know that the power to change what is not serving self and the people well is inside you. It begins with the person in the mirror, all it takes is one step and with passion, determination and hard work nothing is impossible. Doing good with no desire of recognition is not only integrity but true freedom. Young people doing it for themselves, growing and uniting the nation. The time is now! Freedom is not Colored, Black or White. It is power of being able to stand firm and fulfil your destiny, the only way you and your ancestors know how. With all that said, witnessing the youth doing big things for themselves and the people leaves me consoled. That is freedom in my own terms.
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