As we parked the car, I had no idea what to expect, what to feel, what was even to come of sight. We walked through the doors of a small church in a village, where as soon as we entered I realized I was the minority. I would never think just hours later, I would be walking out of these same church doors with tears in my eyes.
Invited by a local mate named Kevin who I had just done a beach clean up with, I wasn’t sure what I was about to encounter. We walked in to a room full of boys, girls, men and woman who I learned to be of all different African descents. Myself, Alex, a fellow volunteer from the backpackers we work at, and Kevin sat down as the show had started already.
At first judgment and doubt filled my mind as to what these people thought about me, as we where the only white people who made up the room. I looked into the eyes of the children as they looked back at me with wondering eyes of what was I doing there? Why was I in their home?
The community had put together a talent show and I felt so honored to be a guest to attend it. The crowd started cheering as a group of girls took the stage, they started dancing and working their bodies like a full on woman-powered Beyonce video. Coming to find out that most African societies are ran by a conservative patriarchy system, it was beautiful to see these girls express themselves through movement and dance. The next act consisted of two boys rapping their hearts out quickly with passion, so fast that it couldn’t help but just bring a smile upon your face. To my favorite act which was performed by a young girl named Nompha who read outloud some of her poetry which consisted of topics in politics, the system they live in and the god that she believes in. To having the show finish up with a play done by over 10-20 girls and boys of the community about the different roles men and woman have in this society, to the controversy of pregnancy and abortion and the epidemic of HIV.
Tears were brought to my eyes at least four or five times, but yet I tried to hold them back, I wondered to myself why was I holding back my emotions, what was I so scared of? Maybe it was the fact that I knew how much truth was in these stories that I couldn’t believe I was here witnessing it. Tears then poured down my face as I could not resist the emotion, and wanted to only feel the truth.
Living at the surf and yoga camp I’ve been volunteering at, sometimes seems so quiet as if nothing is going on, but I have to remind myself and bring myself to the awareness that this place, this beautiful-beautiful place is a place where there is so much suffering going on and help is needed all around. For some reason this is a place where there is a lack of love that is going on everyday.
The lack of love goes on by us, the people, both men and woman who think either one gender holds more power, or one race has more power. The other day as I was paying in line at the grocery store, a older woman and younger man started arguing as the young man started talking to the cashier while she was ringing up the woman. “How rude of you to distract her while she is ringing me up, the woman said.” The boy, who couldn’t be any older than 18, started fighting back with the woman, telling her to go back to her country, as the woman replied she was a woman of South Africa, the boy laughed and said “You are not a REAL AFRICAN.”
Who was right or wrong in this situation wouldn’t be where the attention was focused, in this case it was not a real argument over interrupting the cashier, but an argument over the color of their skin. Both black and white’s face this struggle every day, a fight over who was here first, this is my land not yours. The fight begins for some just at a young age, a fight just to be seen the same, but has not yet been won.
Why do we struggle still with these beliefs? When we all know we are born into this world the same, and we leave the same. Perhaps that we all know this fact but yet are still not treated equally, is where the bitterness comes in.
Seeing and being able to feel all these different experiences with all of these different emotions really makes me grateful to be alive, to be able to give love to where it is needed. It is by writing, reading, expressing ourselves, mentioning our experiences to others that will inspire each-other, to live a better life and create a better world. To give a smile or lend a hand where maybe you haven’t before is what it’s all about. To travel to a new country or just a new place, just to see how many different ways people are living there lives. I hope all of these situations have inspired you just as they have inspired me. Let’s keep connecting and sharing our experiences as we have the ability to change each other’s lives and the way we see the world. As Pink Floyd says “All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.” Till next time mates. With love from South Africa.