Students….stirring up a hornets nest

I know that this post may just fan the flames just a little, but I like everyone else, I am entitled to my opinion, if nothing else. It mostly because I have been listening to very unsympathetic one sided opinion….so here is a view that I feel not many have considered.

There are two things that sparked this post, one was a conversation that I heard at work this morning where the following words were uttered “who do they expect to pay for their education”. I was less than impressed. And the second was the opinion that I read on a news site.

Unlike many people here, I grew up in apartheid South Africa, on the wrong side of the so called white picket fence. I often hear “working class” whites say that they went to government schools, ….and I fully appreciate that life was not as comfortable for you as for your peers….but have you ever stopped and asked yourself was life better than it was for non-white South Africans. It is an absolute travesty that public schools now have forty children in a class, guess what, Indian schools back in the day had a very similar number. How many people were in your white public schools? One play field, poor sanitation facilities, broken furniture, worn text books, that was EVERY Indian school….but you know what, it was still better than our black South Africans had…NO classrooms, NO books, NO toilets. Adds a little perspective doesn’t it?

Ever asked yourself what “working class” meant for whites? A supervisor, a secretary, receptionist? Those were all jobs reserved for whites back in the day. Granted, it meant that your life was not luxurious, but it was a job that gave you the means to better yourself. How many white domestic workers or miners do we have on this platform? How many of your parents were gardeners? Any takers? No? Sure? That was working class for black South Africans. There was a meagre wage that barely covered food and transport let alone clothes. Clothes were a luxury reserved for when Holiday and leave pay was paid. Where did they find the money to provide an education? As you may or may not be aware, funding for education back in the day came at a much higher interest rate for non whites than for white South Africans, which made it nearly impossible to afford even if people wanted to.This month before you give your domestic worker her wages, have a look at the money you are handing her, and ask if you could support a family and pay for an education given the same?

I know, full well the absolute desperation for an education, it was the only escape from a cycle, and these youngsters are looking for the same. I don’t agree with the burning and the trashing and the disrespect for other people and their property but I have empathy for their plight. 6% may not seem like a lot for those with even middle class jobs, but for the genuine working class of this country, it is the difference between a better life or remaining in this cycle for another generation. 6% is the difference between a student loan and no funding. 6% is the difference between a promise of a better future or scratching out a meagre existence. The vast majority of all students have to pay through loans for their own fees….let’s bear that in mind.

Until you have walked in those shoes, or faced those challenges, don’t judge. As a white person in South Africa, you think that you understand discrimination, but you will probably never understand the evil of apartheid unless you have lived through it. It was a system that was designed to cripple an entire race of people, not just for a generation but for all those that followed. And whilst I agree, that the corruption in the present administration has not helped the plight of the students, they are not to blame for the situation that they find themselves in….listen to the message not necessarily the manner in which it is coming across. To deny an education, is to deny the betterment of not only that person, but every generation that they will be empowered to help. Ponder that for just moment, before you back to berating people for wanting a better life than the one they find themselves in….one you could not possibly imagine.

My Beloved Father 1936 – 2015 Rest in Peace

There is such a finality in Death. Today I honour an AMAZING human being, who I had the privilege of calling My Father.

There is always a remarkable bond between a father and his daughter – and it was no different for me. I adore him – for the humble, respectful gentle soul that he was. We did not grow up with much, but we were also not short of the essentials. My father provided for us all – more than we could ask for and certainly more than we sometimes deserved. He had a special place for each child in the family and took time to create special memories with each and every one of them.

But most of all – I am grateful for the time he had with my son. My son took his mind of pining for a son my father had not seen for years – and in return, my son was showered with love and knowledge. It was my father that in his gentle way allowed my son to develop his own little persona. There bond was so deep that my little one would tell everyone he could that my father was his best friend – now that is something special.

I can’t begin to express the fond memories that we have over the years.I have lost the only man who ever really loved me. All that was sacrificed – all that was given and I really do feel that I failed him at the end. I could have and should have done more. It is too late now – I can only hope that you forgive me. You were more than the father I deserved – and I am so grateful to have had you in my life. I miss you terribly – and I can only hope that you are at peace now. I am glad that you did not suffer any indignity – and I am happy and sad that the last person you called for was me. I love you so very much….

Until we meet again – Go well. May you soul find eternal peace.

Ever wonder….

Do you ever wonder what it would feel like…..to love yourself as much as you would your soul mate. Unconditional, unreserved love? Ever wonder what it would be like to forgive your own discretions as easily as you forgive others? Ever wonder if life would be easier if you could accept the best effort from yourself as enough? Do you ever wonder if that’s even possible? Do you ever wonder if things would be a little simpler if you could see yourself as human….the same species as everyone else….

I wonder if I will ever really know…..

First Aid

How it feels to be loved…..

This weekend I had the privilege to attend my cousin’s wedding….done in the typical three day Tamil tradition, much colour and fanfare. These are two people that love each so dearly, that you can see it in the way they look at each other….the kind of love that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But that is not what this post is about…

On Friday night was the pre-wedding rituals and I was dressed in a saree. My son was so clingy, not like he normally is, and I couldn’t quite understand it. I put it down to the crowd, he normally gets a little claustrophobic when there are lot of people, especially when it is people that he doesn’t know.I can’t blame him really, because I feel the same way. But when he did the same thing on Saturday, I had to ask why….and the reaction completely took my breath away.

He turned to me with absolute endearment and said “because you look so pretty, I don’t want to share you with anyone else.” What do you say to that???? I have no felt more beautiful in my entire life as I did at that moment. I love that little boy so much…more than I ever, ever imagined I could love anyone. I have a lump in my throat typing this….to think that next year he starts Grade 1….where have the years gone???? And why did you have to grow up so quickly….

This little boy is the affirmation, that I have done a lot right…..and I am so grateful for his presence in my life…

Lest we Forget

There are so many lessons that can be taken from the two World Wars, so many things that could be learnt, but first they must be taught and then they must be remembered. The brave young men and women that served with courage have all but faded into time, those that are still with us are few and far between. But it should never come to be that their sacrifices, their bravery and their courage ever be allowed to be forgotten. The world as we know it, the landscapes, the children would look very different were it not for them.

This is a salute to the men and women of that generation….for the sacrifices of the greater good…..for the love of humanity…..let history never repeat itself, and let these people forever be remembered…..

Perspective….

When I was growing up, I always thought that learning was done in a classroom, sitting behind a desk. Never did I realize that I could not have been more wrong….lessons present themselves all around us and oddly enough from the sources that we least expect. Once again I have received the affirmation that life gives us everything that we need and often when we least expect it.

The truth is when I was growing up, I really did believe that I could change the world. And then life happened…and I got so caught up in my own challenges and survival that I completely lost sight of that….then I had an interesting encounter. There is a sense of confinement that come with responsibilities…that is life, we have bills to pay, we have things that need to be done, deadlines to be met and the list goes on.

I was having a chat the other day with a person that suddenly appeared albeit somewhat “virtually” in my life. A recovering drug addict, a person who was not so long ago homeless, and had attempted suicide EIGHT times. And never in my life have I met anyone with more clarity. It was almost overwhelming. He is now gainfully employed  – a specialist in his field, who by his own admission works to live and not lives to work. He volunteers at a homeless shelter and drug rehabilitation facilities…and he really is a truly remarkable human being…the lessons that he has to give SHOULD be taught in schools.

And I remember saying to him, I wonder what I would do if I had the same freedom that you have….his immediate response was ” you would change the world, one person at a time”. I had no words. None. It made just reflect on something….at what point do we stop being who we are, we dreamed of being, who we could have been and start being who society wants us to be?

Life is a matter of perspective. Here is a person who had it all, lost it all, and is rebuilding but yet is the richest, happiest person on earth. I have realized that it is not my life that needs to change but my perspective on life. I have everything in my life that I need to be happy. But in the search for more, in the want and need for more, I have stopped appreciating THIS moment. The here and the now.And yes, I do have the chance to change the world, one person at a time.. starts with my attitude to the here and now…..

Poignant Inspiration

I feel so alive, so renewed, so comfortable to bask in my own light….never in my life have I been so happy to just be ME. Never in my life have I been so content to just BE…..

The reason for my past happiness has quite simply been other people….it has never been me. It’s been my son, my family, my friends and the things these people have brought into my life. I woke up this morning realizing that I am amazing…I am everything that I need to be.

“You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop” – Rumi