For the most part I just get on with my life here in England where I’m blessed to have found some wonderful friends. Though it’s at times like this long Easter weekend that I miss my South African family the most. I miss hanging around at my parents home doing absolutely nothing in particular.
Family are an amazing gift and I’m thankful for the one I have. Having people to turn to in times of triumph and trouble is an amazing reassurance. Keeping up to date with everything that goes on in my absence makes me grateful for modern technology because relying on a telegram would make living abroad unbearable.
Sometimes in life there are some difficult choices to make and we’ve made one that has us miles away from our loved ones. Our decision has much to do with our future and that of our daughters. I don’t plan to be here forever and I realise now that the longer I stay the harder it will be to leave. Who would’ve thought that the circle of life would be so difficult?
The love of a family is a blessing. I’m blessed to belong to a family who cares about our well-being.
I went to bed with a very heavy heart last night. The news of police brutality and subsequent death of a Mozambican national a few days ago have left me reeling. The country and indeed the world has reacted with outrage at this blatant act of police brutality. Alas, I fear it may just be a knee-jerk reaction because soon enough we’ll all move on to something else that gets our backs up. A family is in mourning and I fear they may not get the justice they seek.
I am proudly South African and that will never change. Sadly many people have no idea what a paradise our beautiful country is. I take every opportunity to let people know what an amazing country we have and I’m often asked if I’ll ever go back. My answer is always the same…absolutely yes! It breaks my heart when I’m forced to defend our country and its people.
A while ago I watched a documentary ‘Miracle Rising’ and it brought tears to my eyes watching the bonds of friendship, the tenacity of those who fought for political freedom and the hope people spoke of on the day of the first democratic elections in South Africa. Sadly that’s where the documentary ended and if watched in isolation it comes across as a success story and it is in part.
I couldn’t help but feel we gained political freedom yet many of us lost our freedom of movement and with it our spontaneity. The freedom to do things on a whim has been critically diminished. Things seem to have become unhinged and the lifestyle of the lawless and their lack of punishment by the courts has led to many losing hope in our legal system.
Are we really a broken society? What is the way forward? What changes should be made now? Is it naïve to continue to dream of a country where all of our basic needs are met not just those who can afford the necessities of running water, electricity and sanitation. We need the freedom not just to live, work and vote for who we choose but the right to move about without fear of attack. In the event that we may be attacked it should be such a rare occurrence as opposed to the crime stories we’re constantly exchanging with family, friends and even strangers. We need to get back to the place where crimes shock because they are a shame not just when we realise the world views us as barbaric and lawless.
While the police happen to be under the spotlight in this particular instance. It is a fact that they are not the only government officials who are stepping out of line. The natural response is to point a finger at the ruling party and while they have a responsibly of care towards us we can’t really blame them for wrong attitudes of citizens though many will argue this way of thinking is filtering from the corridors of parliament. Corruption needs to be rooted out on so many levels it makes my head spin. Starting from the very top with members of parliament, judiciary, education, transport, social welfare, health and many other government departments.
How and when is this change going to take place? Honestly, I don’t have the faintest idea but I’m hoping that the unfortunate death of Mido Macia will be the catalyst that brings about the much needed change we so desperately need. Corruption is ruining our beautiful country and it’s hurting us all of us.
Though my heart is sad I have not stopped believing that things will get better.We are the powerhouse of Africa and a symbol of triumph over evil. We will overcome again!
Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika – God bless Africa
Today I had the very complex job of explaining the history of South Africa to my seven year old and I was taken aback by her obvious emotion. Having moved on from the restrictions that apartheid placed on so many of us and very often being shielded by the terror of that reality by our parents. As I relayed the events of the past it suddenly occurred to me that we had come a very long way.
Children can teach us so much when it comes to integration and acceptance. Her response to the deluge of information was simple but powerful…people are people no matter what colour! It sounds simple because it is.
Very often I meet people who ask about South Africa and on trying to convey the complex intricacies I quickly realise that some things only make sense to us local inhabitants. We’ve come a very long way but the journey ahead is just as long. The upside is that we get better as we move along. So while things seem a bit dark again it’s comforting to know that the darkness doesn’t last forever.
Proudly South African…always!
This morning I woke up in my own bed after three weeks in South Africa. I found myself breathing in stifled air from the central heating and as I peered out my window from the safety of my bed I couldn’t help but feel utterly let down by the great British weather. Really Britain not even a ray of sun to show the night has ended!
The view has long being held that time flies when you’re having fun. Having waited a year to take this break felt like a lifetime but the minute I set foot in the country I love and missed so terribly time seem to be on a mission to outrun me. In some ways it did show it’s power and each sleep meant seconds, minutes and precious hours were lost. It should be a criminal offence to sleep when on holiday.
It’s back to reality now and I will cherish all the special moments and memories made seeing old friends and making new ones. My family were so amazing and the fun and feasting just didn’t stop. There were so many more people I wish I could’ve seen and places I should’ve visited. So when I say I ran out of time it’s not just a get out of jail free card it really is a fact. I didn’t stand a chance against the sands of time.
If you’re on holiday why don’t you make the most of your time because you lose it whether you use it or not!
South Africans are celebrating Heritage day today which is one of many public holidays. This is a day set aside to celebrate our diversity and the contribution of South Africans in building our rainbow nation. It is traditionally celebrated by citizens having a braai (barbecue) with family and friends. This is our most cherished culinary achievement. I’ve been gone so long I hope I’m not too brainwashed by the British version which consists of grilled hot dogs and burgers.
I’ve done my bit by opening a can of All Gold super fine smooth apricot jam (serious patriotism!) because there’s no chance of me having a traditional braai in this rather morbid weather anyway. So while I snack on a piece of toast I’m actually dreaming of sitting around celebrating instead of preparing to do homework.
I’m a proud South African making my way in a foreign land. It’s weird but whenever a stranger recognises my accent I feel like I’ve brought all of me on my journey. I’ve had to drop some typical South African words and phrases most notably the phrase ‘just now’ and robot (traffic light). Otherwise I’m trying to keep it real because I’ve got so much to be proud of.
Happy heritage day! Here’s to continuing our contribution to our heritage wherever you find yourself in the world. Consider yourself an ambassador I do!
Growing up Sunday lunches followed by a desert was the order of the day. I must admit when Sunday rolls around I often wish I could somehow be transported to my mother’s dinner table which always seemed to be so well thought out. Perhaps it’s the years of routine that have made her the master that she is.
My Sunday’s never seem to have enough pre-lunch hours to prepare a meal fit for royalty. Try as I may I just don’t seem to be capable of pulling this particular rabbit out of my hat or perhaps it’s just for lack of trying. So I’ve replaced the family tradition completely by carting my family off to eat out and I’ve no doubt that they enjoy the outing. My only concern now is that my girls will either see me as extremely lazy mother or somebody who breaks the mold when it comes to tradition. I seriously hope it’s the latter.
I decided twelve years ago after I married that my new name would bring with it new ways of doing everything. Later having kids also called for further review. So from Sunday dinners, bedtime routine and insisting my kids sleep in pyjamas would not be part of my scheme. I’m still seriously contemplating allowing my girls to eat dessert before their meals but perhaps that may be a bridge too far. Who knows it may just improve their appetites!
Family traditions are wonderful but it’s even more wonderful if you can create new ways of doing old things! In my case it’s just important that my girls get to eat!
So last night we decided to go to a public screening of the swimming. I must admit I was seriously amped to witness another potential gold medal for South Africa so I shouted for Chad and clapped all the way through and had to kind of mute my enthusiasm when I suddenly felt all eyes on me. Hello gold medal number two.
Bert le Clos has become a bit of a hero himself after his son Chad le Clos had beaten the American favourite Phelps in the 200m butterfly. His post swim interview has been dubbed as the best Olympic moment so far. I watched the interview this morning and that dad was filled with pride and unbridled emotion. He and his son brought a certain amount of realness to the Olympics no scripted, fake responses just joy and adulation.
Today is a new day at the Olympics and there will be joy, disappointment and a range of emotions but daddy le Clos will be the beaming one bursting with pride as it should be. I couldn’t be happier!
Today was a really good day because I got to spend some time with a friend who was visiting from South Africa. She visited with her young daughter and my girls were thrilled to have a visitor from ‘home’. Sadly though for every high there seems to be an inevitable low. That low was the trip to the train station to say our goodbyes.
It’s been nearly two years now that I’ve not been to South Africa but it has been great to never go more than six months without having some kind of contact with people from my corner of the world. Our day was filled with laughter as it should be and I’m very grateful for all these wonderful times of refreshing.
Now for the next six months I’ll hold onto those warm hugs until the next time!
It’s not often that I long to be with my South African family as I have the last day or two. I do think of them daily and hope they think of me. I’m so glad that I have the added advantage of technology because I’m not sure I could handle watching the post box for news from ‘home’.
Time is one of the biggest mysteries for me. When you’re in pain or waiting for a grand occasion the time seems to move at a snail’s pace. A year ago we were blessed to have all the family visit and I swear those two weeks felt like two days. I look forward to being reunited with them and I’ve promised myself that I’ll sleep if it’s absolutely necessary because every minute counts when you’re with the ones you love.
If you’re fortunate enough to live close to family why don’t you pop in and enjoy each others company. I know that’s what I’d be doing if I was close enough. Everything happens for a reason and right now I’m just trying to see the bigger picture!
Last night I decided to treat myself to a late night movie. While scrolling through my options my only requirements were short movies and no rom coms. I decided on a gridiron drama. Somehow I missed the moving drama part and it wasn’t long before I was in complete meltdown. It has been for quite some time now that I’ve realised that I’m turning into my mother who absolutely throws herself into these gut wrenching movies. I do suspect that it has something to do with being a mother myself.
The movie is based on a true story. After the untimely death of their 15-year-old son following a car crash a couple are faced with the choice of giving up his organs. I imagine they took more than five minutes portrayed in the movie to make that decision. I kept thinking how brave they were to make such a rather difficult decision.
Recently my husband and I had to exchange our South African drivers licence for a British version and when his documents arrived I noticed that he’d signed up to be an organ donor and I was horrified.
While I know we will have no need for our organs in the grave I would like the chance to at least choose the recipient and know my valuable parts are not wasted on an undeserving person. I know that everybody should have the chance for the best life possible. If every person willingly donated organs perhaps there’d be fewer victims being trafficked for their organs particularly kidneys. This injustice is being experienced across the world.
I have met and know of individuals who’ve donated and have been recipients of organ donations. I have no doubt that donating organs makes a huge difference not just to the recipient but to their families as well. After watching the movie and seeing how one families selfless act helped give five people a fighting chance I must admit I’ve been challenged about the possibility of being that difference.
Who knows my heart might actually belong to you?
“Poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime…Poverty eradication is an achievable goal” Louise Arbour
Poverty remains one of South Africa’s biggest challenges. While most human rights days celebrations seem to centre around the Sharpeville massacre. There is no doubt that what the sixty-nine fallen did was both heroic and memorable. Perhaps it is now time for the relevant authorities to focus on problems being faced by the masses which are no doubt depriving them of their basic human rights. The right to proper sanitation and safe living conditions. We can’t continue to remain focussed on the past with no thought for the present situation of far too many South Africans. The time has come and gone for delivery of far too many promises.
Viva South Africa viva…
This week has been the celebration of the pie. I can’t help but wonder why the lowly pie requires seven whole days to be celebrated. I’ve certainly not tasted that amazing piece of pastry that had me clapping my hands and laughing with glee at its awesomeness. When I think of a pie I think of it as emergency on the go food something to fill a gap until you’re able to get to something substantial.
Pie week has been in full force this week with competitions taking place across the country. There are so many tasty looking pies that are being created and I can’t help but feel that the mass production of pies is taking away from the true beauty of carefully crafted pies.
What would this blog be without a pie tale of my own. It seems like a lifetime ago but the memory is as fresh as that pie should’ve been. Our family were on a road trip and stopped in a one horse town to pick up some pies from a corner shop. We ought to have known much better! Once on the road we were handed a pie which was ever so warm on the outside and this is no exaggeration it was frozen on the inside. Sadly at this point we were well on our way and had already travelled a long way from the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland back to South Africa. Let me just add this was before the convenience of the drive through culture.
The experience though quite severe has not stopped me from picking up a trusty pie when on the run. Long live the lowly pie!
Have you heard from Johannesburg? I watched this rather thought-provoking documentary and it was a really good reminder of the many men and woman who put their lives on the line to bring so many oppressed South Africans to political freedom and many other social liberties.
This is my shout out to Oliver Tambo who fought relentlessly to get the voices of the downtrodden heard in Europe and America. After a lifetime of campaigning for an end to apartheid and the right to vote he died a year before the first democratic election.
There are those who fight for freedom and those who secure and celebrate that freedom. South Africa has come a long way from the days of the state of emergency and the group areas act. There is still so much more to be done. ”After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb” Nelson Mandela
I’ve just started driving again after a long period of enjoying public transport. After exchanging my beloved South African licence for a British one I must admit I was rather fearful about taking on the notorious traffic circle. Now unless you’ve driven in England you have no idea how daunting that prospect can be. It seems to be a case of biggest and fastest are the king and queen of the circle. Being average finds you stranded at the yield sign.
In the process of exchanging my licence I started having nightmares of being called to redo my test. Thankfully that did not happen because quite honestly I’m not sure that I would’ve been prepared for that. Those memories of getting started are still too fresh in my mind. I was full of crazy zeal and no skill. I remember driving a car with power steering for the first time and knocking down a pedestrian sign. Needless to say that did not go down too well with my dad. He showed me no mercy and I had to pay for the damage to his car.
I do consider myself to be quite a seasoned driver but when I think back to the early days of clutch control, inclines and parallel parking I still tend to get quite panicky. However, the freedom of owning the road still outweighs that terrible fear of being caught between a truck and a bus. I’m eternally grateful to my husband who drove me to the department of transport all those years ago and refused to leave until I’d signed up. Of course it annoyed me terribly back then but what a difference the final outcome has made to my life. Bring on the daunting traffic circle!
I spent a good part of my morning searching for a shop the size of a container after I was informed by a fellow African that they stocked South African goods. So I set off to find this paradise already dreaming of the treasure I’d come home with. Sadly it was not the case it seemed other immigrants beat me to the stockpile. I left there feeling quite cheated and with a miserly bottle of peanut butter and a packet of biscuits. I’m still quite shocked to think that there was nothing available that made me want to blow a hole in my pocket just for a taste of home.
At any rate the promise of a shipment this week has renewed my hope that perhaps something will grab my attention. However if it is not the case I shall continue to go on enjoying all the amazing food that Britain has to offer. The truth is there are just no substitutes for certain tastes from home. My husband tells me I should immerse myself in all that is on offer here instead of trying to exist in both worlds. Perhaps he has a point the last thing my family need is me following a shipment.
I don’t think for a minute that I won’t long for the familiar things of home. I do realise though that I can get by without them.
I’ve been in England for just over ten months, uninterrupted. For the most part I just get by with the many differences I find as far as food goes.
My family’s arrival is imminent and so naturally they want to know what I’d like from South Africa. Of course the things I really want they can’t actually bring. Like a wimpy breakfast and milkshake, clover guava juice and a spar wors roll!
My husband says he can do without. So I guess I’m going to eat my Jennings fudge and nougat alone. My girls have found too many favourites to be concerned.
I wonder if you ever outgrow the taste of home!
There are some things which are quite easy to find around here like Mrs.Balls chutney and Nandos sauce. A very nice way to get the taste of South Africa.
So while I’ve discovered some awesome things here like Thornton’s chocolate and Krispy Kreme donuts they just don’t fill that insatiable appetite for all things familiar.
Local elections were held across South Africa today. It was interesting to read about various people’s thoughts and opinions about political parties and their agendas. Yay for democracy but with this freedom there should undoubtedly be responsibility and accountability!
We need to be the change we want to see…politicians cannot not meet all of our expectations. I will instill in my daughters the need to be good law-abiding citizens.Further than that they alone will determine their future.Right now their future looks very bright:)