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
A couple of days ago my friends and I got together to celebrate our friendship with special friends who are returning to South Africa. Life has a way of getting you to believe that good things will last and I wish they would. Experience tells us that nothing lasts forever not the good or bad! I have to admit there are days I feel like life is an absolute party pooper.
So we ate, laughed and reminisced about the past but also looked to the future and where the road leads not just them but all of us. It’s hard to believe that our paths crossed just over two years ago and we gained a new family away from the comfort of home.
It will be sad when they finally step on that flight in about two weeks. It’s by no means the end of our friendship but we will miss them all terribly alas life’s many roads require us to take them.
God speed my dear friends!
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!
It’s estimated that about 200,000 people go missing in the UK each year. Those statistics are quite shocking when you consider that for every adult or child who goes missing that an entire family are left in limbo. My biggest concern is that the authorities get frantically involved and search relentlessly for a specified period. Thereafter the family use their own resources to track down their loved one and the financial costs escalate. While we remember the missing person occasionally their absence haunts their family daily.
It’s been nine months to the day that Bianca Couch a young South African disappeared without a trace. I cannot begin to imagine what helps her family to get through these dark days. Unconditional love, devotion and hope are no doubt their daily bread while they dream of the day they will wake up from this horrific nightmare.
Families are meant to be together and while certain people choose not to be part of their families at least it is their choice. When you’re taken against your will and your family are left to suffer and wonder about your well-being that is the cruellest of acts a family should be forced to deal with. What kind of monster would do this to a family?
Here’s hoping that family and friends of Bianca and the multitudes of missing persons never tire of keeping the hope of their safe return burning until they are home where they belong.
Today marks the beginning of the first full school week. Monday’s always seem to arrive sooner than any other day of the week particularly after a busy weekend. I’m glad to report I survived Monday after taking it head on.
This weekend also signalled the end of the London summer games. All across Britain its citizens have been declaring how proud they are to be British. I guess you can’t deny the team’s success both in the Olympic and Paralympic games.
I have also been very proudly South African because while we didn’t win bags of medals we gave our very best and I have been overcome with a weird sense of patriotism.
So after a summer of lazing around and cheering my countrymen on, the fun and games have ended. While it is only September it feels like the beginning of something new. I love new beginnings!
It’s that time in the sporting calendar when the world gets very patriotic about all things patriotic. Whilst strolling around London yesterday I guess we must’ve seen just about all the countries represented at the Olympics the only ones I wouldn’t have recognised were the same ones who seemed totally made up at the flag procession!
My girls were very ecstatic whenever they spotted the South African flag and were well aware that we had earned a gold medal on Sunday of course my hoarse voice was testament to that fact. I swear Cameron van der Burgh could hear me willing him to break the world record in the 100m breaststroke as I’d done when he broke the Olympic record the night before in the heats.
Last night we attended a dj bash in London at Ekhaya (home away from home for South Africans during the Olympics). The moment I walked in I was transported to another place a place where everybody was backing the same team. The spoken word, poetry and house music provided by The Indigenous were phenomenal. I loved every minute of it and felt totally ‘Africanised’ after the event. Though I still feel a bit foggy after a late night I can’t wait to get my flag out and give the biggest, proudest wave.
Proudly South African!
As the story unfolded and the groom Shiren Dewani began to give an account of the circumstances and in my mind he went from grieving groom to highly likely suspect. At the time of the incident I remember going out on a limb and stating on a social networking site that I smelt a proverbial rat. People probably just thought it was my South African cynicism but it was actually just common sense. There are things you just don’t do when in a country that is known for carjackings and senseless killings. Driving around in townships late at night and hiring a taxi tout at the airport just to name a couple. A few months after the world cup in South Africa and more than enough negative reporting from the British press you would’ve had to have been living under a rock not to know the dangers. Then again a couple who choose their honeymoon destination based on their initials leaves a lot to be desired. I have no doubt that it was the grooms idea!
After many contradictions in his account the groom quickly became a suspect. Then he did something I will never understand he a hired a well-known publicist Max Clifford to speak on his behalf. A rather strange move considering this publicist is usually associated with high-flying celebrities.Surely this heart-broken man should’ve been home mourning his bride privately. Instead he put on a show of grief that even a blind man could see right through. Everytime he opened his mouth another contradiction followed. Truth is if you are going to lie you’d better have a good memory.
Days after Shrien had returned to Britain the South African police request that he returns to answer a few questions as they now had a suspect in custody. A taxi driver who claims that he was hired by the groom as a contract killer. After this revelation the businessman from Bristol has what it seems is post traumatic stress. He is then sectioned under the mental act and has been fighting extradition to South Africa based on health reasons and human rights issues. He will appear in court on the 31 July for another extradition hearing where his attorneys will ask for their clients safety to be guaranteed.
This story is really sad for all parties involved. I guess it’s the ultimate betrayal when you commit to spend your life with someone and they have no thought for your well-being. Selfish people should never marry that is a fact. Anni’s parents have lost their beautiful daughter and the one person who really knows what happened refuses to appear before the court and give his side of the story under oath. No doubt that Shrien’s family want to see the case resolved and this state of limbo they live in resolved.
I wait with bated breath to hear the outcome of the extradition hearing.
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!
What a year for all things British. The queen celebrating her jubilee and of course the Olympics. Generally the British public come across very patriotic but this year has gone to a whole new level. Everything and anything that can be ‘jacked’ has been ‘jacked’. At this particular moment in my life as an immigrant I feel a bit like a traitor. After all the only South African brands I posses are my bafana bafana soccer jersey and of course my proudly South African accent. I’m now in possession of a ‘jacked’ cooler box thanks to the most magnificent spell of glorious sunshine.
It is now a serious case of ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’. I have very little option but to go with the flow. My girls have some celebrations coming up which requires them to wear the red, white and blue. I must admit even I want to break out singing ‘God save the queen’. The atmosphere is tangible and I have every intention of enjoying this historic period in British history. I’m certain this doesn’t happen everyday!
South Africans celebrate freedom day today in remembrance of the first democratic and non-racial election in 1994 as well as the contribution of those who fought to bring political freedom to all. It does seem like a lifetime away right now but I do remember the atmosphere and excitement around the time.
We have our political freedom but are we truly free? Freedom is more than political and somewhere along the line the rights of citizens to enjoy social freedoms has been drastically diminished. While we now have freedom to live where we want, educate our kids where we want and my personal favourite is to swim in whatever beach we choose. Somehow our freedom of movement is limited.
How much longer will our beautiful country be referred to as a young democracy? As freedom day is celebrated my prayer is that those in power would find a way forward for us to be truly free in our country. From the city to the farms people should be free from fear and intimidation. South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
Like Martin Luther King I have a dream too. I dream of a South Africa where we will be truly free because if we’re not free to enjoy the vast beauty of our land then I’m sad to say we are mere prisoners. Let freedom reign!
I’m certain these school trips were called excursions when I was a pupil. Which I think makes it sound more educational than fun. Generally I’d say I’ve got quite a good memory perhaps rather selective at times because I can only remember one such trip and it was to the museum. Can’t even recall needing a consent form but then it wouldn’t have been my business.
Gabrielle my three-year old had a trip to an art centre today and all the logistics involved for that two-hour trip would’ve been sufficient for a trip anywhere! At least this time we did eventually reach our destination. Not so long ago the trip was cancelled because the transport didn’t have a three-point safety belt mechanism. It’s on days like that I know without a doubt I’m a world away from South Africa.
Back to the trip! It was a wonderful experience and my husband and I tagged along and got to enjoy the display of colour, lights and photography. Of course the parents and carers are not always invited to join the kids like on the trip to the China town and the German market. Trips are great and a lovely change from being confined to the daycare room. I certainly look forward to many more outings and hopefully my little princess will remember all these wonderful experiences!
So today is Good Friday if you weren’t aware welcome to earth! I’ve spent most of my life in South Africa (this is actually the name of the country and not some random location on the African map) so my memory box is filled with these treasured moments. Once again we’ve had to make new traditions since arriving in the Uk.
People will often ask what certain events are like back home and honestly they are not much different. The major difference of course for me is the obvious absence of pickled fish which I’ve not had for three long years. I’ve never actually made it myself so if I had to describe the dish to somebody this is what I’d say. Yellow tinted fish, far too many onions, vinegar and bay leaves but I loved it!
Hot cross buns are pretty central to the day and you’ve got to have the top of the range in my opinion Woolworths (SA) and Marks and Spencer are that range. They are actually related so it makes perfect sense. By the time Good Friday arrives I’ve usually had more than my share much like mince pies at Christmas.
The third component is going to church which makes perfect sense if you observe Easter and all it represents. My highlight is the hymn singing. If you love poetry you will love hymns.
So with the lack of pickled fish my family were treated to a typical Sunday dinner and they loved it. Though I must confess my mind did wander off to my homeland to take a peek at my dear mothers lunch table laden with pickled fish and other wonderful delights.
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
Today was indeed a dark day in South African history. The approval of the protection of state information bill has sent shivers down my spine. The ruling party seems to favour personal privacy above the democracy that was fought for by many brave people. Being in public service requires some kind of accountability. My only hope now is that our relatively spineless president will see how ridiculous this vote is and ensure that the press and people of South Africa have the freedom to express themselves and stand up for what is right.
This culture of lack of accountability and secrecy is a common way in which countries with dictators are run. Surely we are past revolution speeches and just need to function as a true democracy. This bill has the potential to ruin the fabric of our free country and that would be a tragedy!
I love Saturday’s it’s the only day in the week that I get to choose what I want to do. Today was fantastic the way I would live my life if I was allowed to.
The ultimate sporting couch potato day. I knew I was kind of losing the plot when I found myself screaming at the telly. The kind of behaviour I’ve always mocked my father for. It’s weird how you can sit in your house and experience a flood of emotions over an event that has no value on your life. Unless of course you’re a punter!
So as my extreme lazy day comes to a close I want to give a big shout out to the South African and Irish lads for an entertaining morning of world cup rugby.
To Arsenal football club sadly your performance was the weakest link on an otherwise perfect day.
Goodbye Saturday until the next time!
Today I spent the day with some very special people. Having left my most amazing family behind in South Africa it was hard to imagine making England feel like home. I’m so happy to have met such wonderful people who make home not feel so far away!
It’s true that family can’t be replaced but when you find caring people like I have it comes pretty close to being family. So we shared good food and contagious laughter with wonderful memories being made.
While some things will always be foreign to me at least good friends will always make me feel like I’m home and this feels like home!
Can’t believe how quickly this day has gone. It’s still Friday in my life and today my dad turned 60.
The family has had the most amazing day celebrating this occasion with him.
My dad is truly one of a kind and deserves all the totally amazing things he is blessed with.
The extended family has travelled to England from South Africa and that in itself is truly monumental. My family and I are really fortunate to have had this time together with them. They leave in about four days I don’t really want to think about it because I’m not ready for that reality.
Family are so amazing and they make everything twice as nice. So as this day finally ends I want to wish the most amazing father all the very best for the future. I have no doubt that his future is very bright and fruitful.
Happy Birthday Dad.
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:)