She bares on her swollen heels desiccated cracks that share her poignant story, her long soul-stirring walk to freedom, in which all her children in all their diversity pride themselves. She is the mother of a beautiful rainbow nation. She is a role model for Africa and the global community.
Her flag flies high for those who have eyes to see the splendour of her land and for those who have ears to hear the music of her voice which sings in over 11 languages; yet all in tune. She boldly poses on the covers of history books world-wide and sleeps in museums where she waits to be awakened by chirpy children in file, eager to be moved by her story. Her tale, being told now for 2 decades and will be for the next millennium, still she tells it with pleasure – The tale of South Africa.
“Did all her children live happily ever after?” asked curious Fernandinho, a 10 year old boy listening to her story from somewhere across the South Atlantic Ocean.
His History teacher was uncertain of how she should respond. “This here is not a fable fabricated to have a happy ending. It is still in progress. The people of South Africa are still alive and are therefore still writing their story. It is not yet finished. Many blank pages await to be filled and the pen is in the hands of 51 million authors.” The curiosity in the young class quickly turned into confusion. The teacher dreaded the next question.
“Where are they in their story now?”
How does one tell little children being introduced to a history and a Mandela they have just begun to worship, that South Africa is in difficult chapters of her story? How do we tell the world that the Rainbow Nation is currently an Angry Nation? How do we rationalise the whys and whens of the tragedies that have befallen our beautiful country? Where do we begin? Why are we so angry?
When my generation asks these questions, we are dismissed with the tired and over-rehearsed “You do not understand, you are too young.” Yes, we have missed many chapters but we were born at the beginning of the most beautiful one – the chapter that gave birth to a renowned narrative. What we do not understand is how the nation 20 years later, a lifetime for some of us, can still display signs of anger. What we cannot comprehend is how the chapter that was born with us is dying while we are still alive. When did her story lose its plot? Are we not the ones who hold the pens?
General anger, distrust, dishonesty, disregard, disrespect, questionable agendas, fear, suspicion, dead patriotism, lack of faith in the office and intolerance are sadly creeping into our culture and soon they will into the pages of South Africa and tarnish her story.
As the teacher told Fernandinho, for as long as we are still alive, so continues our story. We are South Africa; we are our own story. The plot is ours and the pen is in our hands. Let us erase the chapters that seek to mar the narrative that the world read in 1994. Let us rewrite in our heritage:
•Trust and Trustworthiness
•Faith in the government/ A reliable government
•Regard for the Constitution
•Unity in Diversity
•And all else that makes South •Africa remarkable.
Let us, today, become the nation into which we want our children to be born. Let us write the chapters we want our grandchildren, little Hendrik and Zoleka, to read. We can live ‘happily ever after’ – it begins with you.
Happy Heritage Day, South Africa!
By Venolia Rabodiba
via News 24