…Brighten the corner ,where you are…

I may not be a Sheryl Sandberg, chances are, I will never be a Facebook COO but I am slowly finding my voice and I like how that feels. It feels like a song we used to sing in Sunday school when I was growing up (well you know this by now most songs are know are Gospel songs or Gospel inspired rather) “why don’t you brighten that corner where you are” though I never understood the meaning of the song back then I loved in nonetheless. While we danced as we sang I would imagine a corner because I knew very well what that was with my standard 1 English, but BRIGHTENING now that I had no clue what it meant until later on in life of course. I suspect that this voice finding tip that I am on has a lot to do with growing up, and being comfortable with Andiswa flaws and all. Whatever it is it’s a good space to be in right now.

You know when people say that everything happens for a reason I always question that especially if I happen to be the one on the receiving end, usually this statement is uttered when something unexpected happen this is habitually something unfortunate or gloomy. For instance if your car breaks down while you are on your way to a job interview, and someone says to you ‘oh well I’m sure there’s a reason for that a good one too’ if you are me you would roll your eyes and be on some ‘really now like what could that be? Hello I don’t have a job my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere while going for a job interview and you tell me that there’s a reason for that? Are you sure you are a human being? If you are over religious like most people I know you mostly likely to say something like ‘oh friend count it all joy I think God is working on your character (Someone shoot me right now, how can the same God who created me the way I am still have a problem with the manner in which I am, I mean if he wanted me to be a different person he could have created me that way he’s God after all) but in the spirit of brotherhood you suck it and purr an “Amen brother ,you right God is far from being done with my character we all are work in progress after all – praise gaud.

Over a year and a bit ago when I was  for a lack of a better word -Let go without me asking to,I didn’t know where I would end up, it certainly didn’t feel like there was something big waiting to happen, instead all I could think of was , how will I survive as in how will I meet my commitments, I mean there’s a bond, rent, school fees,car,food,parents,siblings,this and that how will I manage without a job? I could not count it all joy at all how could I? The point I am driving towards though is that God always has a plan for real, sometimes he sends people that you did not even think of. For instance when that fuel is really on the low and there are errands that still need to be attended to a friend in France sends you a little something via Western Union I mean that can only be God right.

If there’s a year that I have been doing all the things that I like and more it has to be 2013.I still think that if I was still employed I wouldn’t have been able to do, not even half of what I have done last year from reading as much as I can to sometimes pouring my heart out on a computer screen, serving my people and just enjoying being me.Nothing is as fulfilling as helping out at an NGO school in Soweto. When an ex colleague approached me initially I was hesitant, its Soweto is growing up in a township not enough why must I now go volunteer in Soweto come on. What I didn’t know was that slowly as I work my way down there almost everyday meeting those kids, the parents, chatting to them, everyday a layer of what is not needed in me will come off .It’s one thing doing a Mandela day for 67 minutes – paint an old age home here, bath orphans here, washing abandoned dogs this side, take pictures with different pouts post on Facebook so that the world can see that you have done your 67 Minutes helping out humanity. No that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about taking part in trying to change people’s mind set for the better, through intense engagements. Forgetting about yourself for a little while, and reaching out to the almost forgotten. See this NGO is situated right at the heart of Soweto poverty stricken area, yet this one guy decided that he will start an Engineering school right there so that even the worst of the worse could somehow be enlightened through education. Everyday feels like my soul is being liberated through these encounters. Our people are troubled yes; each and every parent that I talk to struggling to pay school fees there’s something in their eyes, more like a never die spirit that cuts through the inner soul. The never giving up spirit, the I would rather sleep on a stomach jam-packed with water than see my child passing off an opportunity for a better education. There is this one parent that came to chat to me because she could not pay school fees and after listening to her story I just couldn’t help but cry, how people survive such tragedies, yet each morning a person is more determined to make it than the night before is just beyond me.You work three days as a cleaner in the Suburbs, you are a single mother of three, your last born child is 1 year three months. One day you go to work leaving your one year old live and kicking, you come back the lady that looks after the kid says the child is still sleeping, after a while you decide to go and wake your baby only to find out the child has been dead for hours???The nanny knows nothing about this. Now with your R150 that you make a day you must make arrangements to bury the child.No you could not afford even a funeral cover because your priority is making sure that there is food on the table everyday. One might ask but why school fees; why not just send your child to a government school? Why continue make babies whilst you struggling to support the current ones that you have? Why not study via correspondence so that one day you could get yourself out of this deadly poverty? On the other hand you have a granny that is raising 4 grandchildren out of a social grand, both parents died of HIV/AIDS related disease. Should granny give up the grandchildren and write them off? Should she send the kids to a government school where sometimes it’s mostly survival of the fittest? You didn’t do your homework AGAIN? Oh well why should I care I matriculated in 1967,whether you do your homework or not ,come the 20th I will still get that sms informing me that my salary has been paid into my account.

I don’t know, I don’t know what needs to be done to change the thinking, what I do know though is that we have a very long way to go. Africa needs its people to solve these pandemics. Just as I’m about to lose all hope as far as changing things around this lovely continent of ours, it’s a Saturday afternoon I’m driving home with my son after deliveries I tune into a radio station, now I usually avoid listening to the radio especially on a Saturday because simple put – radio just bores the out of me, Saturday afternoon mainly, if it’s not some disco music playing then all you hear is where the party is at. I am no party – spoiler oh trust me I party, I boegey hard but I just prefer not to listen to the radio ngomgqibelo nje. Anyhow so they are interviewing this 25/6 year old guy that has a small planet named after him, a Harvard Graduate, from St Johns College ,NASA’s darling wonder kid, Well on his way to developing a renewable energy platform for cars, and so on and so forth. FACT: A force to be reckoned with. And I’m like what? A planet does that even happen? As he narrates his story I realise that you know what this boy is no different from me, he’s no different from these kids that I talk to everyday suppose the only thing that makes him different is that; He knew what he wanted kept his eyes on the ball, it’s not every day that I hear a young man from the dusty Eastern Cape being awarded a scholarship to study at Harvard or Stanford, and while his half way through his degrees some energy companies are lining up to offer him a job. Wait a minute but this is our own little Isaac newton is it not? http://www.siyaxuza.com @siyaxua. And I’m thinking we need more of Siya’s but of cause a bulk of them could never do this on their own. Some Siya’s are out there in Soweto, Alex,  ,Mdeni,all they need is a little helping hand from someone who has been there. Sometimes even a word of encouragement without doing much could go a long way.Most times you don’t even have to have been there to play a bigger sister or a bigger brother role to a child that needs it.So I smile as I think of our little golfer in our school, and that girl that shows most boys flames when it comes to Mathematics.

Not all is I believe that I will live to see a day where poverty will be something of a faraway past, where education will be more like second nature to our people. A day where Individualism won’t matter much, a day where the saying that goes ‘’it takes a village to raise a child” will be put into tangible practise.I find peace then in knowing that as much as what I am doing know seems insignificant I know that it’s a contribution towards a bigger picture a better Africa.

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