I often read about the American dream, which to this day I cannot say I fully understand what it means, and I often wonder being a woman in South Africa what would the African dream look like for me. I mean is there such a thing anyway?
I know for my mom in her era, for any mother or a girl child the ultimate dream was to, one day marry and have kids, yes that was it. Before then a girl child never really had much say in the staple, in most cases matter parents will meet and agree amongst one another as to which suitor would make a best husband for their daughter. This will be based on what kind of family the suitor would come from, what values the family recognised (iqaba or iqgobhoka – another story for another day) will the suitor himself be able to provide for their daughter etc.
You have to give it to them , the research was key, the focuses was more on issues which were deemed to be important at the time. Love??What is that, what Love? Her opinion? Are you kidding me what opinion, what does she know she is after all a girl, who will grow up to be a woman, never mind what she will tell her kids that is not important, what’s imperative is that she has to get married ,off to build that man a house and keep those kids popping.
Okay but what about the suitor? What does he know, he is after all a boy who is just about a man now at the marrying age, all he has to do is sign up with Teba, off to Johannesburg to dig that mine, come back home with enough money to buy cows so that the lobola negotiations can resume. If however it happened that the money that he would come home with was not enough the father would help, but the vital thing was that, the parents had spotted a good girl for him, coming from a very good well respected home. Having met with the girls family had no doubt in their minds that she would be a good wife and give them healthy grandchildren as they follow God’s command (Qhamani nande).
Was that good or bad? I don’t know you, you be the judge.
“So what’s the ultimate dream for you” That’s the text I randomly sent to few of my friends yesterday. I admit it lacked substance, however the idea was to know what comes to mind when one thinks of the ultimate.
James Truslow Adams coined the ‘American dream ‘back in the 1930s.’Life should be better, richer, and fuller for everyone. With opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.
We have evolved (thank goodness) our parents no longer chose spouses nor careers for us. So when I received responses from my friends I was half smiling thinking, what would have become of me, if I was born in 1937 for instance.
The responses ranged from:
Lu: ‘Peace, Happiness and wealth’
AO: ‘Knowing I own and run the leading black owned digital agency. With work locally and globally to be the ultimate dream expert.’
An: ‘Great health and yoga on the beach’
B said: ‘Wow that’s a deep question to fulfil all my dreams and wishes’
G: Be happy, married again and no Financial limits.
T: Right now I am focusing on work, then it will be me having my company established and working on consultancy basis. Eventually having my own family and be financially secured.
Judging from the responses from my friends above, it will seem that we not far off from what Truslow determined. While I cannot speak for all South Africans (especially black) woman, I can safely say we all seem to strive for that balance, it’s not just about family,2.4 kids, tall dark husband with good teeth, double story house with a picket fence its more than that, its Financial Independence ,Happiness, Exciting careers…
After all dreams are meant to be something to aspire to, disregarding other people’s ideas and expectations of what you ought to be an ideal in a perfect world.