Slave Days Are Far From Gone

4am on a cold winter’s morning in Joburg. I’m on my way to pick up my boss for our early flight thinking to myself “It can’t be legal to be out and about so early.”

As I continue on, I see people walking in pairs. It’s still pitch black out and these people are walking. No, not a sluggish, lazy walk which I feel is warranted given this obscene time of day. No. They are brisk walking with enthusiasm, chatting away and they look like they’ve been at it for a while too. My heart broke. Men and women alike make this commute to work daily.

Last night on the way home, I saw large groups of people doing the same – making the long trek back home. What time do these people wake up in order to be on their way to work by 4am? And what time do they get home? When do they get to take care of their households and spend time with their families?

The same goes for those who catch taxis to work each day. Having to wait in long queues for one and those who have to catch several taxis to get to work. For a low-income wage earner, how much of their income do they spend on their commute? They must be  work in order to get to work.

Apartheid may be over, but freedom is still for the minority. True freedom is being able to own your time. When you spend most of your day trying to get where you are going, you are always chasing after time. Time is never yours. How many people can say their time is theirs – professionals included? The rat race for the professional is just as much a form of slavery in itself – just with better modes of transport and a higher income to try make up for it.

For now though, I speak about that man or woman living in Alex or Diepsloot who daily is reminded of life’s inequalities – living in the ghetto and working in the burbs. Always trying to get where their going – not being able to just up and leave as and when they feel like it.With such limitations, how can one be expected to break the poverty cycle. It is made that much harder with limited time to think of and realise alternative income streams. To those who do, I salute you all.

I admire and respect these people who carry on with their days cheerfully in spite of the inequalities they see in their life. Life is not fair and, most likely, will never be in this lifetime.

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Gone Too Soon – Chiwoniso Maraire

I was recently reflecting on the death of Zimbabwean music icon, Chiwoniso Maraire, and my heart was heavy. When I heard of her death in July this year, I felt so heartbroken. Here was a woman who took the mbira – a traditional Zimbabwean string instrument, and fused it with popular music, telling her story with so much heart and a voice of silk.

When I think of Zimbabwean musicians and the sounds that remind me of home, Chiwoniso comes to mind. She was an incredible artist who stood her own in a field dominated by legendary male musicians such as Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Andy Brown (her former husband).

Her voice formed the title-track backdrop to the movie ‘Everyone’s Child’ which was written and directed by one of my faves, Tsitsi Dangarembga – a force to reckon with in her own right.

Zimbabwe has lost a true gem. It saddens me even more to know that we lost a woman who played an integral role in paving the way for female artists in Zimbabwe. There are not many who have managed to, so to lose one of the few is heartbreaking. I am grateful that I was exposed to her music and hope that her legacy will continue to live on in her music.

Gone way too soon at the age of 37, may her soul rest in peace. Chiwoniso, “fambai zvakanaka… tichazokuona.’

‘Mai’ – Chiwoniso Maraire

‘Wandirasa’ – Chiwoniso Maraire

I See God

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Most of us have heard this being said time and time again. It is especially powerful when the question of why we believe in God arises and it is true – faith cannot be attested to anything physical. That would make the whole notion of faith null and void.

In light of this thought, I also do believe that we see God in different ways, places and things in our lives. “Some find it in the eyes of their children, some find it in their lover’s eyes… You’ll find it in the deepest friendships, the kind you’ll cherish all your life.” Westlife said it and this song rings so true for the places which we see & experience God in our lives.

For some, they see God in the relationships they have and in the people around them; others see it in the sunrise; some find God in the little moments of each day that get them through; others see God in nature. God can be seen and experienced in almost anything and everything. I was thinking of some of the moments where I encounter God and noticed that most of the pics I take and love to take are either of the sunset or when I’m by the water.

There is just something so peaceful about the sunset. It reminds me that in spite of what will have happened that day, God saw me through. Like the dusk of another day, all things do come to an end and I can hold onto His promises that everything will be alright in the end. There is the hope of a new day to follow.

The sky is God’s canvas and at sunset, He paints some of the most beautiful pictures. A beautiful love note to me.

By the sea, I gain perspective. I am reminded that God is so much bigger than everything. When I am consumed by something, it allows me to get out of my head and know that there is no problem too great for my God. It is also a gentle reminder that though I am important and treasured, I am but mortal – a small piece in the bigger, universal picture that is God’s plan.

Whatever challenges I face – big or small – I know that there is someone greater than all looking out for me.

Where do you see God?