bugs

My friend Alexa recently [as in yesterday, that’s pretty recent don’t you think? me too] wrote this piece called ‘Are there more white people like you?’ where she starts with this:

‘I have been faced with the fact that as much as I am surrounded by amazing people, doing things to see communities shift and healed, that there is not enough contact between different (colour)people happening to make people realise that actually there are many(white)who are seeking this change. Who think that justice matters, who think that restitution matters.’

And gets to this question which was asked to her by two different people:

‘Are there more? Maybe there are more but we don’t see or hear them?’

And it spoke to a frustration that has been growing in me in terms of the conversations that i have tried to have on this blog hoping to be a catalyst for deeper conversations on race and reconciliation, on reparation and moving forwards in this, my beloved country… that every time there is a post or a story share or a challenge, it is the same people showing up, liking, sharing, getting excited, engaging and pushing back – Hi Sindile. Molo Nkosi. Hey Mike. Lexy! Dre, how goes it? Linda! Avuyile!

And that’s it. With occasional cameo roles from one or two others.

And with this blog i’ve realised two things:

[1] i start a LOT of paragraphs with the word ‘and’ – well today i do it seems.

[2] and [see!] when one person comments it usually means at least five people are reading, when three people share it usually means twelve people have been moved by it, when eight people like there is the likelihood that twenty people thought it was worthwhile and so on.

So maybe this is true. Maybe the voices and comments i see on these posts are representative of many more people who are quietly reading and looking on and silently cheering and nodding and having their own wrestlings and offline conversations.

Or the slightly more scarier option of maybe only 6 to 8 people are actually interested in engaging in these kinds of conversations in this particular way.

But i don’t believe that. i do believe that not as many people as i’d like to be interested are interested. But i also believe there are a lot more than i know. And my call to you today is to come out of the shadows. To put your hand up. To make yourselves known. It’s not even about reading or liking or commenting on or sharing my blog posts [and the posts of those who share their stories on my blog] although please keep doing that.

But just let us know that you’re out there. Please just let us know you care. Let us know that it’s not just the five to eight of us who are wondering around feeling completely rubbish at making any sort of significant difference with this. Or that it even matters.

Because it’s a bit of a lonely business advocating for change and daring to hope in a country where so many people are either so wrapped up in their homogenous bubbles of sameness or else completely negative and always complaining about the state of things in the country [often both] or just seemingly oblivious to the need for any change at all “cos didn’t that all happen in 1994 and now everything is just cool, right?”

A lot of my writing is directed towards christian types [because that’s a huge part of my tribe] and while this is in no way a christian issue [as in exclusively] i cannot in my mind perceive how anyone could view racial reconciliation and unity and togetherness as not an issue facing the church and quite possibly THE issue facing the church in South Africa right now [and Americaland, let’s be honest!] especially if you want to dive into Matthew 25 and redefine those considered ‘the least of these’ in the context of our country.

In the movie ‘A Bug’s Life’ a bunch of smaller bugs are being terrorised and bullied by a swarm of locusts until the very end of the movie where they realise they have the numbers. And the tables are turned.

i do so desperately want to believe we have the numbers in this fight against racial segregation and apartness, against poverty and crime, against the disparity between really rich and really poor and against the fear and hopelessness and hectic racism that still exists in so many people you will find lurking on comment boards in the safety of their homes.

i want to believe it. But i don’t feel it. i don’t see it. It feels like there are seven of us. Maybe a few more…

And so i want to ask if there is anyone else out there who cares about this stuff? You don’t have to feel like you know the answers [or even any of the answers] or have the strength to engage in radical ways even [sometimes the simplest ways can be the most radical] – just let us know you’re out there.

So i want to ask, if you’ve read this, and you are someone who sees the need for some work to be done between black and white and coloured and indian and refugee in this country, and that you want to be hopeful and part of the solution and hungry to see positive change in South Africa [even if you have no idea how and even if you are struggling to believe it’s even possible] to leave your name in the comment section of this blog and tell us you’re in.

i’m honestly anticipating no more than seven names, because that is sometimes all that it feels are engaging with this…

So please, i’m counting on you to prove me wrong.

free