a lot of people were dismayed, disappointed and disillusioned by the “Poppycock” farce last night’s before the Speech of the Nation Address by President Zuma – EFF members were thrown out and DA members walked and the lady in the Lumo yellow bee suit watched on solemnly as proceedings unfolded [and the speech went on as if nothing had happened]

the response of the newspapers the next day was along the lines of the one heading ‘The Day Our Country Broke’ although if you were only thinking our country broke yesterday, we should probably sit down and have a bit of a chat.

my response on Facebook was this:

So ‪#‎SONA2015‬ not so great but South Africa still pretty great – amazing land, beautiful people, much hope and we have to choose daily to be a part of reconstruction and relationship building and bridge mending and we will see it head to be that place we all dream of…

But then i headed off to go and speak at a school and naturally while that was happening, my brilliant wife Valerie had found a much more eloquent way of expressing the words so many of us with hope felt. These words were not hers, but while many of us were watching the SONA circus, she was at a spoken word event and one of the poems that was shared was this one:

Breaking News – a poem by Khadija-Tracey Heeger

When you seek to find a glitch in the system
When you feel al l the time that there’s something missing
When you turn around and the door’s closed
and your belligerence shows
cause the politicians wearing emporer’s clothes

I’ve got news for you, you’re here too.

When we do the ‘they’
When we call it black or white or grey
When the headlines scream another dead child,
another oil slick,
another hard crime somebody else is doing the time
When you say your life depends on the other man’s outcome
oh there’s so much degradation
the government’s put us in this situation
It’s a black dream you scheme

I’ve got news for you, you’re here too.

When your sister’s raped and your brother’s drugged and the
streets aren’t clean and you look at it all and say, “We’re all headed for a hard fall.”
When you speak of lies
but don’t speak you truth
when can’t make it to the top
and it’s always somebody else’s fault that the ball’s dropped.

I’ve got news for you, you’re here too.

When your agitation is all you can spare
and your rhetoric’s got you all in a rage
when you can’t hold yourself when you fall
and you lay down love and pick up arms
and the silence cries
but your lips – still – don’t – move –
yet in your own living room you’re a prophet of doom

I’ve got news for you, you’re here too.

We tick the minutes spill the seconds
tick the minutes spill the seconds
talk judgement, economics and acid rain.

We tick the minutes spill the seconds
tick the minutes spill the seconds
talk memory, talk more pain.

We tick the minutes spill the seconds
talk of God
talk more, talk more
we’re keeping score
and love a waiting at the door

When you move to Australia cause the countries a failure
when mending the situation calls for a band aid solution to put us in line with our constitution
when you can’t understand how ten years of democracy didn’t make it all fit
when you feel the urge to shout “Get over it!”
as if something outside yourself requires the shift
remember people we’re all in the same damn lift!
“Going up orrrrrr down!”

we tick the minutes spill the seconds
tick the minutes spill the seconds
time is a wasting while we’re cutting and pasting
and life is elsewhere
here or there?
outside’s a good place to count the cost
when you’re running that race from the inside
It’s better than dealing with the feeling of being lost,
displaced in your space…

I’ve got news for you
It doesn’t take an apocalypse to mend a century
It doesn’t take blame to alleviate pain
A simple step to the mirror is all it’ll take
A reflection on the reflection is the only thing that can free the present
from hate

Soooo put on your parachute, or strap on a seatbelt
the ride’s scary or sacred
could be heaven’s door or hell’s gate
all depends on your internal state
but unless you’re late, deceased or carried off in a crate
don’t berate the psychosis and add to the neurosis
simply take a look in the mirror at your own thriller
dispense with the polyfiller

I’ve got news for you
you’re here too.

Khadija-Tracey Heeger

i believe that there are a number of people who now live overseas who gave up dreaming and believing what could be. i believe there are quite a number of people still living here who did as well or are on the very precipice of making that shift. But the only way this country will change is if it does. And the only way i see that happening is if we, the people of South Africa – the beautiful, mess, rainbow-smeared people of this land – put our hands up and make it to be so. Join hands and have meals and engage in really significant meaningful and uncomfortable conversations and then pursue those engagements all the way to transformative action.

If you’re here, then be here. Really. Invest, engage, don’t give in to the voices or the headlines or even the present reality but move towards a new normal, a new reality. Refuse to give in, to settle, to leave, to disengage, to blare negative. Speak life, live love, draw in, create space, share the positive stories, weave a new narrative alongside others who are trying to do the same. And let that be what draws others in and let’s them dare to risk to believe that change is possible.

I’m here. Are you?


[For more posts relating to hope for South Africa and a brighter future, click here]