Injure one, injure all? Or has Activism Fatigue kicked in?

Last week, my utility bill arrived as usual. Apart from the usual water & sewage and increased VAT, my curiosity went a little farther, looking for the penalty the landlord had threatened to effect (or shall we say effectively imposed?). If you are raising kids in an apartment block like I am, I’m sure you would know how difficult it is. All they want to do (and should be allowed to) is play all day long. Restricted areas can make kids rowdy, ungovernable and quite simply…irritating, infringing on the rights of other tenants to have peace of mind.

To my pleasant surprise, the landlord had not effected the penalty. It wasn’t a miracle, on receiving the notice I had penned a scathing email in response, lamenting the sheer arrogance and contempt my landlord was increasingly exhibiting by sending largely general mail to tenants with kids. The notice, which I noted was general in essence rubbed me up the wrong way.

Firstly, the playground (which had served as a deciding factor when I first moved into the building), was now stripped off to make way for an adult recreation area. How convenient! Where does this leave the kids? Loitering around the building or in the streets, right? Secondly, with all the CCTV cameras manning the building, why wasn’t there even one that could show me proof of my child disturbing the peace?¬†

I may not have received an apology or acknowledgement of the valid points made however, this was a small but not insignificant personal victory. It may not be perceived as a big achievement because it lacks the magnitude exhibited by famous civil actions like the 1956 Women’s March or the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)’s successful 2006 campaign to push the South African government to roll out Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARVs) to HIV patients countrywide or the #FeesMustFall movement.

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The misuse of power by established institutions and governments globally and entrenched laws that perpetuate injustices has always been central to upheaval by communities, activist movements and civil society. Shared grievances, experiences of victimization, disenfranchisement  have over time given birth to many notable movements challenging the status quo & shaping the narrative for future generations.

While the passion behind activism & advocacy which continues to allow voices to be heard, open avenues, promote fairness & equality is admirable, conversations I’ve been privy to since I rejoined the public commute to work leave me with more questions than answers. Commuters on the Rosebank – Sandton Metrobus route are some of the most frustrated I have ever come across, with legitimate reasons, of course.

With regular waiting time of more than 45 minutes for a bus on this busy route, which under normal operations ought to be no more than 15 minutes, I understood why regular commuters would be pissed off at having to beg & negotiate for the deployment of buses every day. What I did not understand, however, was the negative rhetoric that often comes out against commuters who wait patiently (silently)  for the bus from those that are more vocal.

With the assumption that activism is driven by the desire to pursue genuine interests of- & gains for individuals & collective and the selflessness we’ve seen in many movements, one would deduce that motivation rather than antagonism would serve concerned groups better? Self-aggrindisement is a facet linked neither to advocacy nor activism. Therefore, I believe forcing people to participate in class action simply because of shared experiences, skin colour, gender or other defeats the purpose.

What do you think?

G*

 

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Coming of Age

Dumelang!

I think we can all agree that my self-imposed hiatus has been considerably long! It certainly feels like a lifetime since I stepped on these blogging streets and between the Instagrams and fiery Twitters of this world, one does feel inclined to feel like a dinosaur. Well, the good news is old school blogging hasn’t really gone old fashioned but grown & evolved tremendously since the last time I was here. Ours is a world where we clamour to get our voices heard, for the right reasons and sometimes not.

A lot has happened since my last blog, which I will unpack in a series of blogs to follow. So, I hope you’re ready. I’m not entirely surprised that South Africa continues its attempts to put out fires relating to race issues. It’s an uphill battle. With some corners of this country still wielding the old National Party flag and reminiscing on the days that oppressed the majority of the populace of this country, we really have a long way to go.

It is refreshing though, to sense the urgency with which discourse around the land issue has emerged in recent months. The broad consensus and realization that the peaceful transition in 1994 has been all but a farce is a breath of fresh air and long overdue. We may agree or disagree that if not addressed in its entirety this festering sore will sow further tensions within our borders.

So, what does coming of age mean to you? Does it mean reaching and going beyond a physical milestone? Having regular epiphanies? Seeing life differently? Maturity? What do you think it is? In March 2017, I had great determination and true to my Aquarius nature felt nothing could stop me. I would say turning 30 was my peak, my moment to shine and I sure did bask in it. Life, as I hope many realize, is unpredictable.

My key personal lessons during that period were among others; what leadership means (why are some people born leaders and why some aren’t, and again – why many won’t lead?), being true to oneself, burning bridges (or not), letting go, going back to one’s roots. One thing, that has specifically remained intact throughout is my spirituality and perhaps, one day I will be able to share that journey with you. However, the first steps I have decided to take are to reposition this blog entirely.

Loleme lwa Setswana ke la gaetsho. Maikaelelo a me ke go tswelela go kwala ka puo ya ga mme. Ke dumela fa botho le setho sa rona di ikaegile thata ka ngwao ya rona. Ga ngwao e ngweegile, go nna boima go e kgobokanya kampo gone go e busetsa sekeng.

One of my popular blog posts of all time was written in my home language, and as my passion for my culture and identity grows, I am inclined to answer this call to contribute more to the discourse using that as a tool. I am constantly reminded of our generation’s failures when I hear my daughter speak in what I have come to label as “ZuTswana”- a combination of predominant Zulu and sprinkles of Setswana. We have a lot on our plate to prepare for future generations.

I am gearing up for the challenge, how about you?

G*