A breath away from Christmas and 2012 is tumbling towards the New Year. Before we rush into 2013 I would like to bring to your attention a treat of a Fusion Exhibition which will be on display at the Tatham Art Gallery during December.
My aging mom shares a birthday with Nelson Mandela. On thinking about buying her a birthday
present for the 18th July, my thoughts turned to Nelson Mandela and the sacrifices he (and many
others) made for freedom over the years. My thoughts then turned to Camus, the Algerian born
author, journalist, and philosopher, who was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. Camus
was the first African-born writer to receive this Nobel Prize and he once said: “Freedom is nothing
but a chance to be better.”
18 years ago when South Africa went to the polls, united for the first time, to vote in our first democratic elections, I was beside myself with excitement.
Although I had grown up as a white, middle class citizen I had never voted. How could I ever vote when I didn’t believe in any of the parties, when I knew in my heart and soul that what this government was doing was terribly wrong?
Member of Parliament was Harry Schwartz
Before I left Johannesburg I lived in Yeoville for about eight years and my MP was the legendary Harry Schwarz. In the 1964 Rivonia Trial he was a defence lawyer. He was in parliament for the United Party, PFP, then DP. I thought if I had to choose someone to represent me under the old regime then, Harry Schwartz was just fine. He was unopposed. During the time I lived there, we had no elections in Yeoville. So I never voted.
I moved from Johannesburg to Durban 18 years ago (via Bloemfontein) and moved into my flat, where I live now at the beginning of April. I was really excited to discover that my polling station was about three blocks away at the Norwegian Hall.
I walked down, through Berea Park with two new friends early that morning of 27 April 1994 and as we walked through the early autumn morning we just saw this swarm of smiling and happy people, walking one-one or in small groups, walking in the same directions.
I live on the Berea, which then was a very white wealthy area – (I live on the poorer edge). And I couldn’t believe my eyes to see madams and their maids – in overalls and aprons (the maids), walking – some even hand in hand – to the polling station.
It was as if a magic wand had been waved over my country and my people had all been made equal. The crippling and humiliating yoke of apartheid was lifted that April morning.
Everybody was Talking to Everybody Else
The vibe in the line at the polling booth was amazing. Everybody was going out of their way to talk to everyone else. It really was like a kind of “diversity dust” had been sprinkled on South Africans that day. (Sadly it wore off). But we did have a magic, almost perfect day!
I know South Africans aren’t equal, let’s face it we will never be – but our Freedom Charter says that we must all have equal opportunities and equal access and equal chances. And we just shift the blame, don’t we – we blame the government, we blame apartheid. The government deserves some of the blame, and apartheid deserves a lot but so much rests on us – each and every person in South Africa. We can all make a difference. Some can make a big difference; some can make a small one.
So let us celebrate this Freedom day and remember that “paradise was almost closing down”. Our freedom has come at a great cost. Many have died and suffered for this freedom. Let us use it well, productively and let us say Halala! Freedom Day 2012 Halala!
Guest blog post by Briget Ferguson, winner of the You’re Awesome is Everywhere – Photo competition
A weekend of relaxing, laughing and loving. This is what we had in mind and we were most definitely not disappointed.
The Folie is beautiful. Walking through the doors and putting down our bags we knew that this would be our home away from home. It was comfortable and yet stylish. The entire front of the house is made up of windows and no matter where you were the view was spectacular.
With the four cousins (the kids, not the wine) bustling off in different directions, exploring, setting up their XBox..LOL! and claiming their beds, my sister and I sat back with our men and relaxed with wine in the garden.
We had no great aspirations for doing the most activities, no, not by a long shot and besides the guys grabbing their bikes and going cycling a few times there was not much of a sweat being generated by any of us as we just sat back and enjoyed our downtime. Not forgetting to mention being completely spoilt with having dinner prepared for us and our beds made of course.
If treasure hunting is your game then I can tell you that Foreman and Monica are two gems easily found there are The Folie. Foreman is a culinary genius and Monica pampered us with chocolate mints and fluffy pillows. (I tried to shove Foreman in the boot but he is a fighter, I will have you know)