One day a youth string orchestra from Bloemfontein comes to give a concert at the white high school in town. First, the headmaster gives his students a serious talking- to before they go inside.
He tells them not to fidget, not to talk, and most of all not to laugh at the little black children in the big bus who are learning Christian music.
The students march into the hall pushing and shoving onto the pews, the teachers whisper at the back and smirk. Then the little musicians wonder onto the stage. They sit down, adjust their music stands, tune their A-strings and turn their faces onto the music conductor. Bows ready. And then it rises like a sweep of wings- Handel, Bach, Brahms, Vivaldi-the sweetness filling the hall, flowing through the aisles, and the little legs of the first violins swinging under their chairs as they play. Startled beyond themselves, the students lean forward. The teachers stop talking. The English mistress dab at her eyes with a handkerchief. And when the little boys and girls finish their playing and bow, the whole school stands up to cheer them.
Outside, a farmer runs up to the conductor. He shakes the man’s hand and tells him that he will never never leave this wonderful country. The orchestra children pile into the bus and leave in a spray of dust, pressing their little noses against the back window.
At the core of the human experience people are no different from you even if they come from a different culture, religion or are of a different colour.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged” – Matthew 7:1
If you open your heart and see the world through the eyes of others and from their point of view then you will accept those of different cultures and different walks of life.
After all, are we not all South Africans?
Story adopted from Stoep Zen – Antony Osler page 70.