Why what? I want to ask, but I don’t, because I know what you are asking and my heart fills with tears.
Tuesday was Women’s day and we were celebrating with hundreds of Joburgers at Emmarentia Live. With legendary vocals like Freshly Ground and Mango Groove and less familiar to me; Goodluck and others. It stood out how much we have to celebrate as women in this country and many parts of the world. It was also glaring how much of the intricate work now has to be faced. It’s an uprising, and an understanding of the feminine, not only as women, but as humans raising each other and our children. We have to learn how to listen like mothers do. How much we should care to teach our boys how to be gentle with each other and women. There is too much that is still so destructive to our evolution as man, so disruptive to the harmony that could exist. My heart burns with passion for all that still needs to be handled and for all the voices being ignored when we should be quiet and listen, seeing how we can make it better.
I loved being under the African sun, smelling the warm Joburg winter, people watching and being among such a diverse crowd. There was groups of people from so many generations. Walking from one end to the other, all the different languages spoken was like its own kind of music. When I looked at all the different little groups set up under their umbrellas I also became aware of a separateness among us all. There seemed to be understanding, freedom to be and a beautiful tolerance for different sentiments. Seemingly natural. Yet I hope that there is not a silent hypocrisy and pretence building among us. I hope that when opportunity affords us we engage each other and listen with open hearts not judging with stereotypes leading our perception and giving us the excuse to only hear part of a story.
Excuse my tangent, I am in observing mode. I became a mother in California, in the US I became an adult. I do not want to assume too much about my new landscape. Even if familiar, I am different and the emotional, economical landscape of my once very familiar home has changed. I am desperate to have a clear understanding of her again. The one thing that has not changed is my love for this land, these people, voices, faces, smells and tastes. We landed during a harsh dry winter. Trees are bare and it all has a yellow-brown glow. Days are short and nights long. Its nose-biting cold. People are standing in icy wind blasts trying to get by on the generosity of strangers. Yes this is the home of my heart. A place where you are faced daily with contrasts and your participation feels questioned. How much to give to those that seems stuck in a reality of harshness and how to protect or rationalise those living within walls of great luxury. A constant existential question seems to hang over ones head here. This can be exhausting and exhilarating, I guess it depends on the day, and what is going on at home:)
I loved being in California, San Francisco to San Diego. Good people, beautiful seas, beaches, mountains and desert. Great learning and many opportunities. And yet I felt disconnected. Always working to reconnect, finding the truth of it lies within. My relationship with self strengthened and my true purpose, passion and place became evident. In California I found the space to figure it out. Once I did, I longed to be here, in South Africa, among people and a place where I wanted to share and participate.
Why Johannesburg then? Why not the beloved Cape, “your husband brews and wouldn’t it be more fair to take him there?”. He does not surf. He will miss the ocean, but I promise to take him at least once a year for a good get away. His real passion is “die bosveld”, it’s game and the adventure of it. He would love to learn how to be a game ranger “for-pete-sake”! He’s other passion, business. Johannesburg is where my family is, and my brother is always visiting from the Cape(we make him). Johannesburg has a vibe and a people/business sense that we crave. It’s alive with possibility and trees. We are supported and surrounded with love here. Having been away for almost, not quite, ten years, my being craved the familiar. I have always loved Johannesburg. It’s wonderful to listen to those passionate about being here, choosing to stay here, feel the same. They have also fallen in love. This city is rich with people, it’s neighborhoods are gems and is buzzing with creative business minds.
Still you look at me like I am crazy…Ok, so we needed change. We were only surviving and living, to pay rent, suffocating in roles that did not serve us. It was time to give ourselves the opportunity to breathe and create our lives, to live with daily passion. To wake up to work that serves our passion and purpose. One of the priorities, for our children to witness this kind of living. For them to be part of both worlds. It’s South Africa’s turn and they are at a great age to make this change and integrate.
Here is another big why… we can afford it. We are lovingly supported on two continents, family that has surrounded us with incredible safety nets, passports that give us freedom of movement. We can afford to take a risk and try this path and life. We stand humbly in gratitude for the grace with which we are afforded these changes and opportunities.
I can only stand on the outside for so long, then I also want to join the dance or process. South Africa, it seems we are like a beautiful teenager trying to figure ourselves out. It’s so destructive and in many moments the choices and behaviours makes no sense, and consequences are great. I am still an observer but at least an engaged one now. Soon I hope I can become part of the process and be part of what helps our country heal from the inside out.
Why? because this is what we want to do right now, this is where we want to be right now. Here is where we want to raise our children right now. Here is where we want to create and play right now.
With love and light