Monday, May 5, 2008

I need to Blog

I need to Blog about a couple of things.

Let me start with the last episode of American Idol.

I dont have cable tv, but was lucky enough to be at a friends place when it came on and so I watched it there.
First, we watched the part where they all sang and got commented on by the judges. That was ok.
Then there was a thing that came on called "Idol gives back"
At this point I sat forward on the couch as they started talking about HIV in Africa and the things they were doing in my country.
I found this evoked 2 feelings in my heart.

1. Pity - my heart broke for these people that were suffering in my country. When the part with Annie Lennox came on and she was crying - I started crying and Ryan just had to hold me till I felt better. These people have nothing. They are in constant suffering and they have lost everything that matters. They cry openly and are so appreciative of anything-a hug, a kind word, a crust of bread.

2. Guilt - I sat there and thought to myself, what am I doing to help these people that are my fellow country men and woman? Im sitting in a house, with food in my tummy, a jersey on my shoulders and when I want to go home, I will get in a car and get driven. I felt horrible for having all that I do. I wanted to go out right there and then and feed some child that has no parents. I wanted to take someone home to have a warm place to sleep for a night.
I needed to do something.
But, I didnt know what to do. And so I went home, climbed into my bed and went to sleep.
Pathetic hey?
I know.

How come American celebrities can come to my country and help, but I cant?

But, just so you understand, the whole of Africa does not look like what you saw on Idols. There are places here that dont look any different to where you come from. Really.
But since the only things National Geographic show are the starving children and wild animals on the plains, I cant blame people who, when I am overseas, ask me, "Do you have lions in your backyard?" Or, "Do you live in a house or a mud hut?"

Dont laugh, Im being dead serious.

Now, dont get me wrong, where I can, I will give money to a beggar or buy a meal for someone hungry.
But, I get the feeling that I need to be doing more.
I need to be out there with the likes of Bono and Annie Lennox and I need to be looking out for those kids who have nothing.
But, thats not always an option for people here, so we try and give what we can, where we can. And even though I cant do what the others are doing, I am still heart broken when I see these people.

But, there is a whole other side to what I am feeling.

I am going to be blunt and honest, so please bear with me.

When I am alone at my flat, I am constantly in fear of someone breaking in and raping/beating/killing me for my possesions - this has happened to many people that I know.

When we stop at a red traffic light, we have to look out all the windows in case of a person approaching that could smash our window and tear off any piece of jewellery that is visible, or put a gun to my head and demand my wallet and mobile phone - this has happened to many people I know.

When we back the car out of the driveway, we have to look out for people who might try to hi-jack us in our driveway - this has happened to many people I know.

I cannot walk ANYWHERE on my own, not in the day or night.

I cannot walk along our beachfront for fear of being attacked.

I am scared to roll down my window to give the child begging at the traffic light some money for fear that now that he has my attention, his buddy smashes my other window and steals what he can.

Now, I should probably bring to your attention that these crimes against humanity are commited by people of colour.

Its terrible to have to seperate people by their race, but if you are from South Africa, you will know that its a way of life.
A white person cannot speak out against a black person without huge claims of racism being expressed.
If there is a job available and a white person and a black person both apply, it will be given to the black person because of something in our country called BEE - Black Economic Empowerment.

Its always a race issue.

If our sports team looses - our government will claim that its because there arent enough players of colour and they will put people in just for the colour of their skin - not looking at their abilities.
There are people starving - but the Government will spend BILLIONS on the changing of perfectly good ROAD names that are so called "white" and replace them with "black" ones that nobody can pronounce. Now, all maps, business cards ect have to be changed. You can imagine the expense. But, when it comes to the starving children that our American friends have to come and help - our Government turns a blind eye.

I know Im ranting now, but I just want you to see what Im feeling. I am furious at the way I am forced to be in a "jail" in my own home - bugular guards, security gate, padlocked door and alarm system.
I am furious that I cannot walk to the shop to buy bread and milk as I am afraid that someone will grab my handbag or worse.

There are 850 000 white South Africans that have left to live in other countries between 1995 and 2005. Thats one third of the white population. Every day there are on average 10 people who immigrate to New Zealand.
My parents help make up this statistic.
They left in 2005 after my dad was laid off from his job because of the colour of his skin, along with about 20 others, all with blemish free records and with years and years of experience.
Now, we have what is being called the "Brain Drain" as we have a huge shortage of skilled workers as they are all leaving to live in other countries because of the state of this one.

I was a person who was passionate about this place, my home. I refused to immigrate and 3 years later, I am still here.

Come January 2009 and I will get on a plane with a one way ticket to start my life in New Zealand and hope to be able to build a life there.

I will be starting over at 22 years of age.
Leaving everything that has ever been "home" to me.

Its going to hurt and its going to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I cant imagine raising my kids one day in a place where they cannot be safe, playing in their own garden.

Now, hopefully you can see why I feel the way I do...


Ps : I just read this from top to bottom and should apologise if it makes anyone feel morbid or upset. I coudnt carry these feelings with me for a second longer. Hopefully you will understand.


Help I need a user name! said...

Please don't feel guilty...we all feel this way to some extent, I think-even here in America. I'm glad you will be with your family, and I'm glad you will be able to walk on the street again, and buy bread and milk when you need to, instead of waiting for someone to go with you.

As far as helping others, there is a story (you may have heard it) about starfish. You see, starfish get washed up on the beach when the tide comes in, and when it goes back out, some are left there. There was a man walking along the beach, throwing starfish back into the water. And another man came up and said, "you know, you can't possibly throw all the starfish back into the ocean. There are too many. This throwing them back in doesn't really matter. And the first man said, as he threw a starfish, "It matters to that one." No, he couldn't throw all of them back in, but he did do what he could to help as many as possible. And his help did matter to those that he helped. Your help to the people you can help, by buying a meal or giving money, matters to those people. That which is done to help another helps that person, and that counts! And, Jesus said, Inasmuch as you do this for the least of my people, you do it for me." (Or something close to that.) Your help is actually helping Jesus.

Now, for the "girl" your boyfriend going with you?

aurora said...

I am glad that you took this opportuntiy to vent out your feelings. I am sure that it was a really good exercise to you to see it all out there on paper (or virtual paper). I am sure that it validated your feelings to yourself.
I think that it is true that we all feel that we can be doing more. I totally agree with the previous comment about the story of the starfish. We help who we can, when we can.
But feeling very unsafe is another matter entirely. I am now totally worried about you, and I can't wait until you can move to be with your family.

amy mo said...

I saw that episode of American Idol too. However, I had no idea all of that goes on there. I knew there was stuff going on between blacks & whites because of a movie I saw, but of course it was portrayed to make the white people look evil. I know that being prejudiced towards blacks is completely horrible & not right, but it doesn't fix the problem by turning that prejudice around against white people, so I'm really sorry that's what's happening. I'm glad that you'll be safer in New Zealand, but I'm sorry that that's what it's had to come down to.

Chellie said...

I loved reading this. It seemed so real. Helping the people of Africa will take all of us, not one person, so by doing a little, we are really doing a lot.
It's also hard to help out another country when there are starving people here. Sometimes I feel like I have to be loyal to my own country first, then help others.

It sounds scary there. I really had no idea. I love to hear your stories. New Zealand will be so lovely and peaceful. I think you really need some peace of mind!!