A few things on my mind

Archive for October 2013

Last night I had to go to Douglasdale Police Station – too long a story and not the point of this exercise. Upon arrival there were already six people in front of us, all filling out accident reports. If you have ever filled one of those out – you will understand what a cumbersome exercise it is. Nonetheless, the police officers in charge were nothing but helpful and entertaining. I know you are probably thinking a police station where all hands on deck? Yes it is true – I saw it with my own eyes.

When it was my turn approximately an hour later, there were two other people next to me being assisted. While we were being assisted, in walked this woman with an incomplete accident report that she needed completed– and did not ask nicely – she actually demanded to be served.

‘I know bitch aint talking to me like that!’ I had the privilege of understanding what those three ladies were saying to each other as they ignored and refused to help her. Eventually, she was passed a blank form and told to tell the person, who was involved in the accident – which was in hospital and unable to walk – to “Fill it in and bring it back when she/he can walk” FYI – Insurance companies require the case number 24 hours after the accident – something they made sure everyone before this woman was aware of and something they neglected to mention to this woman.

Many of us have parents and grandparents that had to do menial work; and suffer the abuse from their employers. My grandmother was a domestic worker, Julius’ mom used to be a domestic worker, Jacob Zuma’s mother was a domestic worker. When my grandmother used to tell me stories about the treatment she got from her employers – I used to be filled with nothing but rage.

So now in the liberated South Africa – bitch you are not talking to me like that. The ANC might not have delivered much on the economic freedom, but they sure did something right, they made sure that no one ever gets to trip like that – and get away with it.

And white people need to understand this and quick fast. In a country of 51million odd people, 49 of them black, I am writing this article in English. We do business in English, you are served in English – get a grip.

As a start, for improved relations a few tips:

  1. Say hi
  2. Say please
  3. Ask nicely
  4. Treat  people with some respect
  5. Learn a word or two of the 9 out of 11 languages
  6. Drop the attitude   

Going off on these free people is asking for unnecessary trouble. It will get you nowhere – fast.  

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I was six when my dad died. It was my first death. It was such an unfortunate affair – listening to grown-ups trying to explain death to me. There was one uncle, who fancied himself an intellectual who said that “Death is like a flowing river, you can’t stop it. Man has tried and has failed” It was such a depressing thought – mere fact that I still remember his words says a lot about how consoled I was.

The one strange thing about death is that people always mourn the ones they have lost, they become centre stage. I have always felt that we should mourn the ones left behind – the ones that are left to live with the loss of their loved one.

However, if you do feel some level of self-pity, it is seen as being selfish, thinking of yourself when you still get to live. I remember during my mom’s funeral I dared and shed a tear. This woman came to me and told me to wipe my tears or my mom would not rest in peace. So I looked at her and thought yes, how selfish of me, how do I think of my loss, when I should be thinking about the dead lady’s peace. Had that conversation happened now – that fucking conversation would have gone slightly different.

Thinking about it, my mom was on the same page as me. For the six years she lived without my dad, she spent every Saturday morning listening to Brook Benton’s “A little bit of soap”.  The song is about a lost love – a break up – not death. But the feeling is similar. Both death and a break up are similar, never expected, sometimes the signs are there, but when it happens you are never ready, there is always a glimmer of hope, things will work – this will not be the end but it does.

My mom allowed herself one day a week, where she could miss her loved on and his peace was not her fucking problem, she had lost her loved one and she wanted everyone to know. I think that is a far greater tribute to the ones we have lost, remembering them and feeling sorry for ourselves for what their death has caused us.