The slipping away

IMG_4900 - CopyThe mountain in her austere aloofness and rocky splendour, rising abruptly from sea level and allowing between herself and the ocean only a narrow strip of earth for human habitation and movement, today wears that softening, unhurriedly shifting veil of low cloud cover that renders her mysterious and shy.
‘Tis a favourite sight for me. It soothes. Reassures. Allows for quiet nostalgia and solitary reflection. Hushes.

Today it allows me an inward glance that urges me to contemplate life in the wake of a death. Not just any death. That of my father. But still – death.

Euphemisms have no place when the topic is death, nor do they serve a purpose, for to postpone or avoid the naked truth is to simply miss the opportunity of coming to terms with finality.

Often we use this word in everyday communication, to describe something commonplace like a conclusion. Or an outcome. We confidently or impatiently declare that we want to reach or gain ‘finality’ on a matter.
Death is the epitome of finality.

Perhaps it is the irrevocability that sets it apart from other matters of so-called finality. Once it has set in, there is complete and utter silence – never to be broken again in this realm of awareness.
There is, after all has gone still, no way of prolonging warmth; or conversation; or mutuality; or eye contact, that mystical merging of a moment or many moments in time by securing a shared channel of visual, sensual, emotional awareness of other. There is no way of prolonging anything known or unknown in a three dimensional world – once there is the termination of life as we know it.

What is however strange, is that when expected, death is presumably always preceded by waves and surges of hope, even in the face of the inevitable. This is one of the mysteries of life: that hope lives on while life lives on…
When not expected, it most likely deals a blow that is so devastating that it is oftentimes denied and mistaken to be an illusion – for a while at least.

We know of the awakening of Lazarus from death even after a few days; and the raising of Jairus’ 12 year old daughter; and we cannot help but wonder intensely if our own loved ones’ eyelids may start fluttering again and their blood vessels start pulsating with restoration.

When they are no longer here, we continue to see them coming towards us… and then we don’t. We hear their voices. Their laughter.

The familiar fragrances of their hair, their clothes, their after-shave lotions and perfumes remain in our nostrils.
The film of Tabac on my father’s skin even in his final hours still emits the beloved manly and reassuring fragrance that I had come to know as a child. I may simply not ever have noticed it on any other man; but in my reference framework it is unique to my father. And will remain that way.

In the last days – sweltering midsummer days during which the heat also causes unease for my dying father – I am aware of the contradiction of seeing and feeling him slipping away, yet willing him to hold on and stay. Heart and mind are in conflict. The one knows; the other is aflame with senseless hope against all odds.

It is clear that his race is almost done. He has run it superbly and all we can do – all we are able to do – is to remain by his side, day and night, in relays: encouraging; reassuring; accompanying;  knowing that finally he will have to cross the threshold – the Jordan – alone. Knowing that our journey with him will be over.

* * * *

Here I interrupt my halting thoughts to cycle at dusk; to breathe and reconnect with the new reality of only weeks.
What I see, is a manifestation of light and shadows and colour in nature… It makes me gasp.

  • * * * * *

In the last hours his unease deteriorates into severe and painful discomfort. Almost visibly his body transforms. Racked with the painful agony of the terrible disease, what remains is the silent dignity I know so well. I cannot do anything to help and it tears me apart. When his eyes focus, they pierce ours pleadingly; his blue gaze, now fading, mirrors ours. He recognizes this. He does not want to leave us, we sense.

He is thirsty, but can no longer swallow. We drip cool water into the corner of his mouth and brush it across his lips. We sing. It makes him peaceful. We sing more. We pray. I clasp two of his handkerchiefs in my helpless hands. They are soaked with the tears I cannot hold back. I cry for my own imminent loss. And for the sadness and seriousness of my father’s condition. But mostly we tell him with strong voices that he has been and given more than we could ever have hoped for. He has been larger than life.

The shape of his face becomes less and less familiar as physical resilience ebbs and the threshold approaches.

We hold his hands. Amazingly, he holds ours.

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The spasmodic breaths are further and further apart until almost impossible to perceive.

The last one… oh… It is so faint and so final. Or is it? How can it be?

The line is so thin. Only the double-edged sword can penetrate to divide soul and spirit.

 

 

 

 

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die pers en wit van mymering

(vir Pappa – op 21 November 2015, die 84ste herdenking van sy geboortedag)

gister, vandag & more…

die driekleur-fyngeur van pers onthou en wit behou

by ’n venster van ’n huis

vol harte en hande en heimwee:

kinderstemme soos in ’n droom

kersliggies, die towergeur van ’n denneboom

die varsgeur van bloekomboom op bloekomboom

die skietpyn van ’n by wat skuil in ’n pers blom…

nee, ’n towertapyt van pers blom op pers blom

gestort van die ruwe takke van ’n uitlandse boom

in die middel van die edentuin aan die soom

van die dorpie van drome

daar ver in eens-op-’n-tyd se transvaal.

te ver nou, vir ons, vir my en jou

maar nie vir pers en wit onthou en behou

van lagtye  saamtye  huiltye  tuistye  toertye  onstye  singtye  speeltye…

van die kennelik klinkklare hartsnaarklank

van ons kerkklok hoog bo die plataanboomsoom

en die ossewa-onthouplek

knus langs die stoer-trots sandsteengestalte

in die hart van ons dorp: destyds nog genoem na ’n held

van die Trek…

sonbesiesomers en naguilnagte; tarentaalskemeraande en rooivlagtreinoggende

die piet-my-vrou: koning van kleintyd-klanke

die gerunnik van perde en die kraak van saals

die kletterklop en blêr en bulk

van bees en skaap wat trek

’n sweep wat klap en keer

zulustem wat fluit en beheer

die feesmaalvolheid van gesinwees

in ons tombana-eden met uitbundige bloeiselboom in die hoek…

terras met die bloureën-persreënlint

wat ons en voorouers bind

koejawelboom digby die ewige rots

vensters wat blink en varslug verslind

omgee en liefde en wysheid en waarheid

so na die hart van kind op kind…

oorvloedig! Here, hoe blymoedig maak U my die hart!

hoe vrymoedig die hardloop met arms uitgestrek

na ’n vaderland van blousaffiere

’n brokkelplekkie in die son

’n ‘onthou-Pa?’-plek

Die gryp na die soom

van ’n ‘favourite things’ vir altyd-droom…

THAT UNSPEAKABLE JOY

HOW proud I used to be to be called a ‘bookworm’. That was many moons ago. When I had deserved and earned the title – by reading whenever and wherever I could! Regrettably things changed with time. For many years I could no longer claim to be… that worm…

Today (8 September) being International Literacy Day, and this week being National Book Week here in South Africa, my thoughts cannot help but turn to this most desirable pastime that I now struggle, but am determined, to pursue. It is through no-one’s doing but my own!

I read like a caterpillar chewing on a green leaf long before I went to school! It continued into my early teen years. I knew the magic of the smell of a new book, the thrill of receiving a wrapped birthday or Christmas gift in the undeniable size and shape and feel of a book, I loved (still do!) the hush of a library and the wonder of shelf upon shelf of potential pleasure. And indeed not only pleasure, but also new insights, new worlds of wisdom, new ideas!

Oh, the joy of picking up a substantial hardcover book and turning the pages one by one, all the while immersing yourself deeper and deeper into other worlds and spaces; making your own pictures of places and faces! The reward and satisfaction of growing a collection, a selection, of books: your own library.

ALIVE & WELL

Mine exists. It is alive and well. It is thriving – mostly in neat stacks beside my bed and I have the doubtful habit of trying to browse more than one copy at a time! Frantic to make up lost opportunities, maybe? Daily my eyes dwell lovingly over the titles in shelves – also by my bedside! – that are waiting to be read or re-read. And on the landing of the stairs there are more enticing titles and volumes calling out to me. I AM a potential bookworm. I can convert again! I still experience the delight of ownership; the sensation of possessiveness.

Why the habit ever dwindled?

Late teens: boys… schoolwork… piano practice….

Early twenties: university studies… romance….

Late twenties: career obligations…neglect…marriage…

Thirtysomethings: motherhood…part-time (full-time!) professional writing practice…fatigue… neglect…burn-out… (the latter temporarily brought my concentration abilities to a nasty and grinding halt).

Fortysomethings: self-employment…life coaching (of my own, precious offspring)…writing (for additional earnings)…

All the while I knew, however, that love of reading, the hunger for solitude and silence with written words, had never died or gone away. Thank goodness for that!

And now – I am trying with a passion and a vengeance to put right what went wrong. I still yearn for books, for reading time. I nurture and cherish the time I manage to spend losing myself in a book. Autobiographies, philosophies, family sagas, thought-provoking non-fiction with one of the requirements being that the reading matter direct my thoughts to higher and worthier things than the mundane and the ridiculous.

Book Week! What an excellent campaign: there are few better ways than reading, to boost your vocabulary (for everyday use!), stimulate your thought processes, satisfy your need for knowledge and insight (to be able to think on your feet!)

Literacy is indispensable. It empowers. Period.

I really hope and trust that SA Book Week will see many, many converts! Here’s my pledge: I’m jumping on the bandwagon – watch me!

Far from the Fire Pools

20150519_203619_resizedThe surface of the street where I live is shiny with the traces of this morning’s frequent and intense showers after days of fierce and angry gales. The ocean is tired of dancing to their tunes and heaves in heavy swells of grey – beneath a sullen sky in all those fifty fluffy shades.

The date is significant.

The music of the Reflection and Meditation CD from the Reader’s Digest album The World’s Favourite Classics is so perfect for the moment. I float with it. Soar. Maybe not altogether lightheartedly; however temporarily and willingly detached from the shackles of earthly realities.

I lean over to be able to see the mountain and notice with a quiet gladness that there is a splattering of sun on the slopes where my mother’s ashes lie strewn. Where we scattered them some months after her death exactly twenty years ago. I marvel at the brevity of time; yet also its vastness. A sense of timelessness envelopes me and reminds me of the words found in the 55th chapter of the Bible book written by the prophet Isaiah – in verses 8 and 9: “My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.”

ARROGANT EGOISTS

My mother has been spared a great deal of earthly toil and turmoil. As much as I would enjoy taking her on a walk down memory lanes of the past two decades, I am also relieved that she is not exposed to the ridiculousness and the nadir of a government flailing about in disregard of all decency, morality, nobility and righteousness.

She has not needed to learn daily with a heavy heart of the escalating crime and corruption that are threatening to destroy a South African dream of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all… Likewise she is unaware of the race against time to save this unique and singular country from recklessness and destruction at the hands of arrogant egoists who almost certainly do not even know how to spell the word ‘integrity’.

Her heart would no doubt be troubled if it felt the threatening tremors of lawlessness approaching like a potentially devastating earthquake that is eager to devour and destroy the foundations of justice.

It would cry and flutter at the knowledge that the father of her children is sailing these stormy and treacherous waters in the frailty and vulnerability of old age and ill health. Yet it would sing joyously and victoriously to the tune of his courage and perseverance against all odds.

What matters most, after all, is to sense and believe that a journey of victory on high places, somewhere between reality and eternity, is ultimately rewarding.

Regardless…

WORDS’ WORTH – Michael Ondaatje and the ‘word thing’

(‘Words’ Worth’ is a fortnightly column written for the Solid Stuff Creative facebook page)the-enlgish-patient

When I stumble upon words or phrases that can be attributed to great and famous spirits and they resonate with a passion deep inside of me, I feel a trickle of excitement and pleasure tickling my spine. Oh, especially when they actually kind of summarise or accurately echo that passion!

Sri Lankan born author Michael Ondaatje, whose profound and poignant novel The English Patient earned him the 1992 Booker Prize, has his character who is throughout the narrative only presumed by the reader to be Almásy, express thoughts on the power and integrity of words – while they are most likely Ondaatje’s own.

Referring to the characters of Geoffrey Clifton and his wife Katharine, Almásy says: “The words of her husband in praise of her meant nothing. But I am a man whose life in many ways, even as an explorer, has been governed by words. By rumours and legends. Charted things. Shards written down. The tact of words. In the desert to repeat something would be to fling more water into the earth. Here nuance took you a hundred miles.”

Katharine subsequently asks Almásy for “That book you look at in the evenings?”

“Herodotus. Ahh. You want that?”

Some days later she takes out The Histories after the evening meal and reads out loud to the men the story of Candaules and his queen. A piece that Almásy had always skimmed over, but now listens to.

“…the words she spoke across the fire…”

He then tells the reader (or Hana): “This is a story of how I fell in love with a woman, who read me a specific story from Herodotus. I heard the words she spoke across the fire…” And a few paragraphs further – “She stopped reading and looked up. Out of the quicksand. She was evolving. So power changed hands. Meanwhile, with the help of an anecdote, I fell in love.

“Words, Caravaggio. They have a power.”

Much later on in the novel, when there is an inevitable break-down in his relationship with Katharine, he (the narrator at that stage) skilfully uses words to imply a deep and profound understanding of her that she is sadly not aware of: “She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water.”

Perhaps this following excerpt from the review of the novel by Pico Iyer of Time best describes the allure and intrigue of The English Patient:

“A magic carpet of a novel that soars across worlds and times… As rare and spellbinding a net of dreams as any that has emerged in recent years.”

I agree.

I salute Michael Ondaatje’s captivating celebration of words.

 

…Corrupts absolutely, Mr President

To call last week’s SONA a ‘circus’ is far too complimentary and playful. Frivolous. ‘Disaster’ would be a better description. Or ‘fiasco’. Or even ‘tragedy’.

Mr President, you and your team have yet again disappointed so many South Africans who had been holding their breaths – hoping against their better knowledge and insight that this time you may just rise to the challenge. It was however not to be.

I wonder if you ever take a moment to ponder on the hopes and dreams of the freeborns who had their very first opportunity to participate in a national election in 2014. Are you even aware of the Y-generation who, together with them, are shining examples across the excitingly diverse culture spectrum, of a true Rainbow Generation? Do you have the faintest clue of how many of their political perceptions are in your hands, as the leader and head of state of their country of birth? They are honing skills and carving out futures inbetween pathetic power failures and faux pas upon political faux pas.

There is a collective glint of confusion and hesitation in their eyes. Is this it? The free, democratic South Africa in which no-one would ever again be oppressed by anyone? Have they missed something? Did Mr Mandela not make it perfectly clear as South Africa’s first democratically elected president that statesmanship came with a whole lot of integrity?

You missed yet another opportunity, Mr Zuma, of displaying true statesmanship and honour. It should have been different. But… do you have what it takes? Why would you choose to roll out a guttural and scornful laugh when you should have been taking charge with authority and dignity?

You actually had absolutely nothing at all to say about the glaring violations that were most likely occurring on your orders. Did words fail you, or do you simply lack all respect: for yourself, for institutions of the highest order and ultimately for your people?

Your party’s arrogant assumption that it had the authority to instruct the jamming of cell phone signals and the commandeering of armed forces to suit its macabre needs, thereby effectively hijacking and disregarding the sacred status of parliament constituted a seizure of power that you sadly do not have.

We have moved beyond the ‘power corrupts’ phase.

I doubt you are able to gauge the extent of the irreparable damage you have done hacking away at the foundation laid by Nelson Mandela not only for his own party, but for all South Africans for posterity.

Methinks you have gone too far: not only in your most recent public conduct, but in a myriad of instances known and unknown. You have too long been unfit for the role and status you assume and cling to.

Laugh you may; but I am afraid you may not be the last to laugh, Mr President.

*

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”

 

 

 

 

 

Words’ Worth (an ode to words)

(‘Words’ Worth’ is a fortnightly column written for the Solid Stuff Creative facebook page)

Hunter S. Thompson is believed to have said “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right”.

At Solid Stuff  Creative we say pretty much the same: “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”… This includes words. Doing words.

Granted, it’s a known fact that you get much further and ‘say’ much more with body language. Id est  without using words. In fact Francis of Assisi supposedly said “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words”.

However, there is something powerful and almost mystical about words that leaves me awe-stricken. They are a miracle of life! And I challenge you to disagree.

Another thoroughly worn string of word pearls is the one that presumably originally went like this: “Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword”. Edward George Bulwer Lytton (1803-1873), an English novelist, wrote this for the first time in 1839. Is it not self-explanatory? Can you touch and change hearts, minds and attitudes with the sword?

With bullets?

With foolish power play?

With force?

While in South Africa we are currently not blessed with a ruler or governing party that is prolific with words of encouragement or greatness, we hold dear the mind-boggling unprecedented achievement of two former leaders – one white, one black – who simultaneously and jointly proved to the entire globe that greatness certainly does not call for a single shot to be fired or sword to be drawn. With this tour de force they captivated the entire world, capturing more hearts and minds than a combination of Napoleons, Caesars, Hannibals, Chakas, Nelsons, Osama bin Ladens, Dayans and the likes. Together they brought home the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 – “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”.

Their instruments, their tools were words. Their vehicle communication. Spine-chilling. Breathtaking. Show-stopping. This country and its continent would never be the same again.

Not a drop of blood was wasted in reaching a goal that had appeared to become exceedingly remote and despairingly distant. Their legacy is more precious than words. Yet gratifyingly it has been, is being and will be perpetuated and immortalized in images and words. Most importantly words. For posterity.

Former South African president Paul Kruger (late 1800’s) – one of its most colourful and charismatic – once said: “Take from the past what is good, clean and noble and build thereupon the future.”

Words. Precious and valuable.

I rest my case.

Niemand soos hy nie

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Dit is die maand November.

Albei van ons se verjaarsdagmaand. Ons geboortedatums vyf dae uit mekaar. En 24 jaar. Dit voel onwerklik dat ek oor ‘n paar dae 59 jaar oud sal wees; en enkele dae daarna – hy 83.

Hy was midde-in voorbereidings vir ‘n allerbelangrike eksamen toe ek my opwagting gemaak het. Daardie betrokke eksamen het nie afgeloop soos dit moes nie en ek het al dikwels gewonder of ek by implikasie skuldig is. Ek voel nog altyd ‘n bietjie skuldig. Dinge kon dalk heel anders verloop het.

Ek wonder of die jakarandas nog geblom het daardie maand in 1955? Ag dit maak ook nie saak nie. Die belangrikste was dat twee van hulle toe drie van ons geword het. Ek wonder hoe dit regtig vir hulle was…. Menige staaltjies en grepe uit my eerste lewensjaar is my al vertel en ek wil my al verbeel die groot(?) plastiek-eend(jie) wat saam met my gebad het, is een van my onderbewuste geheueprentjies. Of dit moontlik is, weet ek nie. Dit was ‘n wit eend, weet ek. En fassinerend.

Dit kon nie alte maklik gewees het nie – vir ‘n 21-jarige en ‘n 24-jarige om in alle erns met ‘n opvoedingstaak te begin… Hy was ‘n uithaler-gimnas; ‘n provinsiale rugbyspeler; ‘n gewese koshuisvoorsitter. Sy loopbaan het gewink. Hare ook; maar sy het gekies om my met haar eie hande te versorg.

Ek twyfel of hulle destyds besef het dat hulle byna veertig jaar lank betrokke sou bly by ‘n aaneenlopende en herhalende opvoedingsmissie waarby ek en die nege na my – wat van ons driemanskap ‘n dosyn gemaak het – so merkwaardig baatgevind het. Hy kon darem die afgelope twintig jaar spreekwoordelik terugstaan en sy handewerk in oënskou neem; die vrugte daarvan pluk? Sy nie. Sy kon nooit terugstaan en sê ‘so ja; hierdie lewenstaak is afgehandel’ nie. Sy moes gaan. So gou. Dankie tog dat hy gebly het.

NOVEMBER 2014

In die afgelope tyd het ek meer as een keer vererende huldeblyke van kinders aan pa’s gelees en gehoor. November 2014 is eweneens vir my ‘n gepaste tyd om opnuut weer so te maak met my pa. Wat wonderlik is, is dat ek hom in die oë kan kyk wanneer ek hom vertel – nie vir die eerste keer nie – dat ek in byna ses dekades nog bitter min mense van sy kaliber teëgekom het.

Die enkele woord wat ek waarskynlik die meeste met hom vereenselwig, is ‘integriteit’. Dit is moontlik my gunsteling woord ooit. Of liewer my gunsteling begrip. Dit sê… alles.

My pa is ‘n man van integriteit. Hy was dit nog altyd. Hy adem dit. Hy straal dit uit.

Met sy loopraam en met Marie aan sy sy het hy onlangs ‘n matriekreünie op pleitende uitnodiging bygewoon – van ‘n groep mans en vroue wat 50 jaar gelede reeds klaargemaak het met skool; wat intussen klinkende suksesse behaal het op hul onderskeie lewenspaaie; en wat hom daar by hulle wou hê om te kan sê dankie. “Vir wat Meneer vir ons beteken het.” “Vir die bepalende rol wat Meneer in my lewe gespeel het.”

Pa, het jy ‘n beter getuienis nodig van wie en wat jy is? En nog altyd was?

Ek en jy, Pa, het 18 jaar gelede – toe ek skaars veertig jaar oud was – in ‘n soort doodloopstraatjie beland. ‘n Soort laagtepunt bereik. Miskien het jy dit nie so ervaar nie. Maar ons verhouding was seer. Gewond. Dit was tussen ons: ek het jou in die steek gelaat toe jy wou hê ek moet verstaan. En ‘groot’ wees. Maar terselfdertyd het jou toorn en skynbare onbegrip my geknou. Erg. Ek het nie geweet of ons daarvan sou herstel nie.

Maar genade is groot. En geloof. En Pa, jou gees is so groot. Jou mentorskap het die toets van die tyd deurstaan. Jou vaderskap ook. Jou leierskap. Jou innerlike krag. Jou liefde. Jou omgee. En myne vir jou. My waardering en bewondering. My heldeverering.

Die skeidslyn tussen waas en werklikheid is baie dun en eintlik onbenullig. Want as jy my in daardie bekende stemtoon van al die jare steeds aanspreek as ‘ my poppie’, dan breek die somerson van 1955 in die jakarandastad helder deur, en weerklink die raadgewing, riglyne, teregwysings, vertroostings, bemoedigings en gerusstellinge so duidelik soos gister.

Dan is jy weer 24. En ek jou splinternuwe dogtertjie.

 

POLITIEK NIE ‘JOU KOPPIE TEE’? WAT NOU VAN 7 MEI?

Miskien was daar ‘n tyd toe ‘n mens jou onaangeraak en ongeskonde eenkant kon hou van die politiek. Onbetrokke. Want “dis nie vir jou nie”. Jy kon dit oorlaat aan die ‘politieke diere’: daardie spesie wat alte maklik (nie altyd sonder rede nie…) geëtiketteer word as nie vanselfsprekend onkreukbaar nie; of selfloos nie. Vir wie eie gewin en aansien ongelukkig dikwels onverbloemde voorrang geniet.

Alte algemeen is dit dat persoonlike ambisie of voorkeure of vooroordele by hulle hoogty vier en word aanvegbare, soms onverantwoordbare uitlatings in oorlogstrant deur hulle rondgeslinger ten koste van die groter saak en sonder aansien des persoons. “Politiek is ‘n vuil spel.”

Voor my Staatsleer-dae op Stellenbosch in die 70’s, met leermeesters soos Gerhard Tötemeyer en Fanie Cloete wat begrippe soos ‘mag’ en ‘politiek’ met filosofiese wysheid vir ons klompie 20plussers uitgelê het, was ek ook ‘n eenkant-faktor. Selfs nog jare daarna. Gestem, ja; maar niks meer nie. Daar was meer as genoeg individue daarbuite met ‘n passie vir magspeletjies. Ek wou en kon aangaan met my lewe.

VOORAAND

Dit is 4 Mei 2014. Die eerste uur van die nuwe dag; die nag is diep en stil en my hart is vol heimwee en nostalgie oor dieselfde datum en tyd 32 jaar gelede – toe ek die eerste gewaarwordinge gekry het dat my seun – my eersgeborene – sy opwagting gaan maak.

Daar is ook ander gewaarwordinge. Spanning, afwagting, gemengde emosies: oor die 2014-verkiesing wat nou, na maande se voortstuwing en voorbereiding, letterlik ophande is. En oor die deurslaggewendheid daarvan. Ek beleef dit intens. Ek is nie meer op die kantlyn nie, maar midde-in die stryd. Of spel. Of wat jy dit ook al wil noem. Ek het my onbetrokkenheid laat staan; ‘n blou T-hemp oor my kop getrek en toegetree tot die stryd. Dit klink heelparty eenvoudiger as wat dit is…

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Wat het vir my verander? In ‘n neutedop miskien die feit dat swaar, donker, digte wolke al lank aan die saampak is op die horison en niks goeds voorspel nie; hulle word al hoe meer en kom al hoe nader. En die besef dat ek nie langer net op die kantlyn wil staan en toekyk nie. Wag en kyk wat gebeur nie. Miskien die wete dat ‘n ‘demokratiese reg’ meer beteken as om net jou kruisie op ‘n gegewe dag te trek. Miskien die drang om ter wille van my kinders – ons kinders –  in beweging te kom en my aan te sluit by ‘n groepering wat my versugting vergestalt: om dringend, uiters dringend vir verandering te veg.

Om eenkant te sit en wag dat die politici aanvaarbare en werkbare oplossings vind terwyl ek toekyk, was hoewel die maklikste, nie meer die beste of die enigste opsie nie. Dit was tyd om op te staan en in te skakel…

INTEGRITEIT

Hierdie groepering het ‘n ideologie en ‘n visie wat totaal verweef is met integriteit en afhanklik is daarvan. Om die waarheid te sê – dit gaan akkoord met die droom wat Nelson Mandela vir hierdie land en sy mense gekoester het… Ek kan my daarmee vereenselwig. Ek kon my gewig daarby ingooi.

Ek kon ‘n beskeie maar gewillige rolspeler word: in my eie gemeenskap, tussen my mense. Die taak is groot, maar die boodskap is eenvoudig: Suid-Afrika is in die moeilikheid en daar moet verandering kom. Die skip sal omgedraai moet word voordat dit die afgrond in tuimel. Ons land moet gered word. Dis al genade.

Die ‘hearts & minds’ van Suid-Afrikaners moet aangeraak en voorberei word vir winde van verandering.

So – hier is ek en die ander wat saam met my in dieselfde bootjie is: moeg en gestres; maar passievol en hoopvol.

Mag die Demokratiese Alliansie meer duidelike kruisies op hom verenig as ooit vantevore – van helder denkendes wat ‘n ‘duidelike blou frokkie’ dra!

Die kwesbares... ons mag hulle nie in die steek laat nie

Die kwesbares… ons mag hulle nie in die steek laat nie

So where to from here, Barry Roux?

All the evidence thus far has been pretty damning. Pointing to intent. More witnesses will take the stand. Who knows where the egg dance of words and questions and answers and more questions will go…

Is it presumptuous or naive to hope (or wish?) for justice to prevail? In a more perfect world, where justice could enjoy its rightful amount of respect and regard, it would be pretty normal to expect just that of a court of law. However, holding your breath and having no idea of which way things can go, is rather the order of the day. Shrewd jurists go the ironic extra mile in their interrogations – appearing more often than not to lose sight of how imperative it is for justice to take its full course… A slip of the tongue by a nervous witness under severe pressure has the potential to swing an entire case – regardless of the facts. But who cares about facts? Are they not what is primarily withheld in a court of law?

Scenario: a tragedy occurs involving two role players. Enter more role players to assess the nature and extent thereof, to scrutinize and unravel – with a view to finding and providing sufficiently adequate puzzle pieces for an accurate and reliable reconstruction of the occurrence. Enter yet more role players – to deliberate; to argue for and against; to strive for the proof of innocence or guilt. The ultimate goal: to taste sweet victory – regardless?

The circumstantial evidence tells a story. Graphic, elaborate, gruesome and substantial. This is supplemented by more stories from the witness box. Not enough. Not good enough. We need to – no, we have to – know the intention that preceded and prompted the drama. The intent. Or the absence thereof. A psyche must be analysed. Someone must get inside the head of the accused. And the heart. The gut. Is this ever possible without the volunteered collaboration of the only reliable source?

FREE… to walk

How is it ultimately to be understood: an individual desperate for acquittal against all odds – sitting there day after day, listening… perhaps sometimes not listening… stressing… recalling… never sharing the simple but crucial information that would save weeks, months and millions? Just not divulging the truth. Is the freedom to walk really worth all of that?

Super ironically, the true best interest of the accused is most probably often denied and avoided in this lengthy, financially crippling process.

Serious issues, personality disorders, character flaws, psychological intricacies – all of which could be addressed and dealt with if the plot would unfold before court and the presiding judge as it really was – are brushed aside and removed from the equation despite the glare.

Depending on which way the pendulum swings, they could remain unchecked and we could see a free and miserable individual with burdens of baggage rejoining society. Unrehabilitated.