Guided Africa

A Love Letter Issue 3

14 October 2021

I was procrastinating as usual, and on my explore page, I saw a post about “what is for you won’t miss you”. 

I then posted a few slides on my Instagram stories saying why this line of thinking is bullshit to me, and that led me to write this Love Letter. 

Here is what I said:

I could unpack what I said in even more detail, but I won’t. That could be your homework for this edition. 

Instead, I want to address something that is a big sore point for me, and for many other people. 

Kushaywa edonsayo

isiZulu Proverb

This is an isiZulu proverb that basically speaks to the burden of awareness and effort. The ox that pulls the greatest weight, earns the most lashes from the whip. I’m sorry that this translation is clumsy, but it’s not my fault that English can be so bleh.

I know I am not the only one who feels like an ox pulling the yoke of consciousness, self-awareness, care and effort through the endless fields of growth and healing. And all the while, life is whipping the shit out of me.

I am not the only one whose life feels like a never-ending mountain climbing mission – except that every time you think you have reached the summit and you can finally rest, the universe and your ancestors burst out laughing and point out that you’re now at the base of the next mountain, and when you look up, you’re in the Himalayas. It’s snowing. And you’re barefoot. 

I keep realizing how much I have to continually face and overcome, just to do things I HAVE to do, in a life I didn’t ask for, and a life I have also prayed for. WTF. You know that little thing called complexity. Yeah, we didn’t ask to be here in this cruel world, but we are still working hard to stay here and make the best of it. 

I also keep realizing and having to accept how much I haven’t done and can’t do because of things that are beyond my control. I don’t only mean this in the Papa Pope pep-talk kind of way, which is definitely true. This is the pep-talk: here 

The burden of being aware that life can be unjust and unfair, but you have to persevere anyway. And the more you persevere, the more life piles on your shoulders. The more you grow, the more life challenges you to grow. Awoah. Bel die polisie

I have only one heart

personal Reflection

The only reason I am visible is that I am here doing the work of my ancestors, which I didn’t ask for or seek out, but I work to honour nonetheless. It’s a yoke on my shoulders, and a mountain to climb – in the best and worst ways.

This year, The Daily Maverick came for my name and my reputation, so I fought them, and won (link) , just like I won against The Sunday Tribune in 2010-2012 (link) when they lied on my name in a similar way. I will never get used to people lying on my name, and how much glee others take in spreading the malice, and adding their own spice.

I don’t believe that humiliation is necessary for our growth. I also don’t believe that there is always merit to being the bigger person, but if you are pulling the yoke of learning and healing, it is not always possible to rumble and gore like a wild, angry bull even if that’s how you feel. 

I accept that I have a responsibility towards my ancestors, as they do towards me. I know that my growth and resolution on earth bring growth and resolution to them where they are, and vice versa but sometimes I feel sad because I sometimes feel like I am pulling a yoke I didn’t ask for and getting whipped all the while. I know many of us feel this way about our lives, even if our circumstances are different.

I keep learning that I can’t control the world, no matter how self-aware I am, and no matter what I believe or know spiritually. I also can’t control the machinations, perceptions and actions of other people – even when all these things can have a direct influence on the quality of my life. 

I can only be who I am. I can only be true to my own heart, even when it hurts and is weighed down by uncertainty.

When I pray – I pray to accept what is within my sphere of influence and to do justice to the opportunities that are available to me, with what I have at my disposal. 

I have a responsibility to myself to process and release what weighs my heart down, and to fill it with what will fuel me – love, gratitude, grit and acceptance.  I only have one heart, and I will be damned if I break it more than it has already been broken. The devil is a liar.

Spiritual awareness and commitment to spiritual growth don’t exempt us from the messiness and pain of life. Spirituality is not a vending machine where we pay in meditation, rituals and prayers for material success, power and status. We aren’t even always guaranteed ease. That’s it.

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