Archive for January, 2007

I am an African by Wayne Visser

January 20, 2007

 

Rhinos- Uganda

I am an African
Not because I was born there
But because my heart beats with Africa’s
I am an African
Not because my skin is black
But because my mind is engaged by Africa
I am an African
Not because I live on its soil
But because my soul is at home in Africa

When Africa weeps for her children
My cheeks are stained with tears
When Africa honours her elders
My head is bowed in respect
When Africa mourns for her victims
My hands are joined in prayer
When Africa celebrates her triumphs
My feet are alive with dancing

I am an African
For her blue skies take my breath away
And my hope for the future is bright
I am an African
For her people greet me as family
And teach me the meaning of community
I am an African
For her wildness quenches my spirit
And brings me closer to the source of life

When the music of Africa beats in the wind
My blood pulses to its rhythm
And I become the essence of music
When the colours of Africa dazzle in the sun
My senses drink in its rainbow
And I become the palette of nature
When the stories of Africa echo round the fire
My feet walk in its pathways
And I become the footprints of history

I am an African
Because she is the cradle of our birth
And nurtures an ancient wisdom
I am an African
Because she lives in the world’s shadow
And bursts with a radiant luminosity
I am an African
Because she is the land of tomorrow
And I recognise her gifts as sacred

Apartheid. New South Africa. Reverse-Apartheid?

January 20, 2007

Soweto UprisingsSouth Africa- a great country. A country that has gone from one extreme to another within 10 years and somehow managed to avoid a civil war in the process.

Some may argue that there is infact a civil war going on. A war that has raged for years. A war between Black and White.

My knowledge of the apartheid area is very limited, something that I am not proud of as I should know, because of being a South African, about the history and the struggle of my country. Since my visit to the Apartheid Museum at the end of 2006 I have been fascinated by our countries colourful yet violent history. The Apartheid Museum you have to see. Its a heck of a lot to take in and best done in 2 seperate visits.

Black vs WhiteHaving visited the meseum it became abundantly clear to me that if I was 20-30 years older I sincerely know I would have been one of those men, armed to the teeth with full protective clothing sitting on top of the famous yellow Caspirs patrolling the streets of the townships “keeping order”. I can see it as clear as day. I can actually feel myself being there. I thank God that I was born when I was so that I did not have to get involved.

However, now there is still the obvious struggle in South Africa and the people of my generation- the children of Apartheid (who had nothing to do with it) have been left with dealing with the rehabilitation process of decades of black vs white hatred. The tensions are still there and are incredibly obvious. Why is this? Why 13 years later do we still hate eachother? Why in a country such as Uganda for example can black and white co-exist? When will SA follow suit? Will it ever?

Nelson MandelaBEE and affirmative action, land taxes, farm murders, corruption, quotas in sport, AIDS, lack of jobs for white males, land claims and evictions are all racially motivated in one way or another. South Africa finds its self in the obvious situation of reverse-apartheid, where whites are now disadvantaged. Yes not to the extent that it was implemented in the 70’s and 80’s but it is possibly crippling the country. SA, the beautiful country that it is, needs to take stock of where it is and realise that something needs to be done- NOW.

The Tony Yengeni circus is another case in point. He was sentanced to four years behind bars, but is already enjoying freedom after only serving four months. The message is loud and clear: if you want to be a celebrity, then do crime.

In SA we need to come to terms of the concept of tough love. We need to allow people to suffer the consequences of their actions, otherwise there will be no personal growth. This aplies equally to the children of our country in school and to corrupt private and public officials. Lienency feed lawlessness, and our country is in the twilight zone of lawlessness.

Last on my list of gripes is the is the entitlement mentality. Once, hard work was a virtue. Not anymore. Now people are rewarded for doing nothing. Black Economic Empowerment is a great example. Everyday South Africans are exposed to individuals who have miraculously, overnight, become billionares. These people are the role models to our youth. The youth can see that it is possible to be rich without creating anything of value to society. We have to think. Is South Africa really alive with possibility? Or is our republic alive with Zanufication?

On a very positive note. I have found a website. An incredibly positive website reporting the positive stories to come out of South Africa. Check out 50 facts about a remarkable nation It makes you feel proud to be South African.

ABOUT THIS WEBSITE: In South Africa, we’re sitting on the edge of greatness, but many of us know little of the progress that’s been achieved since 1994. Fewer still have a sense of what the future holds. This website will provide you with daily, weekly and archived news items to inform whatever interests you may have. Hopefully, if you know where we’ve come from and get a sense of where we’re heading, your confidence in South Africa will improve and you’ll want to describe what’s happening here positively…and with passion.

Every South African should feel proud. I am the worst culprit when it comes to talking negative about the government, land claims, sport etc. I need to change and so do the majority of South Africans- Black and White. To the guys out there who are making a massive effort to change- I salute you.

However this “Rainbow Nation” isnt as bright as we may think. The streets are mostly clean, road network is brilliant, tourism is booming, there are malls and shopping centres with everything imagineable, there are no army patrols, the economy is growing and is one of the strongest in Africa and things generally work comapred to the rest of the developing countries in Africa. But the crippling issue is that there is so much death, hatred and darkness interwoven in everday South African life and this needs to change and it will never change just by talking about it. We as a nation; Black, White, Coloured, Indian and everyone inbetween needs to act proactivly, together to make this beautiful country of ours work.

Wing’s over Africa- in a Trike!

January 16, 2007

ZU-BLB along the Waterberg EscarpmentThere is something magical that hapens to one when soaring through the air looking down at mother earth. The different visual perspective makes you look at things (life) with a different perspective. There are no taxies, traffic jams hijackings, there is just space, as much space as you want (well as much as the ATC will allow you to use!).

Flying Trikes- some may say a deckchair with an engine, is the basics of flying- moving ones weight around essentially to change the direction of the aircraft. Airspeed is judged by the wind in your face and height by the feeling you get when you look down! Having ostensibly nothing around you gives you a sense that ‘you’ are actually flying and not the aircraft.

My flying career is in its infancy stages and I dont get to fly as often as I would like due to certain obvious limiting factors, but it is something that I plan to carry on with until the day my heart can longer handle stalls or steep turns. There is something incredible when at around 6pm you climb to around 6000ft and watch the sun setting in the western horison behind the Northern Drakensberg, and once you realise that its getting a little dark down on the tiny piece of cleared earth you call a runway; you do a last radio call and then cut the engine…..and silence! Just the wind in your face and the sound of it passing over the fabric of the wings. You then glide down into the earths shadow, over a heard of browsing elephant and effortlessly put down the craft with little more than a bump and free-wheel back towards the hanger.

Now that is life! Thats how to de-stress, to think, plan, loose ones-self and to know that there is something/someone out there that gave us brains to fly.

The following poem sums this up perfectly. Its written by John Gillespie Magee Jr. I think he was a WWII pilot.

HIGH FLIGHT

Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I have climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds- and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of – weeled and soared and swung. High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,

I have chassed the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace.Where never lark, or eagle flew.

And while with silence, lifting mind I’ve trod the high windswept sanctity of space, Put my hand out, and touched the face of GOD.

Africa Time

January 14, 2007

Full Tusk Smiles!Africa- Mama Africa- as Kingsley Holgate calls this continent of ours; is an incredible place. She is inhabited by beautiful people- smiling people. People have stories that you and I can only imagine. African peoples lives seem so simple to ‘us’, so easy, so laid back. The reality is that the daily life of the typical African person is a struggle- a continious uphill struggle. There are no deadlines, not set dates or appointments, no structure and no time. The time is owned by Mama Africa herself.

I found this out the difficult way when I started up here in Uganda. For almost 4 months I tried to run the rhino re-introduction project like I would in first world South Africa for example. I worked late into the night- every night. Week days flowed into weekends and there was no off time. It was just work, work and more work. When I eventually came up for air I realised I was not getting anywhere. For all the effort I had put in there was not much to show for it! It made me realise that here, in a third world Africa, nobody cares whether you take one year or one month to do something; to achieve something. There is no rush.

I learned some valuable and costly lessons that could have been avoided if I had taken a step back and kept time with Africa time. It is a different world up here- a rat race but in a seriously different chaotic way!