Monday, February 16, 2015

Fish on a bicycle

What is happening to this lovely land? Why are the masses still so ignorant after twenty years of democracy and why do they continue to vote for a corrupt and incompetent government? Why are ordinary citizens not holding the people who they voted for accountable for the mess this country is in? This week I wrote that trying to stay positive in this country is like a fish trying to ride a bicycle!

Many South Africans still haven't grasped the concept that the only money a government has is the money that we as tax paying citizens give them in income tax, sales tax, customs and excise duties and the money that profitable companies pay in tax. Its a well documented fact that only 5% of the SA population pay income tax which means that 95% don't.  There is a culture of non payment when it comes to services like electricity, water, rates and even school fees. What is the mentality of a person who believes these services should be free and where do they think the money comes from to supply free services? The mind boggles. It's not lack of education - it's ignorance and a weird sense of entitlement.

Grants continues to be handed out willy-nilly to unemployed single mothers but anyone with a brain must realise that it costs a lot more to keep a child than the amount of the grant and that the child's needs will escalate with age and the grant doesn't. Unemployment continues to rise and skills continue to decline and judging from the CVs and letters that land in my inbox, the standard of written English is at an all time low. There is still not enough being done for the vulnerable and disabled in our population because......there is no money because the grants are going to the wrong people.

Vast amounts of money are being paid in salaries and bonuses to inefficient management of state owned enterprises and there is no accountability.  Our labour legislation is cumbersome and exhausting to navigate and its pointless naming and shaming people who have no moral dignity. After all they can blame everything that goes wrong on apharteid and do at every opportunity and to top it all we have a President who thinks all of this is funny.

I used to be proud to live here but now I am embarrassed by the antics of politicians and deeply concerned for the future. I have a lifeline and am here by choice (for now) but I feel for the ordinary people here who are trying to make it work and have no option other than to use their vote - lets hope that they start to use it wisely if there is to be any future for anyone here. It really will be "Cry the Beloved Country."

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Whole hearted

Its nearly 7pm on a Sunday evening and I am in Bloemfontein here at Abiento enjoying an afternoon of R&R in a B&B.  Just when V and I get our act together and take time out so that I don't have to do the journey from Natal to PE alone, fate intervenes - well food poisoning or some horrid bug - and V had to fly back alone and leave me to recover and again I am en route solo. Very sensibly this time - I have coeme via Bloem!

I must say that the Free State is really beautiful and so is driving through the Karoo enjoying vast open spaces and wide open skies. A feast for the camera and if we had been together I am sure I would still have been taking photographs on the way (I limited my stops to garages as instructed while praying that the sky would be just as awesome next time I drive this road with my bodyguard).
Long journeys on straight flat roads also give you time to think and I thought how far I have come literally in two years! Two years ago today I was in church distraught at the thought of a life without my beloved - the future unthinkable and forty two years ago tomorrow 2 February 1995, I gave birth to the most perfect baby boy - beautiful beyond belief and unknown to us, destined to only spend twenty two years with us. I have survived both of these tragedies and today I reflected on that long road to Bloem, Where I would be and who I would be if neither of them had come into my life?
Interesting question and I am not the first to ask it "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1850 penned as a memorial to Arthur Henry Hallam and I am sure he was not the first to ponder this question,
 I hold it true, whate'er befall;

I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
So that was my reflection and unbelievably Cat Stevens came on the radio singing Father and Son  - truly a message that they have gone ahead but are with me on the road. My answer to that question was a resounding YES - even though grief is painful, it is the price we pay for love and to love madly, freely and deeply you have to risk loss. The alternative is to build a strong wall around your heart and live a life anaesthetised, bitter and what a tragedy that would be.
A thoughtless comment this week that I heard in response to hearing that someone had lost a child was, "At least they have other children." How can anyone think that you divide your heart up into sections like a cake and award it to those you love? Parents love all their children 100% it doesn't matter how many you have the pain is as deep as if you lost your everything.

Anyway I am here half way to my destination and not sure what tomorrow's drive (or reflection) will bring, but I know that everyone's journey is different - we are all here to learn lessons unique to us. Whatever the road may hold with its twists and turns, valleys and peaks, I know without a doubt that I will not only survive - I will thrive.......because I have faith, I am loved, and I love whole heartedly.