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SOUTH AFRICA

the following comment by Lisa Woes-Hare Daniels ( https://www.facebook.com/lisa.is.bananas ) in response toZöya Tesner's status update (https://www.facebook.com/zoya.pon ): 

"Professor Jonathan Jansen: My South Africa is the working-class
man who called from the airport to return my wallet without
a cent missing.
It is the white woman who put all three of her domestic
worker's children through the school that her own child
attended. It is the politician in one of our rural provinces,
Mpumalanga, who returned his salary to the government as
a statement that standing with the poor had to be more than
words. It is the teacher who worked after school hours
every day during the strike to ensure her children did not
miss out on learning during the public sector stay-away.
My South Africa is the first-year university student in
Bloemfontein who took all the gifts she received for her
birthday and donated them, with the permission of the
givers, to a home for children in an Aids village. It is the
people hurt by racist acts who find it in their hearts to
publicly forgive the perpetrators. It is the group of farmers
in Paarl who started a top school for the children of farm
workers to ensure they got the best education possible
while their parents toiled in the vineyards. It is the farmer's
wife in Viljoenskroon who created an education and training
centre for the wives of farm labourers so that they could
gain the advanced skills required to operate accredited
early learning centres for their own and other children.
My South Africa is that little white boy at a decent school in
the Eastern Cape who decided to teach the black boys in the
community to play cricket, and to fit them all out with the
togs required to play the gentleman's game. It is the two
black street children in Durban, caught on camera, who put
their spare change into the condensed milk tin of the white
beggar. It is the Johannesburg pastor who opened up his
church as a place of shelter for illegal immigrants. It is the
Afrikaner woman from Boksburg who nailed the white guy
who shot and killed one of South Africa's greatest freedom
fighters outside his home.
My South Africa is the man who goes to prison for 27 years
and comes out embracing his captors, thereby releasing
them from their coming misery. It is the activist priest who
dives into a crowd of angry people to rescue a woman from
a sure necklacing. It is the former police chief who falls to
his knees to wash the feet of Mamelodi women whose sons
disappeared on his watch; it is the women who forgive him
in his act of contrition. It is the Cape Town university
psychologist who interviews Prime Evil in Pretoria Central
and comes away with emotional attachment, even empathy,
for the human being who did such terrible things under
apartheid.
My South Africa is the quiet, dignified, determined township
mother from Langa, Cape Town, who straightened her back
during the years of oppression and decided that her struggle
was to raise decent children, insist that they learn, and
ensure that they not succumb to bitterness or defeat in the
face of overwhelming odds. It is the two young girls who
walked 20km to school every day, even through their matric
years, and passed well enough to be accepted into
university studies. It is the student who takes on three jobs,
during the evenings and at weekends, to find ways of
paying for his university studies.
My South Africa is the teenager in a wheelchair who works
in townships serving the poor. It is the pastor of a
Kenilworth church, where his parishioners were
slaughtered, who visits the killers and asks them for
forgiveness that he was a beneficiary of apartheid. It is the
politician who resigns from her politics on conscientious
grounds, giving up status and salary because of objection in
principle to a social policy of her political party. It is the
young lawyer who decides to dedicate his life to
representing those who cannot afford to pay for legal
services.
My South Africa is not the angry, corrupt, violent country
whose deeds fill the front pages of newspapers and the lead
items on the seven o'clock news. It is the South Africa often
unseen yet powered by the remarkable lives of ordinary
people. It is the citizens who keep the country together
through millions of acts of daily kindness.
My South Africa is the people listed in the stories above.
They are real. I know them. They give me hope.

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Andrew Nayyar's curator insight, February 20, 2014 9:09 PM

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