What a time to start a blog! Today began, for me, with a whole lot of worry. Two weeks ago, I had a horrible accident which resulted in a broken arm, bruised spine and a bit of concussion, so when the suggestions started to roll in for all South Africans to come together in unity and prayer for our country, my heart began a familiar yet treacherous beat. I’m a worrier of note and my first thoughts were of past protests when things went awry and, to put it mildly, all hell broke loose. I wanted to participate but feared having to run for it or fall on a spine and pelvis that were already extremely painful.
After the past few weeks of cabinet reshuffles, fluctuating exchange rates and calls for our president to step down, my first thought was that I wanted to stand up and be counted. Yes, I was born in another country, and yes, my parents decided that, from the age of six, this would be the place where I would grow up, fall in love, marry, have children and that this would eventually be the place I would end up loving with all of my being. This is my country and little did I know that one day, my heart would break for it.
So with trepidation I set out this morning to show that I too, cry for this beloved country. The fear and worry quickly turned to peace, as we arrived at the familiar patch of lawn near the well known landmark, Howick Falls. What we found were South Africans of every colour and creed, greeting us, singing Shosholoza, showing off homemade banners and freshly painted faces, taking selfies, sharing concerns and reassurances and just generally doing what locals do.
My aching back quickly forgotten, I dashed around aiming my lens at all and sundry and was greeted by happily posing groups and individuals all with a common goal. We sang our beautiful and very stirring anthem, listened to a speech by one of the opposition party members and held a minute of silence in which to ponder, pray and breathe in the gravity of the moment. As the gathering was not legal, with permission not having been granted by our local municipality, we were thanked for coming and exhorted to quietly disperse and make our way home, which we did, finally feeling that teensy bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, all will be okay.