Erasing the colonial and colonization out of Africa

What the future holds for South Africa is more poverty, more polarization between the haves and the have nots if our leaders in government aren’t younger and more or rather in touch with people from the rural countryside, and neighborhood communities at the grassroots level. The society that we live in today is dysfunctional to say the least.

Our parents’ society was pretty much formulaic. Get married, settle down, have children, and concentrate on your career and don’t concentrate too much on the madness of apartheid surrounding you.

Writers and poets write from the dysfunctional reality that we live in today. They are given the latitude to mock the conventional ways of the past.

Perhaps conventional is good even though it is no longer relevant.

Poverty is not going anywhere anytime soon. It forces children to grow up too soon. Is that what we want? Perhaps we are more in love than ever, than ever with our own sense of power, and status in society.

The problem about education that we see in the news today is really very simple. We have been divided over so many issues over the years from the promulgation of the Group Areas Act to the forced removals.

There was always going to be this, this lock-down on tertiary education, race, racism, faith, gender, class, and affirmative action (what and who) were not going to make the tips of those ‘icebergs’ go away any time soon. Blame something? Blaming the past yet again? Yes, I am going there again.

The South Africa that we live in today is a bittersweet victory. We are still at war with each other. We are still left searching. We are at the crossroads of searching for an identity.

The best thing we ever done was perhaps declare that we as South Africans live in a democratic country. We came by this by extraordinary sacrifice by men and women who died, who struggled, who suffered. What will we be doing for the rest of our lives? Blaming the people who the vote places in power. Well, I have news for you. It’s not the president.

It’s us. That’s what’s wrong with this country. Us. I am done with naming names and playing games. I leave that to the people in power.

The plans that I have for my own life are not aligned with theirs. I don’t have much money. I never had much money to begin with and my family was not in cahoots with the liberals. There was no inheritance.

That’s my just my opinion. Be the change that you want to see in the world. If you want to see transformation check yourself first.

We cannot forsake everything. Not when there has been so much sacrificed. I think if you want to strike a balance in your life right now, watch the news now with an inquiring gaze.

Those are real people and they are hurting. You will never be able to understand the measure of their loss, the cancer that apartheid was, ask yourself this, can you still relate to them. Of course you can, you are a part of humanity and I think that that is profound.

To me that kind of statement is profound.

Their language, and the fact that you might not speak the same language or understand their mother tongue does not mean that you can’t possibly relate.

We have all experienced loss and depression in our lives. Life comes with choices. You can choose to remain ambivalent, indifferent and aloof or to embrace what is real. To be part of the bridge over troubled water in South Africa. Don’t kid yourself too much about the media out there. They want you to think that the world is deep, dark and scary out there. Of course, it is dangerous but we are all a part of it. The question still remains do you prefer indoctrination or truth?

For a long time I have felt this internal and external struggle. As a writer and a poet or just a concerned citizen you will live with both until the end of your days but I think that goes without saying for mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers as well.

If you have ever lived in poverty you will have lived with this feeling of frustration and unrest. This feeling of ‘troubled water’.

We have all become sensitive to it instead of more detached. We all live side by side this feeling when we get up in the morning and it is the last thing on our mind when we go to sleep but the knowledge of ‘the bridge’, of humanity being a part of the bridge gives us hope. It must. It must.

We are colonized. In this most personal of spaces the time came for an African Renaissance. There has always been a jagged silence. A turning point. We live in a media world driven right now by the expression of gender equality where we want, need, desire bias and instant gratification. Themes of art and literature, poetry and human rights are daily becoming more significant, more important to us.

We are now preoccupied with the next generation. Young men and women hopeful, building and bridging the gap between man versus the African company of mayhem, chaos, poverty, misery, disorder, generally speaking a malaise.

To become decolonized we must erase the textbook history wilderness of our thoughts. The reality is that the rebel and the radical exists alongside post-apartheid experimental writing, and the relevant, the interesting, the inspirational, magical, lyrical imagination, the conservative, and as I have said before the textbook.

I think that now we are more or less consumed by the whirlwind of our observations. The understanding between the races, the class system, the tolerance and understanding of feminism, the gift of faith, and gender.

We have to understand the motivation of the self-imposed African exile. We have to view the perspective of the struggle, the legacy of South Africa, the liberation, apartheid, the forced removals, and the promulgation of the Group Areas Act. That is our manna. It should be our mantra.

Today in South Africa the solid ground of the reality is the fees must fall movement. Xenophobia. It is the dreams of violence crashing into a world filled with pain and insolence. We have to find a cure to the social disregard of humanity, the perpetuity of it all in Africa instead of looking to the West for solutions.

We do not see the rejection of what should be labeled as ‘convenient truth’. Are we still being indoctrinated literally and figuratively by the politics of ‘the colonial’?

I think that we are struggling with the premise of what living in the tumult of a democratic South Africa society truly means without any help. I think the people who change the way they think change the world. We have to do that. If the familiar is not making us happy, if it is the case of the pot calling the kettle black in the inept cabinet, change is in the air. Transformation too.

Distance will always lend enchantment to the view.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.