And sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.
[Trigger Warning: Suicide]
It has been exactly three years…
since one of my closest homies lost their fight to depression and committed suicide.
It is quite peculiar that on the morning of his burial anniversary I woke up missing him, quite terribly. I mourned him like it was the evening when I found out what happened. It hurt so much. It is in this moment, I realised… I have never fully dealt with his passing, I had never allowed myself to find closure and move on. I pretended like it didn’t happen. Every year since his passing, I would send him a Facebook inbox- as if he were still alive… And in every message, I would beg for his forgiveness, forgiveness for not hearing his plea for help.
I had just finished my exams and I was on the bus traveling back home; and as I was looking out the window, I caught a glimpse of a small township which was uncomfortably congested with tiny, one to two bedroomed homes. It is there that it dawned upon me: this is the reality of many black South Africans. With just a few years left to finish my degree, I was forced to ask myself, “How will I use my education to improve the lives of my black people?”
I am terrified that our society becoming highly westernized, and capitalist ideas taking precedence over our day to day interactions, is ultimately taking away from our fundamental nature as black people- “botho” or “ubuntu”. We are losing our human face and looking out for our own needs, while neglecting the needs of our fellow black brothers and sisters. We are drifting further away from the principle that our grandparents taught us, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” It seems as though that when we get to the top, we forget the townships and rural areas that we grew up in; we forget that someone had to sweat and bleed- sacrificing their own wellbeing so that we may get a good education and lead better lives than they did. It should not stop there, the fruits of our success should be shared with others. We need to go back to the communities that raised us up to become who we are today and sow back into them, so that they too can experience a better life. Read More
“None of us come to this earth to gain our worth; we brought it with us.” – Sheri L. Dew
I never thought a day would come when I, Katlego Llale would turn my back on God and Christianity. Being Christian has defined every aspect of my life. I only understood the world through it and nothing else informed my framework of understanding life and the world. I have almost always been known as: “that girl who loves God”, “that girl who is always talking about God and the Bible”, “that girl who hardly ever misses church”. Then one day, I no longer wanted to be defined by all of that…
For the longest time in my life, I struggled with my identity as an individual. My Christian religion was one of the biggest determinants of who and what I perceived myself as. But most of my life was lived trying to be something or someone, rather than freely allowing myself to be whoever I was meant to be in the present moment. A great deal of my life had been spent mourning who I was, rather than embracing all that I was. You know how some black people go through life hating their dark complexion? And some even end up going through some tedious skin-lightening processes? Read More
All I ever wanted was to be happy. I wanted to stop hurting. I was tired of always being broken down by life with no hopes of ever being whole. But as I became an adult, I soon realised the necessity of being beaten and broken down by life. I became aware of the great work the things we often label as ‘bad’ in life often achieve in and through us. I started to appreciate the person I have become as a result of all the agonising things I have had to endure through- stemming from my childhood right into adulthood.
But overtime, life had to make me understand as to why painful things often happen to us as individuals and I believe that if we were all to grasp this simple but yet defining lesson, we would begin to all fully embrace life with all its virtuousness and flaws, without miserably longing for one over the other.
Now, imagine yourself as a piece of desolate, arid uncultivated land…
A potential buyer who happens to be a farmer thoroughly surveys you and sees you as a great investment and envisions all the various crops that you would be able to bear on their behalf. The farmer decides to buy you and starts putting in some work on you. The first and primary thing that the farmer will do, would be to plough you through and through in preparation for the desired plantation. In this process, the farmer will often put to use a plough with a strong, thick blade to cut and pierce through you (the soil) and flip you around at 180 degrees so that the nutrient rich soil can be exposed and come on top.