Thursday, March 25, 2010

A journey of a thousand miles begins.......................

Three decades and four years ago, exactly on this day a woman from a small town of Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape gave birth to a son at Baragwanath Hospital. She gave the boy the Scottish name: Donald (after St. Donald of the Domnhall clan), meaning world ruler. Although initially she had intended to name him Dominic she eventually decided against that because her friend already had a son named Dominic.

On the very same day her husband was driving home from work and a drunk stumbled from the side of the road and fell onto the car. People rushed to see the 'accident' and a mob wanted to attack him for having 'knocked down' a pedestrian. Policemen who happened to be passing by saw the mob gathered and thought it might be a political rally. Moving in to disperse the crowd they managed to save the driver from a mob who wanted justice against a "reckless driver". A section of the crowd testified that the man fell onto the car and as luck would have it the drunken pedestrian woke up reeking of alcohol and when asked if he is fine he blurted out insults to the police and the driver. The white policeman at the scene looked at the driver and said "go home this is your lucky day".

Upon arriving home this woman's husband wanted to tell every one of what had just happened but he was told that he has just been blessed with a son. Since he already had two daughters, he said "indeed this is my lucky day". He intended to name his son Nhlanhla, which is Zulu for Luck and since there was already a boy named Nhlanhla in the family he decided otherwise and used his wife's language to name his son: Thamsanqa. Thus started the life of Donald Thamsanqa Malinga, the brown stranger, world ruler, a man who would remain a mystery to many and be an influential leader within his family.

I take pride in the couple that gave me life and raised me, I always say "Ngizalwa yinsizwa nentombi". The journey of life is so amazing, i never knew and the thought never crossed my mind that i will come to dislike the week I was born, why you ask. My dad's birthday is four days prior to mine (21 March) and my mom's is just a few hours from mine (26 March) and both are now resting in the company of family and spiritual elders.

I write this pain in my heart but at the same time with a feeling of joy. I am crying not because I have lost hope and all but because I am happy at the way my parents and everyone in my proximity have raised me. I am grateful that my dad saw me through it all in life and saw me getting married and I know he will tell mother that. I am grateful for my wife, who is the voice of reason in my life, my siblings (especially my sisters Lindiwe and Lindelwa and cousin brother Muzikayise). I am grateful at the friends and everyone in my network.

The thousand miles journey that began three decades and four years ago is still on track and I invite you to come with me. HERE'S TO THE NEXT THREE DECADES AND FOUR YEARS of trials and most importantly tribulations.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Are men really masters of their own fate?

In the movie TROY, war hero Achilles is seen talking to his men as they sail to the beaches of the legendary city of Troy. With his sword pointed towards the beach he is quoted as saying "out there is immortality, go and grab it!”. The talk Achilles gave is depicted as having motivated his men to invade the beaches of Troy ahead of thousands of other Greek warriors and soldiers, mind you these men were only a handful as compared to the Trojan soldiers standing guard by the seashore. The quest for immortality perhaps drove them into a 'possible' suicide mission but still as it were in the movie these men led to the capture of the seashore by the invading forces. Why this narration of the movie you may ask. Well I am trying to make sense of the adage that "men are masters of their own fate". My question here "are they really and when we talk of a man's fate what are we referring to?".

I am a citizen of a country that has just transcended into democracy after decades of segregation and oppression of by the other. With the advent of democracy it became apparent that man's fate was now on his hand rather than being legislated as it used. Just like in TROY, the movie, a whole lot of people saw the dawning of democracy as the opportune time to 'grab immortality'. By 'immortality' I mean the means of establishing oneself and creating a legacy for your progeny. This can be through finding a job; starting a business; spearheading public benefit initiatives or any other self worth initiatives.

In a quest for this 'immortality' men charged forth (and some just went forth). The barriers were said to be broken down and victory was certain for all those who dared charge forth for piece of 'immortality'. Now in a new found democracy, I have observed that the distinction between reality and make believe is too obscure or too narrow. I have observed men attaining opulence and rising to unparalleled heights and others living their dream and all the same I have observed some men being broken and shattered as they search for that illusive tender and others searching for jobs in vain whilst others suffer the frustration of being undermined at the workplaces. All this is happening as these men charge for 'immortality'.

Recently our country has been engulfed in flames as men take to the streets to cry foul of promised 'immortality' that they simply cannot achieve. This has led me to remember one of my favourite quotations come from the classical Julius Caesar, "the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings". As men are we really masters of our own fate. Does 'immortality', whatever you perceive it to be, depends on it being promised to you or you going out and grabbing it. If you go out to grab 'immortality' still, do you have to take into consideration that it is a jungle out there and the odds might be against you or do you just go bravely out and believe that you will come back with it?

I have always believed that the problem with our previous regime was thinking that people can be controlled via legislation e.g. Group Areas Act; Immorality Act and so forth. I believed that the present democratic government will suffer the same consequence through the various bills of legislation it passes year on year. However for men of this country to achieve this immortality maybe it is important that we have the Black Economic Empowerment Act; The Employment Equity Act; The Affirmative Action Act, maybe it is important that we have these.

In as much as men are masters of their universe and fate and 'immortality' is for us to grab. In as much as the fault might lie on us for being underlings, the playing fields are not level. We cannot blame and criticize those crying foul. We can only help them by making sure that the administrators of the punitive laws are of sound mind and are not self serving.

Now let's go out there and grab ourselves some 'immortality'.