On being hugged by a black guy

South Africa, the country of my birth. The only country, in fact, I have ever known. I have always been proudly South African; I love this place, truly, deeply and passionately. Sure it has it’s problems, but then again, as does all countries, hey?

Our land is filled with a multitude of races, religions, cultures and languages. We don’t have only “Africans” and “Caucasians”. We have Blacks, Whites and Colored natives. We also have Indians, Asians, and many more – we embrace them all. It is the multitude of languages (we have 11 National Languages), however that reduced me to tears this afternoon. Language and shame left me standing there at the side of the road next to a taxi with a young black chap embracing me.

Let me start at the beginning.

When I got to the taxi rank this afternoon, this young black guy, about 25 years old, was obviously upset and very animated in the way he expressed himself. This young man was the guard of one of the taxis. In case you don’t know, the taxis operate with a driver and a guard. The guard’s job is to collect fares and direct the driver to where he needs to stop. None of the taxis were prepared to drive out to the Bay for 4 passengers, as it already was too late. What upset him was the fact that they (the driver and him) were prepared to go, but they had to wait their turn. I was listening to him venting his frustration, in Afrikaans, at the rank master. After about 10 minutes of this (in which time 4 taxis had been loaded and left) the rank master caved and allowed them to jump the queue.

We loaded the taxi with a mix of passengers for different areas, the Bay being the last stop. En route I continually caught myself listening to the way he spoke Afrikaans. His pronunciation of words and grammar was exquisite, to say the least. He had this beautiful way to make the words roll of this tongue. I decided to compliment him on it when I got off. As the ride continued, he kept talking, and it got me thinking about the many languages of our country. I felt ashamed. How “proudly South African” am I if I can’t speak any of the other languages, other than my mother tongue (Afrikaans) or English? I have never attempted even to learn and traditionally African language. Does that not make me a hypocrite then?

My stop was the last on their route. I got out and this is how the conversation went (only it was in Afrikaans):

Me: Excuse me, I know you are in a hurry, but there is something I want to say to you.
Young Guard: Yes Ma’am?
M: I have always said that I am a proud South African, but today you made me hang my head in shame.
Confusion and shock washed over his face. I started to speak and could feel the emotion well up in my throat (I am very connected to emotion and it does not take much to drive me to tears)
YG: I don’t understand Ma’am
M: You speak Afrikaans with such love, so clearly, yet it is not your mother tongue. (At this point the tears started rolling). I claim to be proudly South African, yet I have never even tried to learn your language.

That is how language reduced me to tears, it left me standing at the side of the road next to a taxi. The next moment this you guy embraced me, softly patting me on the back. His parting words to me:

“Don’t worry Ma’am. I appreciate your kind words. We have a long way to go in this country yet. You will learn my language, of that I have no doubt. The fact that you can not speak my mother’s tongue does not make you any less my sister.”

South Africa, motherland, I love you and all God’s people.

Goodnight everyone.

A common thread – flash fiction

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the another, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

Not sure about this one.  I had to think and rethink.  It was quite challenging, as I kept linking the three stories together in some way.  Hopefully I got it right this time around!

000 WordWeb3

Image borrowed from http://www.freewebs.com

Part 1

Guests gathered at the tables and took a minute to take in the opulence of the venue.  Thick velvet drapes framed the pictures on the back wall, behind the bride’s table.  The sides of the canopy lifted to reveal flowing vineyards to the left and valleys of the Spanish countryside to the right.  It was a proud day for both families.  Their children have been life-long friends and today they are married.  The love is felt by all.  Wine will flow tonight; there is a celebration to be had.

Part 2

Clive sat down on the bed and looked around.  He couldn’t believe he had to go through with this.  Getting married at the age of 20 was not what he had in mind.  How did he let this happen?  Today he is getting married and in two months he will be a father.  Their families consider it the “honorable thing to do”.  Suzie was overjoyed by the all, but no-one seemed to care about his thoughts on the situation.  He cracks open a beer, trying to numb his mind before taking to the altar.

Part 3

They walked out the door, looked at each other and started to laugh.  For the foreseeable future they would be sharing a dorm room at the college.  No-one could separate them now.  Their parents were dead set against their relationship; wait till they heard that the magistrate just signed their Marriage certificate!


The GMO Test – how much does it effect me?


Image obtained from http://www.empowernetwork.com/someshdeswardt/blog/say-no-to-monsanto/

I have in the recent days wished that I never discovered GMO’s.  For years I lived unawares, as so many other consumers does.  Since I have became aware of GMO’s, however, it has been like the opening of Pandora’s box.  The realization that GMO’s are part of our lives every single day is a stark one.  It is quite literally in (nearly) everything we eat or drink.  We are effectively poisoning ourselves bite-by-bite and sip-by-sip.  I compare it to taking 1 ml of Arsenic per day for the rest of your life, sooner or later you will die a horrible death.  It may seem a bit drastic, but read on.

What are GMO’s?

Genetically Modified Organisms are organisms whose genetic material have been altered using genetic engineering techniques.  The main culprits are soy products, cotton, wheat and dairy products.  Read more here.

How did this journey start for me?

In recent months we have been hit with more and more reports of contaminated meat in South Africa: Goat and Water Buffalo being mixed with who knows what else and sold as beef, etc.  One day we bought mince at a butcher, which was on special.  After preparing it, following my normal recipe, I told Jacques that it just does not taste “normal”.  Within days the scandal hit newspapers and, to this day, I shudder to think what we actually ate that evening.  I made the decision to move to a vegetarian diet and turned to vegetables and soy products.  A friend told me to steer clear of the soy products and especially soy mince, as it was modified.  This made no sense to me and I started digging.  This the point where I realized that contaminated meat is the least of our worries.

The amount of information on GMO’s, both good and bad, is vast, and you are left to make up your own mind about it.  As you will no doubt pick up from this post, is that I have made up my mind about that GMO’s are the poison that is killing our world.

As can be expected, the “good points” about GMO’s are all distributed by companies who either produce them or benefit from them in some way or form.  These points are then backed up by very vague scientific results.  On this point, did you know that Food Technologists who work for these big companies have to sign secrecy and non-disclosure agreements.  Makes you think: what are they hiding if it is supposedly good for you?  This picture (taken in my beloved South Africa!) going around on Facebook also speaks a thousand words:


The bad points are much easier to come by and listed by companies, individuals and scientists – some of these are even food technologists who used to work for large corporations (read Monsanto).  Their facts are backed up with test results galore.  One argument which makes it clear to me is the following:

We all have to eat and drink, right?  Think back to when you were a child – you hardly ever heard of someone who had cancer.  Today cancer is as common place as the flu.  Why is that?

Bearing this in mind, go back and look at the statistics and scientific results freely available on the internet.

Moving ahead – GMO Free

no gmo

Image obtained from http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/04/12/how-to-join-the-no-to-gmos-movement/

The search for GMO Free products in SA is unfortunately not as easy as expected.  Labeling in SA is not yet compulsory and very few companies choose to label their products.  At most, you will find a very small “may contain traces of genetically modified organisms” or even worse “genetically enhanced for your benefit”.  The process have thus been arduous one, but I have come up with a (small) list of safe items.  One thing that I am still unclear on is instant coffee.  Any suggestions would be appreciated in this regard.

I came SevenPointFive who offers Live Blood and pH Analysis and had an idea.  What is the number one thing attacked by GMO’s?  Your red blood cells.  From there, the poison spreads to the rest of your body with deadly effects.  My idea:  Do the full analysis, then cut out GMO’s from my diet and redo the test in 30 days and again in 6 months.  Lauren at SevenPointFive is very excited about this and have offered to assist me with the process.  My appointment is for tomorrow afternoon and I can’t wait to start this process.  Here is what I will not be doing:

  • I will not be changing my vegetarian diet in any way other than to cut out anything which might contain GMO’s.
  • I will not stop smoking for the duration of the test (at least).
  • I will not change my exercise routine for the duration of the test.
  • I will not be adding any medication or supplements to my diet.

The result will be an interesting one and I will keep you posted.

Quick Tip: Three Steps for Perfect Proofing

The Daily Post

There’s a tedious but necessary final step before hitting “publish”: proofreading. If you’re anything like me, proofreading is the antithesis of writing, cruelly shunting you from an intuitive, creative flow to the much-less-fulfilling world of misplaced commas and accidental their/there/they’re confusion.

Still, it’s gotta be done; an error dulls the shine from the most sparkling prose, and even personal, stream-of-consciousness posts benefit from good copyediting. Try these three steps to become your own best editor:

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Top 20 Happiness Quotes

So glad to be a Happster! Here are some thoughts on happiness to take you through this day!

Best Happiness Quotes

Hi Happsters,

I hope you’re having an awesome day! I decided to pull together my favorite happiness quotes for this post. It was hard to choose just 20! Enjoy 🙂

1. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

2. “Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

3. “Three things in human life are important:  The first is to be kind.  The second is to be kind.  And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

4. “Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success.”  – Albert Zweiter

5. “Happiness is the secret to all beauty. There is no beauty without happiness.” – Christian Dior

6. “If you aren’t happy…

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