Category Archives: Friends

“It’s got nothing to do with the colour of your skin, and everything to do with the colour of your heart!”

I never imagined how hard this would be – I never imagined this day at all. I am here in your spot doing your work, talking to the customers you have always been here for, writing on the pages that are filled with your handwriting, sitting in your chair behind the desk…but today they find me standing here in your place! As I see the shock and sadness register on the faces of our clients who are hearing the sad news for the first time, I ache all over again, my throat constricts and I fight the tears… it’s so hard!

I was your teacher, I showed you the way, I taught you the ropes, I learned to trust you and you learned to trust me, and I saw a light of deep intelligence burning brightly behind your glittering eyes and in no time at all I could leave you with the big responsibility of looking after our family business and never worrying at all because you were so capable and you loved your work so much – and you were so damn good at it too!

You cut the apron strings so confidently and grew more sure of yourself every day … You told me not to worry and because I had other things to do – you gave me wings to fly. That was exactly four years ago and we have never, even for one second, had to doubt your ability – or your loyalty – and I also know deep in my soul how much you loved me, my friend.

But oh my heart is so heavy since our world changed in that moment last Saturday evening. Stunned, shocked and disbelieving our family was plunged into mourning when that phone rang to tell us the news that you had been in an accident… we were hearing words we didn’t want to hear – No! No! NO! It can’t be true… Make another call please will someone tell us it’s all been a big mistake and you are fine, you are watching a soccer match with your fiancé… but it is true my dear, dear friend, and you are gone forever…

 I want to rage at the world for allowing drunk drivers on the roads, I want to rage at the driver for being reckless – and a drunk, but he died too – I even want to rage at you for staying in a taxi when you realised the driver was drinking still – Why? The witnesses say he was speeding, there were beer bottles everywhere, he could not take the bend, lost control and at high speed went somersaulting through the air…they say the passengers never had a chance… When, when, when will there be an end to drunken drivers?

I am older than you – you called me “Ma”; I am your employer – but you never called me “Boss”! I shared your highs and lows, sadnesses and joys even as we so excitedly looked forward to your wedding day – You knew my heart too and would know from just looking into my eyes if it was well with me or not ; Some weeks when I was busy and travelling you would call saying, “ Ma, I just wanted to hear your voice, to know you are well!”

In this wounded country of ours where there is still too much focus on black and white hatred, we need to stop once in a while to simply appreciate the small corners of our homeland where there is love, respect and joy in friendships and partnerships which quietly build bridges across man-made divides… You are black and I am white but together we were forever true to our own motto: “It’s got nothing to do with the colour of your skin, and everything to do with the colour of your heart!”

 I will never forget you Sannie Mokwena!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

My online dictionary says to create implies ‘to bring something into existence’ or ‘to cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions’…. hmm? So many images flash through my brain from the knitted ponchos I am creating for the school children in the nearby village to my flower garden and my productive vegetable garden, to the opportunities we create from time to time for others to thrive and grow… ah, but the creation I am most madly proud of is MY FAMILY! I mean our extended family which we have consciously raised and enveloped with chords of love and respect and nurture and safety… let me explain:

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I come from an incredibly beautiful extended family and my world has always been filled by people who have loved me and made me feel loved and who earned my respect – just because of whom they are and the integrity with which they have lived out their lives. Furthermore, I have two amazing brothers who are both medical doctors.  One is an orthopaedic specialist, the other a specialist family practitioner who during the course of his studies learned more and more of the importance of family life. Many experts believe that an extended whole and healthy family enhances the sense of well being and security of the individual within that family and so it was that when he shared this philosophy, we all ( my husband, my 2 brothers and their wonderful wives as well as my parents) consciously embarked on a parenting process which included the extended family in as many “together-time” activities as possible

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– and I do not say this lightly as we have lived great distances apart but one way or another we have made sure the ‘family get-together’ happened. It meant flying twins from Scotland for a family holiday and fetching and carrying boisterous boys and girls to and fro on 7 hour journeys between my farm and the coast where the others live… (Sometimes there and back within 24 hours because of work commitments)- it meant brave grandparents hosting the large together-time group of cousins on their farm and tolerating raucousness and untidiness and water fights.

 

 

 

 

Once we had a heavy snowfall on their farm which was so very exciting for all the children and one crazy aunt (that would be moi!) – we hiked in that snow, had snowball fights in the snow and built our magnificent snowman… until we were soaking wet and there was no power to cook with, heat our water or wash and dry the grubby clothes, no television at first was a challenge until the card games became fiercely competitive and huge fun… we were burning fires and draping dripping garments on the fireguard, we were cooking indoors on gas and after 5 days our gallant granddad was finally able to chainsaw the last of the fallen trees blocking the road way and we made a happy escape to the warmer coast and descended en masse to the home of another aunt and uncle who we just knew would welcome us all…. 😉

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Because we have a rather large farmhouse my easy going hubby and I were most often host to the gang and amongst our happiest memories are those together-times with all the children filling our world, raiding the fridge and cookie jars, ‘helping’ make the meals, and as the years went by working just as hard as they were playing at peak seasons of planting and harvesting.  They swam, rode horses and drove the horse cart, rode motorbikes, built things, went on picnics, slept all night through on a huge haystack, learned to shoot the rats in the shed and built many campfires.

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A decision made by ourselves saw many years of togetherness – yes, they scrapped, yes, they are all so very different and now they are almost all grown up and choosing very diverse career paths but even to this day should ever any one of them need encouragement, comfort or advice they will turn to one or another:  brothers and cousins and sisters.. An incredibly strong invisible thread of love and respect wraps itself around them and although unseen, is strangely tangible and so many outsiders notice it and are awed by that which our children tend to take for granted, they think it’s ‘normal’… and just as I look upon each of those kids as my own, I know my brothers and their wives do too and I just know that together we have created something good because we have surely woven a warm and wonderful web called “family” through the lives of each of our youngsters! I sincerely hope and pray the young adults we now know will remember and continue the legacy CREATED for them and do so in the lives of their own families one day!