Friday, 31 January 2014

On Creating a Legacy

This is an excerpt of a message a wrote to a good friend of mine on Facebook.  Hopefully we all might gain at least a granule of purpose from this text
As we grow up we are exposed to messages from all kinds of people and events that happen in our lives.  Those messages filter into our subconscious and we integrate many of those messages into our very soul, into who we are.  The messages form our beliefs and values.  In these messages we as Westerners are taught the ideals of hard work, independence, planning, goal-setting, logical thinking, conformism, one-track mindedness, capitalism and individualism.  Many of these are good values and will most certainly give you support in achieving whatever your heart desires.
But you know what they don't tell us?  You know what we only learn when we are ransacked by society and wonder about the meaning of life and our role in the great menagerie of life on earth, your heart starts wandering towards the idea of a legacy.  If you ever read through history or watch a historical movie you get hit by this question of legacy.  One day when my days are spent and I am ready to depart to the hereafter, what was the significance of my life to the lives of others?
For many people this question absolutely stumps them.  They then go on to completely avoid it and leave a conformist life and be a little cog in the economic machine that powers the current state of society.  Some are deeply moved by this question and go on a great adventure in search of truth, in search of answers.  Many of these adventurers might not ever find what they think they were looking for.  But then there are The Few.  The Few brave men and women who have come to find an answer to the question of Legacy.  They are the Ghandis, the Mandelas, the Joan de Arcs, the Jesus's, the Mohammeds and the Teslas.  They are also the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Kim Jong-Uns and the Satans of this world. 
My thinking of one's legacy is a very figurative one here above.  What is for certain is that certain things could possibly hold us back in creating our own legacy.  Comfort and fear are possibly the biggest enemies of our legacy, of our God-given potential.  If one's desires for a comfortable life or a life of avoiding fear, is greater than leaving a legacy then one has reason for concern.
So, most people would give you the verse from the New Testament (I think) that states "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you".  Usually people use it out of context, but it is applicable in this case.  You must first set out to seek and discover your reason for existence on Earth.  God is a good way to start because he will eventually direct you to why He wanted you on Earth.  When you have found that purpose without a shadow of a doubt, pursue it with all that you have.  As in any great adventure there will be dragons, magic, mountains, bandits and enemies.  Know that the process of seeking your purpose will not be easy. 
May your travels be fruitful and purposeful, my friends

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Art Saves

As a young boy in primary school about a decade or so ago, the class period I dreaded the most was probably Arts & Culture class, Literature came in a close second to that.  I remember telling a classmate of mine in Grade 2, "Literature is litter!"  All those years spent learning the language of music, which is the note, didn't resound all too well with me.  I only put in some effort to make sense of these other-worldly scribbles so that I may get my A.  Later on, we actually had to study a little bit of the history of art.  Ugh, I don't care about romanticism and impressionism, I just want to go outside and play some soccer!  Modern Art was obviously a target of much criticism and resentment.  I was all too relieved when the Arts and Culture curriculum ended in Grade 9 and I could choose different subjects to study for the rest of high school.  I didn't get the jest of Classical music at that time.  It seemed like squeaky music that pretentious, snobbish bastards would listen to.  As you could, see art in its purest forms was revolting to me.
Things changed in college when I had to take a music appreciation class in my first semester as a freshman.  Now I had to pretend to appreciate and care for this hunk of junk (as it was mostly Classical music) for a whole semester, as my commitment to get an A was still there.  We were required to listen to some symphonies from back in the day and attend at least 4 classical music concerts.  On cold January nights I would unwillingly pedal my bike along to the other side of campus over hill and through dales to slowly rack up my tally of concerts.  The blaring sound of the trumpet gradually evolved from an obnoxious blast to a soothing melody. The strings of the violin morphed from squeaky shrills to flowing honeydroplets that would feed the hunger pangs of the oppressed artist that abode in my being.  The former discomfort now moved me.  It shattered the chains that fettered my inner, starved romantic.  The joy of the symphony enveloped me in its gracious overtures.  A new world dawned upon me, previously darkened by narrow-mindedness and hate.
The powe of music spilled over to other areas of my life.  I realised that I was engaging in artistry all along.  I found out that I was not the entirely left brain person I thought I was.  My right brain had been driving me all along, it just liked taking the back seat and seeing the right brain have its moment in the sun.  By unlocking my inner artist, I also released the demons that lived inside of me.  I realised that I was lonely (hence The Lonelyman Diaries), I had few friends, I lived a one track life and that I was a very moral person, but with absolutely no grey areas.  In other words, I had no room for grace and mercy.  In the this great explosion I also truly came to terms with my muse - writing.  Through writing I have given the demons within me a place to run to.  Maybe even a place to escape from.
Every person in this life has an outlet or something or somewhere where they can express their innermost fears, hopes, desires and dreams.  Some find their solace in gazing at a starry night, some find serenity in worship of the Lord, others experience nirvana through the heartbeat of the universe - music.  My hope for this world is that all would discover their outlet, their joy, their passion.  I pray that we may get to spend as much time as possible within or "zones".  Even more so, I hope that each and every one of us would find a special someone (or two or three) to share in our muses.
For life was not made to lived alone, but to have koinonia with all people. 
Art saves, as it has saved me.
There lies happiness

Danksy Ons Vaders - Hoekom Geskiedenis Belangrik Is

Ek put baie genot daaruit om meer oor geskiedenis te leer.  Enige geskiedenis, rerig.  My gunsteling tydperk is egter vanaf die Neolitiese Rewolusie van omtrent 10 000 v.C. tot die val van die Westelike Romeinse reik in die jaar 476.  Sommige hou glad nie van vroeë geskiedenis nie, want hul glo dat dit glad nie van toepassing meer op ons vandag het nie.  Op sigself sou dit moeilik wees om nie saam te stem nie.  Ek meen as 'n mens net terugdink aan hoeveel die wêreld reeds sedert die 1950's verander het, is dit ondenkbaar om te peil hoe die wêreld in byna 2 000 jaar verander het.  Ons is heelwat anders as mense van die 1950's byvoorbeeld.  Minder preuts, meer liberaal, meer gekonnekteer deur wyse van die internet, ryker, beter opgevoed, langer lewensverwagtinge, meer berese, ens.  Die lys kan moontlik nie op hierdie blog pas, sou ek vlugtig moes opnoem hoeveel ons van die antieke kulture verskil nie.  Of sou dit nie pas nie?
Die heel eerste ding wat geskiedenis aan jou oordra is 'n meer oop gemoed en verstand.  Jy leer dat daar meer in die lewe is as om net voort te gaan en te jaag na die volgende sonopkoms.  Jy leer van hoe skynbare kranksinnige mans en vrouens op 'n skuit geklim het en 'n rigting ingeslaan het.  Daar was geen waarborge nie.  Jy mag dalk oor 4 maande wal slaan aan 'n landstuk wat vloei van edelstene en lekkernye of jy mag dalk deur die berugte meerminne of seerowers van kant gemaak word.  Dit is al te maklik om aan pionierende skeepvaarte te dink in moderne terme.  Ons kan gou Google Maps oopmaak en 'n goeie roete van Portugal na Indië karteer.  Ons kan navorsing doen van hoe ons baie reën langs die sentraal-Afrika kus sal ervaar en hoe ons moet wyk by die Kaap van Storms.  Ons sou satelliet selfone saamneem ingeval ons dalk gestrand word op Madagaskar.  Ons sou Google Translate kon saamneem om te vertaal wat die Indiese handelaars ons prober vertel.  Vir reisigers soos Da Gama en Dias was nie een van daardie dinge waar nie.  Hulle het net stories gehoor van die inwoners van lande soos Ethiopië en Mali van hoe daar lande suid van hulle lê, maar waar geen mens al heen gegaan het nie.  Hul het figuurlik blind by die Wes-Afrika kus afgeseil en gehoop hul sou nie by die kant van die wêreld afval nie!  Wat 'n sig was dit nie om by die Kaap aan te kom en Tafelberg en Valsbaai in hul natuurlike majestie te sien nie!  Dit is altyd vir my wonderlik om te dink hoe mense van ouds 'n kaal stuk land wat duisende kilometres weg van beskawing is kon sien en sê, "Hier gaan ek 'n nasie bou." 
Nie net het ons die groot reisigers te danke vir die wêreld wat ons vandag ken nie, maar ook ons vaders en moeders van regoor die spektrum van mensegeskiedenis.  Hiermee verwys ek meerendeels na die die wat hul lewens opgeoffer het vir die relatiewe gemak wat 'n gedeelte van ons kan ervaar.  In die tyd van die antieke Grieke was al politiese sisteem bekend aan hul monargie en militêre diktatorskappe.  Tydens die Goue Tydperk van die Grieke het vele denkers voortgekom wat ons tot vandag nog groot ag - Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Archimedes, Pythagoras, Ptolemy, ens.  Pericles was ook 'n groot denker asook 'n groot doener.  Dit kan geredeneer word dat hy die vader van demokrasie is soos ons dit vandag ken.  Dink terug in 'n wêreld waar mans met die grootste swaard  en meeste goud geregeer het, was daar 'n man met die waagmoed wat kon sê dat elke lid van die gemeenskap 'n sê kan hê in hoe hul regeer moet word.  Dit was waansin, maar die Ateners het die vroeë vorm van demokrasie aangeneem.  Soos geskiedenis neig om te verloop het hierdie nuwe idee nie sonder teenkanting gekom nie.  Die Ateners moes hul man staan teen hul eie broers van van die ander Griekse polisse (Stad-state) en later teen die magtigste ryk wat die wêreld nog tot op daardie stadium gesien het - die Persiese Ryk.  Danksy oorwinnings by slagte soos dié van Maraton en, hoewel dit nie 'n militêre oorwinning was nie, maar ideal-oorwinnings soos die by Thermopylae, het die idee van demokrasie die sward oorleef.  Die Romeine sou ook 'n vorm van demokrasie eersklaps aanvaar en later sou die Westerlike wêreld ook demokrasie aanvaar.  Ons het die bloed van ons Griekse vaders te danke dat ons vandag in lande kan woon waar ons (hoewel baie klein en soms weens ander euwels, nuttelose) 'n rol kan speel in hoe ons regeerders ons lei.  Ons hoef in vrees te lewe dat die koning more sy verstand gaan verloor en besluit om alle seuns onder 2 jaar te vermoor nie.  Ons kan in relatiewe vrede met mekaar en ons regeerders lewe.  Te min mense, in my opinie, is dankbaar vir die bloed van biljoene mans en vrouens wat eeue voor ons gelewe het, om die lewe wat ons vandag ken te verseker.
Mans en vrouens het hulself oortuig dat ideale soos vryheid, gelykheid, demokrasie, ens. die moeite werd is om voor te sterf.  Danksy dit wat hul in hul lewens vermergel het en die feit dat hul tot die dood getrou was aan hul ideale, kan ons vandag lewe met daardie ideale.  Ons aanvaar dit gans te veel as vanselfsprekend.  Nee, seun, ons kon nie altyd almal lees en skryf nie, ons kon nie altyd almal 3 etes 'n dag bekostig nie, ons kon nie almal 'n warm stort vang en daarna in 'n warm bed inklim nie.  Ons moes deur baie millennia van swaarkry gaan om te kom waar ons vandag is.
Baie van ons gaan sit nou op ons louere, want die lewe is lekker en ons hoef nie elke dag 6 ure te spandeer om hopelik kos vir die gesin bymekaar te maak nie.  Daar is egter steed biljoene mense in die wêreld van vandag wat nie deel het in dit waarvoor biljoene reeds hul lewens opgeoffer het nie.  Daar is werk.  Daar is lewens om aan te raak.  Daar is mense om glimlagte op hul gesigte te sit.  God alleen weet hoeveel biljoene se lewens nog opgeoffer moet word, voordat almal in die lewe kan deelhê soos ons dit vandag ken en of dit ooit gaan gebeur voor die mensdom se onafwendbare einde.  Dit sleutel is dat ons egter elke dag steeds moet voortbou op wat ons voorvaders gedoen het.
Miskien, net miskien, mag ons eendag terugkyk en sê: "Ons het dit gedoen!"

Inspirationless Ramblings and Whatever Crosses Me Mind

As a person who likes to write, the one thing you hate most is to write when you have no inspiration.  Having a paper due for school is a prime example.  I'm one of those people who writes right from the heart or more accurately the brain or more accurately, whatever electric impulses are generated in my prefrontal cortex and I deem fair to pen down.  Not really penning down things in this day and age.  Slammin' keys to hopefully assuage your overactive mind. 
Snippets, ah yes, snippets.  Sometimes I think of myself as a flashpoet.  Credits to the photo studio who came up with that name.  Applicable, I think, to writing, as well.  Too many commas in that sentence...  Basically you have short bursts of inspiration of maybe a few words or sentences long.  It's great to be a flashpoet on a microblog like Twitter or if you are a photographer apparently.  Translating that same passion, brilliance and inspiration onto a comparative megablog like this one poses quite the challenge. 
That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

F*ck Them All - Time For Some Controversy - Tirade Against Materialism and Narrow-Mindedness

Ya know, there's one thing in this world that I find hard to come to terms with.  From the day we are born we are told things.
Thank you Captain Obvious, more specific?
Finish high school, go to college, get married (for men, unless your woman is hot as hell, you've failed), work your way up in a corporation, buy a house, get 2.5 kids, tell your children the same things you were told from birth, retire and die.
Oh son, you must study engineering so that you can make $100k a year and buy a nice car.
Girl, you must become a nurse so that you can help people and get money for helping them.
Young man, you must scour the bars at your university and place of work until you find the woman who is most attractive and base a relationship, engagement and marriage solely on the fact that she is attractive.
Young woman, you may not have a say over your body and you must abide by the rules of a patriarchal society which were designed so that men may permanently have dominion over you.
Man, you must buy insurance, mindlessly spend hours in front of the television watching burly men wrestling over an egg-shaped ball and spill copious amounts of Superbowl advertised beer down your oesophagus and blame your broken family on things other than yourself.
Woman, you may never look beyond the kitchen stove or your children's mouths.
You will do this.  You will do that.  You need this.  You need that.
F*ck them all.
Stop believing the lies we are fed from our youth which over the plethora of time has nestled in our hearts as "normal".  Stop thinking that there is one way of life superior to another.  Stop mindlessly ploughing through another 9 hours at work thinking that this is good for my pension check.  Stop buying all the useless crap that beams from our tv sets, magazine covers, billboards, radios and newspapers.
You don't need the latest iPhone.  You don't need to drink a sixpack of Budweiser to find joy.  You don't need to drive the Mercedes your colleague drives.   You don't need to conform to the hetero-normative social expectations for relationships laid out by society.
The only things your physical body cannot survive without is water, food, sleep, urination, oxygen, defecation and some other smaller things.  If you have these things, you don't need anything more. 
Keep the above necessities and rather pursue the non-tangible, which can never be corrupted.
I dream of a world where every person gets to follow the calling of their hearts (as long as activities involving others are done with consent of all parties, including fauna and flora).  If filling up a bag with essentials and running towards wherever your feet takes you give you peace and brings you happiness, no one should look down upon you.
"Don't let anybody ever tell you you can't do something.  You've got a dream - you've gotta protect it."
Experience the joy and fullness of the planet we were given for free and go where the wind takes you.  You are the Captain of your soul and the master of your fate.  Don't let anybody force you into a certain way of life.  They will try and suppress the feelings of escape and rebellion in you by waving dollars in front of your face.  They will calm you by keeping you as deep in your comfort zone as possible.
Don't be fooled, my friends.  There is so much more to life than we are told from the start.  If there is one job for you out there, it is to find out what this life means to you.  Explore.  Adventure.  Take the leap of faith.  Drop it all and run.  You will discover greater treasure than any $100k a year job could ever bring you.
Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The "Kaapse Klopse", Cape Coloureds and Cape Town

So, my mother and I went to Cape Town yesterday to watch the "Kaapse Klopse" or as foreigners might know it - the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival.  Some people compare it to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but to be honest it isn't nearly as large or impressive.  I've never been to Carnival (I really hope to go one day), so I can't compare the two.  I can, however, tell you about what I saw and experienced yesterday.  I can tell you about our Coloured community.  I can tell you about Cape Town.

First and foremost I must talk about the term Coloured (or Colored, as our American friends would misspel it :) ).  In the South African census, which takes place every ten years and the most recent in 2011, you get 4 options in which you indicate your race or ethnicity - White, Black, Coloured or Indian/Asian.  It seems pretty limited right?  Some will obviously question the validity of the idea of categorising people according to physical characteristics, but that's a debate for another day. There are mainly historical/cultural reasons for the four choices.  Back in the Apartheid years, government decided to divide the populace into 4 main groups.  Whites, because they were of European descent.  Black, because they were the natives. Indians, because they were descendants of Indian immigrants in the late 1800's.  Coloureds, well... they were a little bit of everything.  Coloureds are as uniquely South Africa as braai on a Saturday or a Vuvuzela donned in a myriad of colours blaring in Orlando Stadium.  They cannot trace their ancestry to a single ethnicity in a faraway land, as, for example, most white Australians could.  They are the product of the confluence of peoples from all over the world who have gathered in Cape Town over the past 350 years.  If you thought pandas were special because they are white, black and Asian. Coloureds are all that and even more. 

The incredible diversity of these people is probably one of the most striking things of the Kaapse Klopse.  Over 60 000 people (mostly Coloureds) jam packed the old narrow streets of the Cape Town city centre.  There is a constant buzz, constant movement and you don't see the same thing twice (except Monster or YMCMB caps).  Children climb the barricades along the streets to better see the Minstrels passing by.  Old friends share a laugh.  Older women dressed in their Sunday best enjoy a wine in the January heat.  You turn your gaze to the flow of people behind you and the Coloureds's diversity is apparent.  A short man with mostly African features walks by.  A tall woman with distinctly Asian eyes passes.  A child with skin lighter than my own runs by.  Scientists say that African populations (East and West) have the most genetic diversity of any other population in the world.  I hope that they come to Cape Town one day and see that they were wrong all along! 
Not only are the people diverse the Minstrels passing by are colourful and sparkly.  Generally children as young a five would dance at the front of the troop.  The age of the Minstrel members increases as they pass by.  Towards the end of a group you would find men and woman slowly dancing along at the grand old ages of 80 and upward.  They've been dancing in the Klopse since they were five year old long before the Nazis shook the world. 

My mother and I left well before the real party started.  We were both left with warm feelings and a greater appreciation for our Coloured people.  The Klopse was a family day, yet they did not waiver for a moment to give my mother and I, not only non-family members but also white people, a seat and offer us sweets. 

Carnival might be far better orchestrated, more impressive and something more fitting to record on your iPad.  The Kaapse Klopse is, on the other hand, something you would rather have more of in your live - family, friends, love, hospitality and joy.

Want onse bruin mense ken van paartie!

Photo credits to my mother

Om te Baard vir 'n Jaar - My Ervaring

Ek gaan darem so af en toe ook Afrikaanse stukke skryf, die dat ek eintlik Afrikaans is.  'n Mens bereik net meer mense deur in Engels te skryf.  Afrikaans > Engels ek moet dit net noem!  Hierdie stuk is reeds byna 2 maande oud, maar dit was 'n groot ervaring in my lewe en ek wou dit graag hierso deel.  Die korter Engelse weergawe van hierdie stuk het 5 keer meer likes op Facebook gekry, al sien ek hierdie stuk eintlik as 'n beter weergawe van my ervaring.  Helaas, geniet dit. 

Vandag merk die dag wat ek uiteindelik die einde van my baard-reis bereik het! Vir 365 dae vanaf 25 November 2012 tot 25 November 2013 (dus het my baard ‘n volle omwenteling om die son voltooi!!) het ek my gesig...hare (baard en snor) geensins verkort of verwyder nie,. Dit was ‘n baie besonderse ervaring waaruit ek vele dinge wys geraak het. Ek deel dit met jul (brace yourselves, dit gaan lank wees)
So ja, die werklike rede waarom ek die baard-reis aangeneem het gaan ek ongelukkig nie in die openbaar openbaar nie. Ek kan wel met jul die ander redes, die ervaringe, die positiewe en die struikelinge vertel van ’n jaar wat my lewenslank sal bybly. So, ons as Afrikaners en Suid-Afrikaners lewe in ‘n kultuur waarin jou voorkoms vir die gemiddelde mens iets belangrik is. En wanneer ek sê voorkoms dan bedoel ek goeie voorkoms. En wanneer ek sê goeie voorkoms dan bedoel ek “jy jongman/vrou sal in hierdie klein boksie inpas van wat ons kultuur as ‘netjies’ en ‘aanvaarbaar’ beskou en as jy hiervan afwyk is jy erger as ‘n heiden”. Na gelang van ons mense se definisie van voorkoms het ek verseker die kluts kwyt geraak. By Interskole het stringe mense my aangekyk asof ek sopas uit die grot geklim het. Jong kinders sou met ‘n mengsel van verwondering en vrees opkyk na my as ek verby stap. Ooms en Tannies sou dan die verbysterede kinders bietjie nader aan hul en bietjie verder van my wegtrek en met ‘n eenvoudige handgebaar hul kinders se aandag van my af probeer kry. Ek was Moses, Noag, Jesus, pedofiel, Zeus, ens. genoem. Dis mal om te dink dat ‘n mens Jesus en pedofiel in dieselfde sin sou saamsien, maar dit was nou ek gewees vanjaar! As ek langs ‘n vreemdeling op ‘n bankie in ‘n winkelsentrum gaan sit, het ek met die kant van my oog gesien hou hulle hul besittings bietjie stywer vashou. Dieselfde het gegeld vir wanneer ek verby tannies sou stap en ek sien hoe hul hul handsakke stywer vasklou. Ek het toegekyk hoe mense staar, fluister en onderhands dinge vir mekaar sê oor my. Dit is nodig om te sê dat ek al die bogenoemde aksies en reaksies ervaar het aan beide kante van die Atlantiese Oseaan, maar ‘n lekseltjie meer in ons geliefde Suid-Afrika.
Inderdaad het die mensdom se slegte kant – die veroodeling, die onverdraagsaamheid, die oppervlakkigheid – bietjie die jaar ontsier. Die goeie nuus is egter dat die goeie, die mooi wat ek vanjaar gesien het, is wat my sal bybly. Nadat die gesigshare jou ken, jou wange en jou wangbeenlyn begin te verdoesel sodat dit die wollerige, onduidelike grens van jou gesig vorm, dan begin jy juis die veroordeling te ervaar. So, dit is juis van hierdie punt af waar jy ook die deugde in die mens kan sien, want almal sien die grotman, maar net die sterkstes onder ons gee ‘n kans vir die wese wat agter die keratienlaag skuil. In die jaar het ek geleer wie werklik nie oppervlakkig is nie. In die jaar het ek geleer watter mense het die Jesusliefde van liefde met totale verdraagsaamheid werklik uitgeleef. In die jaar het geleer dat daar nog wel hoop vir ons mensdom is. Al wens ons hoe hard dat ons “die goeie ou dae” weer mag ervaar, moet ons besef dat hul verby is. Die lewe beweeg. Die lewe gaan aan. Die lewe en die wêreld amalgameer teen ‘n vinniger pas as wat dit nog ooit verander het. Vroue kan stem, swart mense het gelyke regte as wit mense, homoseksuele paartjies mag met mekaar in ‘n huwelik staan. Ons kan nie so aanhou om te beoordeel op grond van dit wat ons sien nie. Ek is so Afrikaner soos wat ‘n mens kan wees, maar selfs my eie landgenote het my somtyds verstoot. Ek skryf nie hierdie om die Afrikaner of die mensdom af te breek nie, maar ek skryf dit sodat ons kan leer en besef dat daar meer aan die lewe is as om mense te verstoot, mense te na te kom of om onverdraagsaam te wees op grond van voorkoms, ras, geslag, geloof, nasionaliteit, ens. Ons moet liewer onsself vermoei met die voorkoms van ons naaste se hart. Ken my naaste dit wat liefde werklik beteken? Ken my naaste werklik die waarde van droom en hard werk? Ken my naaste die waarde van dink vir hulself? Kom ons vergeet van al die oppervlakkige strooi en rig liewer ons veroordeling op karakter, as ons nou die dag moet beoordeel.
Ja, oukei ek maak altyd ‘n berg van ‘n molshoop - dit is seker ook net ek wat al die bogenoemde kan kwytraak na ‘n jaar se vryheid! Ek wil een ding doen en dit is om elke jong man (miskien selfs die jong vroue ook, hmmm?) daar buite aan te moedig om iets soortgelyk aan te pak in hul lewe. Jy leer die mens ken, jy leer vir God ken en jy leer ken jouself. En die beste van als? Jy sien wie jou werklike vriende is – die wie verder as die vel kyk.
Maar nou’t ek weer gaan konformeer na die die gemeeskap-standaard van baardloos wees, ai dit blyk amper of ek ‘n huigelaar is...
Hoe dit ook al sy, vrede vir jou, leser!


The Beard's Last Stand - Living a Year With a Beard

So, most people that know me in real life or have as a friend on Facebook would've seen the following on my Facebook wall a few months ago.  I decided that I have to share the story on this blog as well in English and Afrikaans.

So, for those of you don’t know, today marks the day that my facial hair has made a complete revolution around the sun! Indeed, from 25 November 2012 to 25 November 2013 I set out to not shorten or amalgamate my hair in any way shape or form (except for combing!). Well chaps, I didn’t! So, being the overly analytical person that I am I want to briefly share some thoughts, experiences and challenges I faced in my year of bearding.
I will not publicly disclose (and don’t come ask me!) the true reason for why I did what I did, but everything else is fair game. Right so, judgmentalism sucks. Both home and abroad I had to face up to this vice of the human nature. Do you know what it feels like when old ladies clutch their purses tighter when you walk by or when baffled children are escorted away from me by concerned parents or when people stare? Yes, some of you probably know this feeling. Some of you know what it feels like to be judged on your appearance. Heck, everybody knows that feeling! But this year I put myself even more strongly into the spotlight of the human judgement. I have learned we as humans still have a loooooooooooooong way to go before we can shake judgment based on appearance off for good. Then again, will we really ever be able to do that? Realistically no, but I am an idealist and an optimist. I therefore set myself unattainably high ideals and strive for ideas and beliefs that would seem to the rational person totally whack. But hey, I like striving for the eternal, the shiny, the hopeful, the future instead of being satisfied with the present because “that’s the way it is”. I know we can shake it off, but it’ll take generations and many failures. Success only lies beyond a seemingly endless series of failures, defeats and hardships. Sachin Tendulkar once said, “It doesn’t matter if you fail when following the right path”. It’s the essence of idealism.
In my bearding adventures I also got to see the truly virtuous and magnanimous characters of some people, who didn’t beat an eye when they saw my mane, but rather searched for the character and the heart of this scruffy fellow. There are too many to name individually, but thank you all. I dream of a world where there are more people like you. You guys know who you are – everyone that treated me well in spite of being as hairy as a hobbit’s foot! My Lord doth shine upon you this day!
And now as I return to the city streets as an unbearded manboy, yet still barefoot and still unique, I carry with me an even greater understanding of the human soul, of the power of God and also my own self. My brothers, (whether you are in the dorm right next to me or sheltering from the cold in Sweden) I really do hope each of you can endeavour something similar to what I did. Yes, my ladies should also find a great frivolous personal project for yourselves in the years that lie ahead. It’s for the ages. It’s magical. It’s wondrous. It’s perfect.
Do not fret, do not fear, just keep calm and take the leap of faith.
Peace be unto thee, my fellow interwebs adventurer!


Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Year's Revolution... I mean, Resolution

Just kidding, I meant revolution

It's a particularly interesting time of year.  Your favourite jogging route is suddenly filled with a tad more bodies than normally, some chap is doing bicep curls in the squatrack and you can't help but notice the confused faces at the adductor machines. 
Ha, this is just on your way and inside the gym.

New Years is obviously a particularly fun time.  South of lake Victoria we get to enjoy summer over the Christmas and New Years festive period.  (If you listen carefully you can smell the envy of summer loving Northern Hemisphere peoples)  The green monster aside though, going to the beach, catching some waves, people watching at the beach (for us men, a certain kind of people watching) and lazing in the sun is great.  Recharging the batteries for an exciting year that lies ahead.  Ah, all the places I'll visit, the people I'll meet, the things I'll do.

But I just can't help the feeeeeeeeeliiin'

After some Radiohead strikes you, you think about the year that has passed.  You think about all the stupid things you've said, the hearts you broke and the missteps you've made.  In one great flurry you're suddenly enveloped in an existential crisis.  Dang, I am such a mess.  What worth has my life.  You remember the morning's news and of how children in Angola can't even play football outside, because one misstep and they'll make Frank Sinatra's wish come true - Fly me to the Moon.  Mothers in Pakistan live in fear every moment, because little Mohammed's next six runs might trigger an IED.  You can only imagine the oppression people in North Korea must face, not to mention.  So many millions of our fathers and mothers have had to die for liberty.  Then comes a nation like North Korea and disrespects the blood of our ancestors.  Oi vey, Lord help us.

You know what is worse than the above paragraph?
We, the children of the comparatively free world, turn our ears away and harden our hearts from the outcry from our cousins yonder the comfort of our air-conditioned rooms.  We willingly let mega corporations brainwash us into believing that another iPhone is all we need.  We let the corporations assuage us with reality television - coming up next another episode of a vain, shallow person falling further into the mire of ignorance. 
I'm not saying all tv is bad, but when six corporations owns everything on American television - you need to wonder.

If our world is to truly self-actualise, I think we could start by turning off our televisions and social media alerts maybe just one day a week. 
Get connected with nature again, look up to the starry night and behold God's Great Dancefloor.
Is it not amazing to have these things?  Yeah, they're totally free.
People elsewhere are stripped even these freedoms.
We should not accept that.

May 2014 bring a revolution of the mind for we the children of the free world.

Peace, Hope, Faith, Love, Empathy

Diamond in the Rough

Finding my Way in the Crowded Marketplace

Why, Hello!
How did you end up here? 
Ahw, I'm sorry to hear that.  I can tell you one thing though, I'll be right here with you.  What if I said that we can talk about anything you'd like, hmm?
Okay, sounds like a plan.  We'll talk whenever you want to about whatever you want to.  Nothing should be off the table right?  Lest I cannot assure you that I am truly with you.
I'll be waiting for your reply
Peace be unto thee