So, this morning I found myself tripping over my words and racking my brain trying to answer the probing, insightful questions posed to me by a friend who lives in Denmark in response to my story about white people and Ubuntu. She is British, has a Jamaican mom and a Scottish dad, and is married to an African American, and understandably struggles to understand this place I live in and blog about. I used words like culture and tradition and segregation and poverty, but none of them managed to encapsulate the layers of living that happen here – the energy or the feeling or the zeitgeist, if you will.
And it struck me what an immensely complicated place this is to encapsulate in words – how many levels of experience, ways of being and how much diversity there actually is, and while you can theorise and explain our sad, fractured history, none of these descriptions really do the country justice. Because, while it sounds hideous in black and white (and it was every part of that), somehow we rise above it. Then, as synchronicity works, my friend Faldelah sent me a video on Facebook, and once I had recovered from doing the ugly cry I thought, yes. This is it. This is South Africa in a nutshell, and the reason why so many of us can never, ever leave. Only watch this clip if (unlike me) you’re wearing waterproof mascara.