In the thorns and the cross-hairs:
Ideals change, men change, so do politics and thence, perhaps most of all, people… people are the most fickle.
“I choose God before man” – Rev. Beyers Naude
People are complex, forever in a struggle to find out who we are, what we’re here for. And so now, in the modern quest for globalization – although it has been an idea for quite some time now, since the inception of colonialism – making the world one country, seeking integration, unity, solidarity, love and all that good stuff, in a world getting ever ‘smaller’ – are we not discarding ourselves? We constantly (without reward) seem to be seeking answers in each other.
I made an earlier post about heritage, and remembering where we all came from; to not discard our past and to preserve our culture, yet this means to oppose the concept on globalization on some level.
Of course a part of the concept of the global village is to accept each and all equally, flaws and imperfections included, and unite under the banner of humanity. However, as is very easy to surmise and gather when looking at the world today; things are becoming ever more superficial, run by capitalistic ideas and motives. Thankfully, certainly from my perspective, the larger portion of society is waking up to see that ideals are not as black and white as they assumed it was – there was never the simple ‘good guy bad guy’ complex in world politics – we were just led to side with certain nations over others, when in fact guilt can be laid equally on all sides.
Propaganda. Humanity. Opinion. Belief.
Strange hey? Although it is our differences that make us unique – through all the beauty – it is those same differences that has been the cause for so much conflict.
Many would support the idea of maintaining traditions – the good ones at least – to retain some notes of cultures from all corners of the globe, for it is that which weaves such a colorful and diverse tapestry.
As we move headlong and with gaining momentum into an uncertain future, we should always reflect, remember, pause and breathe new and perhaps better life into one of the few certainties of this life – our past. To briefly shed the complexities and distractions of today.
I had such a moment a few weeks back while visiting Freedom Park in Pretoria. The center piece of the park is the wall of names (S'khumbuto - meaning, among other things "place of remembrance") with all those who died in the eight major conflicts that shaped the nation, with particular emphasis on honoring those who died in the name of peace, human rights and the freedom and liberation of South Africa.
Those conflicts are:
- Pre-Colonial Wars
- Wars of Resistance
- The South African War
- World War I
- World War II
- Struggle for Liberation (against Apartheid)
In total, up until 1994, the nation of South Africa had been at war for over 500 years.
However, it’s not just about recognizing those souls, but also laying them to rest. Something which should be mimicked in every country, in some way, is the concept of Isivivane (derived from the word “viva” – in this instance carrying the meaning of “commitment to solidarity”, “unity of purpose” and “coming together”) – the place of healing and rest. This is the symbolic burial ground for all those who died. Isivivane is crucial to Freedom park, built to enhance awareness and inspire commemoration. Arriving at the site, one is required to remove your shoes as a sign of respect. This was also the site where a host of religious leaders held ceremonies and rituals to lay to rest those fallen heroes. No matter your belief, it is hard not to be moved by this experience which is concluded (after receiving an in depth explanation as to the relevance and meaning of the surrounds) by washing your hands and face in a rock pool of fresh water. Everything here holds some meaning; even the type of trees planted, and the method for entering and exiting (through separate pathways).
The actual burial ground – some would liken it to the tombstone of the site – is the ring of boulders. In addition to the two boulders denoting National government and the International community, there are 9 other boulders from the 9 provinces in South Africa, all with Historical significance.
For example, the boulder from the Limpopo province is from a site once ruled by one of the earliest kingdoms on the sub-continent who traded gold with India and Egypt. The boulder from the Western Cape is from the Table Mountain range – one of the oldest mountains in the world. The biggest rock is from Mpumalanga province, a piece of green Verdite from the recorded 3.5 million year old Barberton Green-stone belt (yes, one side of the rock really does have a green hue to it).
If you ever get the chance, I recommend visiting this rich place, to get away from our usual everyday ebb and flow.