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My Jobless Life

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We aren’t we

There is a pain that goes with defying your limitations; and I don’t mean just a mental or emotional un-comfortability. There is actual physical pain in breaking away from who you have been trained to be and becoming who you are. I remember many nights just writhing in bed in bodily pain because my mind and my spirit rebelled against a life that was too small, too depressing and too stupid for me to continue with.
My eyes hurt when I saw people going to work every morning. The fear and anxiousness about going to a place they hate, being late, and leaving their children while still not having enough money to live comfortably is such an ugly site. I wanted to cry for myself as much for them. I despised everything that is establishment and order and authority imposed on me from outside. The life of an ordinary person was despicable and I wanted nothing to do with it.
Every night a voice came to speak to me, it said: “What the hell are you thinking? What are you going to do with your life if you are not employed? Where have you ever seen anyone getting anywhere in life without a good job and a solid income?” It made so much sense, it sounded so true, it seemed so right; but all that wasn’t for me any longer. So I had to kill that voice and the act of killing it is like going to hell. That is how I experienced it. It’s like being burnt from the inside out. Night after night I squirmed and scorched in the darkness. All I had to do for some relief was to say to the voice, “I give up, you’re right.” But I couldn’t. I didn’t know what waited for me beyond ordinary life, I didn’t know where I was going, I only knew I couldn’t stay where I was.
I was a loafer, a slacker, a weight on the shoulders of society, I was worthless in comparison to all the hard-working folk who gave up their lives to make a living. I abandoned my fellow human beings to the security of mediocrity.
During the day the voice screamed desperately for me to start acting sensible. It painted pictures of lack and deprivation that unsettled me but never scared me enough to make me change my mind. What I became fearful of was wearing cheap shoes and poorly made clothing bought on credit. I became fearful of fast food bought on pay-day to compensate for the week of meager meals that went before. I was scared of fancy cars with huge re-payments and tiny re-sell values. Huge televisions and satellite subscriptions, cell-phone contracts, church tithes, weekends out, hair-do’s, nail jobs; it all scared me. Problems, gossip, friendships, politics, religion, education – I couldn’t bring myself to care about any longer. Not caring was painful, it felt wrong, it felt dangerous. I had to pay to free my mind from all the limitations I accepted. I paid dearly.
I’m still on a journey to find out what life really can be like when you are free to make up your own rules. Every now and then I come across yet another limitation to break free of and have to stand in the fire again. It doesn’t hurt as much now as it did then, but hurt it does. I now see life very differently. I don’t feel bound by societal norms, I don’t feel bound by expectation, I don’t feel bound by rules made for the sake of making rules, I don’t even feel bound or fearful of the law or law enforcement institutions. I feel however the weight of carrying myself and that is a much greater responsibility than complying with the rules of ordinary life. The world is filled with restrictions and boundaries but from where I stand now it seems to me that these things are completely powerless. They are more mental and emotional than actual. They are imposed through a threat of loss of approval and fear of violence or persecution. And we accept them without question, empower them without resistance and then tell each other that life would be better without those who oppress us.
The truth is that we love our chains, it’s the perfect out from having to challenge ourselves. It’s easier to profess high ideals than to live them and a restrictive society gives us every opportunity to shirk the opportunity to be who we say we are. The truth is that maybe 1 in 100,000 people will break away from the rules that we all say make our lives pointless, miserable and difficult. The truth is that we don’t even realise that breaking the chains is a real option.
Ordinary life is still ugly to me. Ordinary conversations hurt my ears, I don’t participate in them. Ordinary people depress me, I do my best to avoid them. Ordinary things leave me unmoved, I stare at them and see nothing. Ordinary problems are stupid to me, it is insignificant things people stress about through lack of knowledge and power.
I don’t do anything extraordinary with my life, except live it; which to the average person is something extraordinary. The point of my pointless life is for this pinprick of awareness, a nothing in the greater scheme of things, to face an unlimited world fearlessly and curiously with an intense desire to know and understand as much of it as my being can handle. I eat food, drink water and breathe air, but I do it with no illusion of there being a point to all of it, the doing is the reason for the doing. It’s audacious, arrogant and highly presumptuous that this tiny grain of nothingness, called myself, dares to want to make a life that flips the bird at all good definitions of a good life.
There is no great reward for following all the rules. There is no golden star for getting the most approval. There is no sense in living in misery with a hope of rest and salvation in a nebulous state that follows your death. There is a chance to live a life that makes you happy now. There is a world of beauty, splendour and abundance, peace and joy hidden in plain sight. We walk right past it every day because we’re too busy following the rules. We can never be free because we want to win; win at a game that’s set up to ensure we always lose. We can never be the one calling the shots because we don’t want to carry the responsibility that goes with it, so we have to be the one who bends the knee. We can’t be unique because we have to be on trend. We can’t be independent because the price of approval is conformity.
We can’t be, because we aren’t we.

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Humans of the future

It’s a given that humanity will always grow and discover more over time. The general leaning is apparently that we will grow and discover more technologically, scientifically and even physiologically, but it doesn’t seem to me as if we apply that same thinking to our growth as people. The same humanitarian efforts, fund raising and establishment of organisations that are supposed to uplift humanity fall flat and seem to be less effective as we progress on our journey.
Are we still actively exploring what makes a human being tick or are happy with the definitions and understandings that we have come to thus far? It seems to me that what Freud and Jung and others of their time have been replaced by drugs that are meant to medicate us into being a certain way. We don’t pursue the understanding and knowledge of what we are with the same zeal as we do with things external to ourselves. Our understanding of our human nature and its challenges now lag centuries behind where we are technologically and even medically. We don’t understand these entities whom we are making smarter machines, better medicines, newer information for; no wonder these entities don’t become any happier or any more advanced by things that are meant to make them so.
To me there always seems to be one fatal error futuristic people make, ignoring the force of our inclination to be human. Humanity is an intangible thing, like instinct and emotions. We know it is there but you can’t bottle it and sell it at the shops, and because of that fact our materialistic society has been trained to ignore or downplay it existence and significance.

buck rogers
I remember as a young girl watching programs like Star Trek and Buck Rogers that were all about how life would be in the future. I don’t remember the people on Star Trek ever sitting down to a meal, sleeping under nice soft blankets, playing with children or animals, chatting with each other or doing anything that was just too human to be exciting. I remember warp speed, being beamed from here to there, the crew meeting strange creatures and I especially remember Mr. Spock’s ears. I remember Buck Rogers doing some amazing things, but he never went home to just relax and see his family or friends like my father did. I remember movies or episodes of these space/future programes showing how we would pop a pill and all our nutritional needs would be met for a long period of time. I remember the holo-deck where you could go to any place or time you like, but everyone always went into the holo-deck alone. No shared experiences.
Today we have technology that makes Star Trek and Buck Rogers look ridiculously crude. The machines that we use in our daily lives are mind-blowing and I think only the really dull of mind fail to marvel at it. For us the marvelous has become common-place, and behind it all the human condition persists. Technological advances has not affected us as much as we thought it would. We still eat and we love food as much as we ever did. No pill is going to replace the awesome feel, smell and taste of food and I never foresee a time when it will. We still laugh, act silly and do stupid things, no matter how much we discover that is supposed to make us smarter or how easily accessible that information is. We will never become cold and technical creatures who only look at the facts and act rationally and sensibly. We enjoy our stupidity too much. We even employ people to create laughable situations when none occur naturally. Some of these people are called comedians, others are called politicians. We like silliness. No matter how wonderful a holo-deck there is, nothing will beat the experience of actually being there. We all see from a different perspective, our eyes are drawn to different things, we each remember our experiences our own way and having someone we care about sharing those experiences make them all the more vivid.
We understand so little about ourselves and I wonder why we are so disinterested or maybe distracted from doing research and development of the human entity to the extent that we focus on other areas. Is it because humanity cannot be quantified and broken down to a specific formula like mathematics, science and electronics? Maybe there is a formula or a system to humanity that we can find and use for our betterment but we haven’t been looking for it. Maybe there isn’t a formula and it is just chaos and random action, but who better to understand the chaos and randomness of being human than another human being?
Are we always going to react the way we do to the same situations? Will we always disappoint ourselves and fall short of our intentions? Will we always assume the worst about ourselves and be surprised when one of us perform a noble and caring act? Will we always need laws and rules and restrictions to protect ourselves from each other? Will we keep clinging to the definitions of humanity and how to manage it when those definitions have proven ineffective over and over again?
In one of my favourite movies, The Matrix, the machines that have taken over the world have managed to figure out what it is that would keep humanity happy enough for them to get the required amount of electricity from each in their vast human farms. Too idyllic a life and the human mind revolts, too hard a life with too little reward and the human turns on a kind of kill-switch in their body. A balance between sorrow and joy, and you get optimum performance. The film may also just be another flight of fantasy, but it holds up the hope of getting the optimum human formula right someday. The machines in the movie did it through trial and error before getting the perfect balance. We have millions of years of trials and errors, it’s about time we get down to synthesizing the right formula from all our experiments.
The technology and true science we need to expand on is that of being human. The concept excites me and it’s one of the things that keeps me hopeful about humanity, that somewhere in-between our silliness, eating, fighting, sleeping, chatting, working, loving we will stumble upon a clue and that clue will take us forward in leaps and bounds.
Who better to put a formula to the chaotic mess we are than our very human selves?

Black Souls in White Skins?

steve bikoThis is a title borrowed from Steve Biko, the father of black consciousness. In his piece he questions the assumptions white liberals made when dealing with black students in the organisations he was involved in those dry, hopeless, repressed and downright crazy years of apartheid in the 70’s. And in it he raises the question that always begs an answer in my mind as well. Is there something so inherently wrong with being black that we need white people to rectify us, civilise us, and educate us to be like them?

Many white people will tell you that they suffer discrimination too, and I can honestly say that when a black person hears that we think: Bullshit!

Such a statement goes out from the premise that a white person has any idea of the non-stop barrage of negative assumptions black people live under. It also says, in a very subtle way, that every time a person is judged as inferior or ostracised they are degraded to the level of a black person. Blackness being naturally inferior and deserving of ostracism.

I am always very wary of non-blacks trying to fight causes on behalf of black people. I treat them in a very circumspect way and never quite respond to their rah-rah bullshit about how badly black people are being treated. At the end of the day they go back to their big houses in the suburbs, with 2-3 cars, pools and dogs that eat gourmet kibble of the same cost as a black family’s weekly grocery budget. So like a good black person I just smile and listen, comment little and hit the delete button in my mind right after they leave. My head need not be filled with the prattle of people looking for an audience to their undeserved and often unappreciated privilege.

Then there are those who are fighting their own demons under the guise of empathising with the horrendous condition of being black. Because when you feel like shit about yourself you now know exactly how it feels to be black. Every time a black person sings they hear the pain in her voice, the suffering she had to go through, the hardship is palpable; her loving, happy upbringing notwithstanding. Being black is painful and the suffering they hear is not theirs, but hers of course. By siding with the lower level forms of humanity, masses of them to be sure, they have a big army and worthy cause to hide their insecurities behind.  Their questions about their worthiness and their issues of self-rejection couldn’t find a better home than with a group of unworthy people who face rejection as part of their daily existence. The perfect fit.

There are those smart white people who are quick to describe black people as illiterate and uninformed and form arrogant little theories about how black people can be educated to know all the wonderful things up to know destined only for the fair skinned. Never do they stop and ask if there is anything black people know that might enlighten whites. They know it all and you are a savage until you allow them to teach it all to you. They say that being a white woman is equal to being a black person. Blacks are thought of as dumb and incapable of complex intellectual functioning, so are women. Blacks are being paid less for the same work than whites, such is the case between white men and women. Blacks are often first to be picked and limited to performing servant-like tasks such as cleaning, housekeeping, child-rearing etc.; just like the white women of this world. Black are considered prone to responding emotionally rather than logically to situations, and women too. So being white woman whose husband thinks she doesn’t have to work, expect her to take care of her own home and children and don’t pay her as much as he does her male counterpart is equal to treating her like a black person. The poor, poor darling. How will she cope with all this free time while the real black people of world are busy in her house and garden and she only has to do the hard work of giving orders? We blacks really feel for her.

The rebels of the white world want to wipe their lily-hued behinds on the unfair advantage they grew up with by using darky slang and listening to rap music. They want to show up their mommies and daddies by consorting with undesirable types. They want to stand out, they want to be the only one. The only one in their circle who actually knows how to get to the nearest township. The only one of their friends who’s had a fling with a black chick. The one who says “Siyabonga, sisi”; the one white guy who spoke your language even though the language in your town is Tswana, not Zulu. They want to be the only white dude in a black crew. That will really give daddy some serious palpitations and have mommy panicking to calm him down while trying to untangle the huge knot in her expensive lingerie.

We know most white people smile to our faces and use derogatory terms to refer to us at home and with their friends. We know the best pranks are pulled on darkies. We know all the stupid jokes have either a Sipho or a Gatiep in them. We know that when there is a dirty bit of hard labour to be done us blacks spring to mind first. We know that you think singing and dancing are about the only things we do well besides everything you are too white for. The only people who are stupid enough to think all that escapes us are the ones doing it because they’re scared of being found out.

I can’t say I am 100% non-racist, the differences between races are too blatant for me to ignore. I do avoid anyone who wants to improve or change me for their own reasons. As stated before, such desires are based on a belief of inherent sub-humanness. I have some white friends, believe it or not. One of the most amazing people I have ever met is white and some of the people I like best and enjoy being with most are white too. I consider them my friends, a title not lightly given. They don’t try to make me into anything other than what I am. They accept that I might be looking at the world differently than they do and my viewpoint is no better or worse than theirs just because of the colour of my skin. They realise that I might just know more about being black than they do and that I never have and never will consider it a condition to be cured of.

Black people don’t feel inferior to whites or any other race, but we do feel black; because we are. We know however that being black earns us the label of inferiority in the minds of white people. There is a delicately nuanced distinction between feeling inferior and being treated as inferior. We suffer from the latter not the former. We love our black selves, ask any black you know. We don’t want to be rescued from being black. We don’t want to be civilised out of being black. We don’t want to educate away from being black. Black works for us; in ways no white person could ever imagine.

So a black soul in a white skin? I haven’t met one yet.

Preserving the heritage of Promosa Secondary

There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Promosa Secondary and the teaching medium the school will be employing in future. Recent interaction on Facebook inflamed some tempers, mine included, that Afrikaans might be done away with as a language of instruction. The two Coloured schools in Promosa are the only ones outside the traditional white suburbs where Afrikaans is both the home language and the medium used for education. Coloured people in Promosa now feel as if their language and heritage is being side-lined in a school standing right on their doorsteps.

The influx of learners who don’t have Afrikaans has a home language saw the inclusion of English, making the school a double medium institution. Many of the new pupils and teachers use Setswana as a home language. This has created a situation where it has become an unofficial supplemental language of instruction. Poor academic results have also added to the concerns the community have about the future of the school.

The community has found very little sympathy from the Department of Education (DOE) regarding their concerns about the use of language. Conflict ensued when the candidate preferred by the community, Godly Burrel, had to stand back for the government selected principal. Promosa has since adjusted and accommodated the current head of the school, Pelesa Mafisa.

The Potch I grew up in had barriers between White and Non-white, but those divisions were far less rigid between Black and Coloured. The residents of Ikageng and Promosa had a shared communal history prior to apartheid policy being instituted. I recall a home-town where everyone who spoke Afrikaans could greet and say a few phrases in vernacular and vice versa. I’m from a town where family ties remained strong despite being stretched by a policy where members of the same clan could be classified under different races. Being considered both Black and Coloured the home I lived in Afrikaans was generously enhanced by Setswana and English. The Potch I know has always been a mixture of Coloured and Black culture and its languages.

At its core the school’s problem is not a race or language issue, but the drop in education standards that the whole of South Africa is experiencing. The school might advise parents to instil values in their children that aids teaching and that is a fair request. Yet, many parents are disappointed when their children, well-behaved, punctual and appropriately dressed receiving no instruction for months because there is no teacher or textbooks for a certain subject. Race and language would be far less a hot topic if the end result was an orderly school that produces the results Promosa Secondary has always been known for.

The concerns about the future of the school is about the decrease in academic results and the dilapidation that has occurred at Promosa Secondary. The school has lost a proud history of producing results that attracted many out-of-town learners and now struggles with basic discipline and teaching. When representatives of the DOE state that the school is the property of the government not the community and will be run accordingly, it increases the level of anxiety in the community.

The problems now seen at Promosa Secondary are the result of a gradual decline in teaching standards, community participation as well as good parenting. There is no innocent party in the situation.

Those in the community of Promosa who want to preserve their heritage and language have to become more active in community matters and not leave important decisions to be made without their knowledge and participation. The decline in the state of the only Coloured secondary school in Potchefstroom is evidence that this has not been happening. Those who value their Afrikaans, have to teach their children to speak the language properly; schooling will only supplement what is taught at home. Parents also need to show understanding for teachers and schools that are over-crowded but under-staffed and under-resourced.

The government has to realise that it exists because of the people and aren’t above communities. The school belongs to us more than it does the government because it affects what is most precious to us; our children.

There is talk of establishing an alumni club of the schools old pupils to weigh in on school matters; a positive step in the right direction. However it must also be accepted that years of neglect and under-performance will not be rectified in a year or two. At this point the best thing the communities of Promosa and Ikageng can do is become involved in the schooling of their children. If each parent does their bit to ensure their child is effectively educated all the problems the school faces will be greatly reduced.

An edited version of this article appeared in the Northwest Independent Newspaper of 22/10/2015

Thinking as a Profession

A good window to stare through
A good window to stare through

As I child I could never quite explain what I wanted to be when I got older. Nothing really seemed good enough or interesting enough, but I knew there was something I was made for. If I had to put it into adult words now, I would say I want to Think for a living.

I wanted to know everything as a child. I remember looking at the covers of the stacks and stacks of books my father owned and wishing deeply to know what was on the inside. I taught myself how to read better English than that taught at school and set off on a journey to find the things my mind was hungry for.

I don’t remember many of the books I read as I child because I don’t think I need to. Those words, those stories, those ideas, journeys, fantasies are written on the inside of my skin and I take them with me wherever I go. So when you ask me about I about a book I own I might not always be able to give you an insightful answer. But I know that if you stare deeply into my eyes you’d see a page being turned each time I blink. I become my books.

There are only two things I believe I can do well enough to make the world a better place. One is being myself and the other is to Think. Thinking requires that all other things be put aside to focus on the Mind and I believe that every society needs those who do the Thinking. Thinking doesn’t produce many tangible results, and when ideas are your end-product the shelves in the shop will remain empty. The highest payment a Thinker receives is a remark like: “I’ve never thought of it like that”, when offering a new point of view. To apprehend an idea, however old or new it might be, is the work of those who are willing to be quiet, keep still and send homing pigeons into the realm of Mind.

I don’t need much to do my work well. Give me book, a comfy seat, a pen and paper and good window to stare through and it’s another productive day at the office.

How I Created The Life of My Dreams

There are some areas of my life that remain a work in progress, but for the most part I’m living my dream. Through trail and error and a lot of reading and experimenting I have come to learn a few things that have made my journey much easier. Here is what I have learnt during my journey

Know what you want.

I know that one seems too obvious and everyone has heard that before, but it took me almost 40 years to finally admit that writing is where I belong. As soon as I did doors were flung open that I could not have entered otherwise. Knowing what you want is so powerful that I think the +- 40 years I spent fumbling about was not a waste of time but a huge boost in the right direction.

Commit to yourself first.

As a woman and a mother it is accepted that I would always put others ahead of myself, but I have learnt that the best thing I can do for those I love is to love myself first. In this context it means not shelving my dreams, plans and desires for my own life in order to make room for someone else’s. I’m a far more pleasant person to deal with when I prioritise all the things that keep me happy.

Dreams are built one brick at a time.

What has tripped me up in the past has been the idea that success should come quickly or else it might never arrive. I now realise that there is something big or small (but mostly small) that I can do every day to build my dream. Failure to do the little that is required right now is tantamount to self-sabotage.

Dream as big as you want, and then LET GO.

This is the single biggest lesson I have ever learnt. As a driven, determined, self-reliant woman I always wanted to control every step of making my life as I envision it to be. I am learning now that knowing what you want and being steadfast in that while doing what you can is all the effort you need. The quicker you can set a dream free the quicker it will materialise.

Every opportunity to doubt is an opportunity to increase in belief.

Nothing in life is all sun-shine and roses, but your private world – the world as you experience it –  is shaped by the spirit in which you act. There inevitably will be things that don’t work out and days where all efforts seem futile (yesterday was such a day for me) and doubting seems the only logical response. I have learnt that doubt is a habit like any other. It’s a habit that we cling to because we believe fear and worry are sensible. To be doubtful but take no action is just plain dumb. Yes! If you truly are concerned about something just take action instead of sitting around worrying. Acting will already remove most doubt and worry. And any successful outcome that flows from your action will increase your belief in your ability to deal with your life.

All battles are lost or won in the Mind first.

Having a strong mind just makes life so much easier. I have learnt that my Mind can only produce fruits based on what I feed it. In general I think we are much to nonchalant about what we expose our awareness to. Whether it is the right entertainment, the right people, constructive thoughts or even the right food, the mind is too precious to be negligent with. I refuse to let any random thing sully the mind I have been working on to strengthen for all these years. A strong mind allows one to choose your actions consciously, to observe yourself objectively, to experience your feelings authentically to make your decisions with certainty and conviction.

I can’t say that I have the keys to a wonderful life for everyone, but these things surely have made my life much more peaceful, satisfying and purposeful. All those I believe are core requirements for the life of one’s dreams

I’ve Given Up On Life As A Non-Writer

non writerAt this point I’ve completely given up on live as a non-writer because I am finally ready to admit that I’m anything but a non-writer.

I’m a semi-recluse who needs the whole world to leave me the hell alone, so I can think and listen to the voice inside my head telling me things I’d be better off not knowing.

I can’t feel my experiences unless I write them down. I don’t know what I know until it’s shaped into words. I can’t make sense of life unless I my eyes can tell it to my mind. I don’t know how other people know their lives while it remains unshaped and unarticulated. If I don’t write I’ll end up having conversations with myself in the mirror all day. That’ll bring the crazy-police knocking at my door. Can’t have that.

I wish it didn’t hurt so much to write. I wish that I was confident enough not to want to snatch back every word I’ve ever written and return it to that place deep inside of myself where it came from.

I say fuck, shit and hell, and take the lords name in vain when I write. I know that unless I do, I won’t be writing me. So I count on those who read what I write to not be too precious about politeness and instead be more interested in feeling what I try to convey.

I don’t know if I post too often or not, use too few words, use too many words, choose the right topic or get my point across. I don’t know whether I’m too shallow, too deep, too personal or too detached. I don’t know much I just know that I cannot stop writing. I want to go back to writing in my journal and hiding everything away from the world, but it’s too late. Writing is an illness.

I’ve given up on life as a non-writer because writing leaves me no choice. I’m learning to tone down expectation and I’m learning to throw hundreds of words at unresponsive audiences.

Unresponsive is so much better than non-existent.

Fight For Your Peace of Mind. Think!

Today I saw a post on Facebook that I feel was an attempt sow panic for whatever reason people choose to do things like that and though I normally keep my opinions to myself on FB, I had to give my 2 cents worth. This is it below.

On your marks. Ready. Panic!
On your marks. Ready. Panic!

For those who don’t know the country, this is 200 South African Rand and it is supposedly worth less than 10 British Pound. Really? If you believe any random expert over your own common sense, it is. This was my response to the FB post:

This is the kind of twisted shit that makes people’s lives miserable. Everyone is panicking about a stupid meme that doesn’t make any difference to our daily lives. Those who panic and criticize don’t even understand macro-economics or what the real meaning of an exchange rate is.

Since a blog is such a personal thing, it will become apparent over time that I lean toward what is considered conspiracy theory and unashamedly so.

With issues such as the global economic downturn, loss of value in all currencies, dire future prospects, and the general public finding it increasingly difficult to afford the most basic of needs for their survival, I see a concerted effort to steal people’s joy. I see a world that has a habit of leaning on people’s panic buttons for reasons I cannot imagine. I see people being deprived of something that would make the world no poorer if we allow everyone to have just a little bit more of it. No it’s not money, it’s peace of mind. What does the world stand to lose if every single human being could just close their eyes each evening with peace of mind. Nothing, in fact we all stand to gain something from it.

But it’s time that we start thinking independently, start employing logic, start questioning what happens around us and not just allow persons unknown to post memes that basically say that your life is shit and about to become shittier in the near future. Think just a little bit more than you normally do.

If every country is servicing huge national debts and the richest and most powerful have the biggest debts, ask yourself who is owing who. I know the answer is that we owe the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, but where do they get the money from if they don’t belong to any specific country and don’t run businesses of their own? There is no logic attached to these things. Every member country, which is almost all the countries on Earth contribute to these organisations. Then the very same countries take loans from these organisations. These countries then have to pay back this money with interest. What? Did you just say that you borrow your own money and pay it back with interest? Yes, I did!

So basically everyone owes everyone else, right? Why can all debts not be pardoned, everyone given a clean slate and we start minding our own business and handling our own money affairs without international interference?

If your country doesn’t have to pay back it’s debts your economy will improve overnight, you might have to pay less or no tax. But no, that’s not going to happen because it makes sense and it might give you a bit of peace of mind. So none of that for you.

As for South Africans, we must ask ourselves how it is that we produce the gold that is supposed to back up all currencies, yet ours keep slipping. I’ve dealt with the buying and selling of gold for 2 years in my career as a bookkeeper and whenever the price of gold went up, there was a drop in the South African currency. You would think that it would make our country richer and thus our currency stronger if the minerals we produce appreciate in value, but alas, no. Clearly global economics are incorrigibly resistant to logic.

Another question I ask myself as a South African is this: In light of the fact that we produce so many raw materials for other countries’ economies, we even supply the great British Empire with fresh produce, shouldn’t our currency far outstrip theirs? They talk about their countries’ reserves, but at the same time the biggest economies have national debts that they cannot even pay the interests of. Now tell me again about those reserves they have while being unable to pay their debts. Again, no logic.

My reasoning might be extremely simplistic, but I know one thing about very intelligent and academically superior things. Nothing can be so superior and intelligent that it even defies logic. It is our assumption that these things are too complicated to understand that gives those who mess with our security and the fruits of our hard work all the power to dupe us into staying at the bottom of the rung.

The majority of the world’s population suffer from mental slavery. The minute a news bulletin tells us to panic and fear for our lives we hardly take a second to ask some basic questions. Why is it happening? How did it happen? Who made it happen? What does it have to do with me? When did it start and when is it going to end? We start acting like Chicken Little with immediate effect.

You deserve a fair exchange for the hard work you put into your job.

You and yours deserve a full belly and a warm, comfy place to sleep every day.

You and yours deserve security and peace of mind as part of your basic state of being.

There are people who will take all these things from you if you don’t fight to keep it.

Don’t take up arms, fight with your mind.

Question, contemplate and come to your own conclusions.

One of the great men of the South African Freedom Struggle was Steve Biko and he said: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

steve biko

Don’t give anyone your mind to fuck with.

The small academic town I live in is surrounded by many small farms. With 200 South African Rand I get farm fresh milk with cream still floating on top. I get vegetables so fresh they still smell of soil. I get meat fresh from the abattoir. I can even buy a live chicken and slaughter it at home. And after all that I’m still left with a few rand in change. How many people in the UK can say the same? Is that what you get in Great Brittan for less than 10 pound? I think not.

So fight for your peace of mind. Think!

The Science of Being Broke

When making your own way in this world, inevitably there will be days when you’re just BROKE. Well you can panic, get depressed, or just get used to it, I think being broke has its perks.

Broke-ness makes one sharp and lean, light on your feet and clear of thought. It removes the blinkers so you can see how much is available without money, and how good most of it is. It forces you to use everything you have to make it to the next minute alive. As the saying goes, old wine cannot be placed in new bottles and being broke forces you to finish off every last drop before receiving a fresh supply. Hunger and debt are sterling motivators.

Although it’s crowded, the crowd normally hates being at a special place called Broke.  It’s on the corner where Payday Avenue and Poverty Street cross each other and most people stand on that corner for most of their lives. While we’re kicking it at Broke Intersection why not make an inventory of what we have despite our location?  I still have the ability to write a silly little piece like this and I have never had to pay a cent for it – nor am I being paid a cent either.

I sometimes wonder what it would feel like to be really rich and to be honest it sounds boring and heavy. Having to care for several houses and cars and investment portfolios, jewellery, art and whatever else it is that rich people own seems very tiring to me.  It might be sour grapes, I concede, but I don’t like the idea of wasting time trying to decide which ridiculously expensive shoes go with my equally ridiculously expensive dress.  At a certain point, leather is just the hide of a dead animal, a dress is nothing more than a piece of cloth and a diamond ring serves no real purpose beyond sitting on your finger.

As a person with relatively few possessions, I have a special connection with most of my stuff. Much of it is in excellent condition although some of my stuff have owned me for more than a decade.  I use my possessions until we can go no further with each other in a fruitful manner before we part ways. I’m still under the care of a beautiful corduroy coat I received from my father in my twenties. It’s one of those first-class second-hand items. I don’t know what possessed the person who got rid of it to do so; but I thank their (probably rich) behind every year when winter comes around.

Being broke is not virtuous, glamorous or even compulsory but it just seems to always lurk in one’s immediate vicinity. So while I’m part of the broke crowd I think I’ll just keep my eyes peeled and catch some tips from my compatriots while the hustle to remove ourselves (temporarily only) from this corner is in progress. I know we all are furthering our education in the science of being broke.

picture found on divorcedmoms.com.

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