Reflections in South Africa #2

South Africa is a beauty to behold that boasts undulating hills, shimmering landscapes, gorgeous beaches, friendly weather, a burgeoning economy, and a diverse cluster of people. The degree to which South Africa is mixed with many races might surprise the virgin visitor. Forsooth, one can even call South Africa the Brazil of Africa. Perhaps such an image might paint a suitable picture that dances closer to reality. There is a bright future as the country and its endless stream of visitors seek to adjust to a new destiny post-apartheid.

But there is a more troubling deeper layer. During conversation with a tour guide, she mentioned how, under apartheid, blacks were not allowed to own businesses. However, if apartheid just ended in 1994, this means blacks in South Africa only entered the economy about 21 years ago. The gigantic time discrepancy of economic liberation between the races creates a condition whereby almost every big business is owned by white South Africans or foreigners. Consequently, the middle class is anorexic…with all meat sliding either to the rich class or poor. Actually, it is the former that is the sole gatekeeper of this economic flesh, leaving only tidbits for the poor to scrap over. Hence the awakened eye will see the country under the yoke of an economic apartheid. When you frequent fancy restaurants and expensive places, you will encounter mostly white and foreigners there. Few blacks. If there are blacks, they are mostly workers or servers.

But it goes further! When you carefully assess many blacks, you will find traces of the apartheid still scarring their psyche on a subconscious level. Many (not all), appear docile, demure and servile. There is almost a regretful constriction that is lacking the unbridled ambition to conquer industry through unmitigated aspirations and unrelenting exertion. Few will always be exceptions to the rule, but this is the general sentiment I get. Carefully considered: without the opportunity to own businesses, almost everything they have been fighting and struggling for is simply the opportunity to participate in industries already created by others. Reflect on that. In other words, the highest aspirations hitherto has been the desire to be equal and fairly integrated into the systems created and owned by the elite minority. Couple this with years of economic isolation, and you will discover a group of people who struggle to “break their shell” through entrepreneurship of personal industry.

The people almost have to be educated on entrepreneurship, on the art of creating new systems instead of just seeking entry into existing ones. This is a big leap but a necessary one. The people (especially the blacks), need institutions that will educate and inspire them toward the path of creating for themselves what they seek, instead of only looking for it outwardly. Only through this can you infuse power and personal ambition within the individual that will grow his confidence and potential. Why do I say this? When a people lack the motive force of ingenuity, they depend heavily on politicians to help change their conditions. Since they seek “already existing institutions” as a means of progress, they also seek external political institutions to change their lot in life. Through this, they become ripe for the rapacious hands of exploitation. In fact, I hear the current president (at the time of this writing) has been a complete disaster. The people trusted that, since he experienced similar poverty in the shantytowns, he would look out for their best interest. However, this is not how it came to pass. Using the sentiment of “I understand your suffering”, mixed with the docility of the people and their excessive trust and dependency on systems, many unscrupulous politicians can now rise to the helm and enrich themselves. You will understand why it is necessary for the people to direct their attention AWAY from hope and faith in institutions, to belief in their own individual capacity to create! To achieve this they need careful shepherding and a reorientation of their mentality.

Spiritually all this has tremendous implications. Based on their attitude and orientation, the current view of the Almighty is similar to most in which He is the Source of Power able to grant their wishes and solve their problems. A point of hope to which they can pin their grievances and have all questions answered through magical means. When you couple this with once having a blessed statesman like Mandela, you will find a tendency to see hope and solutions through something or someone else. In my opinion, what needs to occur is a gradual guidance where the people see the Almighty not as a Big Genie who solves all problems through inexplicable means, but as a Source of Power and Life Who–based on the purity of attunement–grants strength, inspiration and clarity through which the individual can realize and bring into being their own longings. In other words, to be helped to see that it is not the Almighty who should be laboring to solve your problems, but you should enter His Will for clarity, strength, and direction in order to manifest the solutions yourself through personal effort. This delicate transition will inwardly help to galvanize the people to one of personal responsibility, individual reliance, and accountability for their own inner lives and outer destiny. It would even help transform the consciousness that would assist the entrepreneurial endeavors because the mentality would always be “how can I change myself and environment”, not “how can I find others to do so”.

Although there are three main groups (whites, colored, and blacks), I focused primarily on blacks just for the sake of essay brevity. Each group has their own challenges inwardly and outwardly, but I decided to just feature one to avoid writing a dissertation.

The above reflections are my suggestions on how to inwardly and outwardly move the people forward victoriously. Otherwise many will be easily surrendered to rapacious politicians as it seemed they are slowly doing now. Exploited by snollygosters who capitalize on apartheid sentiments solely for their own gain. But once the people are guided into realizing it is not politicians, not black or white, existing institutions or past thoughts that holds my future; but my own creativity and innovation to birth something completely new from within outwardly… then you will have a suitable soil for individual blossoming. Then the docility will give way to inner stability and hunger for continuous growth.

Besides this, I have been most grateful for the friendliness and warmth of the people. Their colorful personalities, cultures, and fabulous languages. Of all South African languages, my favorite BY FAR is Xhosa (owing to the click sounds). It is like music to my ears. Every country has its problems and bright sides, has its strengths and challenges. South Africa is no different. If you just stop and think it was only in 1994 that apartheid ended. The Civil Rights in the US occurred in the 60’s. So just imagine, DECADES later is when South Africa had its own “Civil Rights Act”. Imagine that! So, despite commercial success, wounds are still fresh. Healing is still new. The different peoples and cultures are still figuring out how to effectively engage with each other. In this regard, I wish them nothing but hope, light, and the greatest blessings.

~Ikenna Q Ezealah

About Ikenna Q Ezealah

Ikenna Q Ezealah is a writer, author and essayist whose themes embrace human-spiritual development.
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