Sting sings of being an Englishman in Newyork. This resonates with my condition in Stellenbosch.
This strange place Stellenbosch, where two worlds, one, a remnant of European culture and the other a struggling Africa, meet and sit uncomfortably close to each other. Each one, guarding its identity, retreating in fear, and I, trying to find my place in either, but belonging to none.
I work in the slums with black people like me. They receive me with warmth. I am accepted here. I can laugh and make merry. We share stories of our lives and families, but I speak a different tongue, so I am not always understood. I am still an outsider, but I have friends.
I work with white people, we speak the same language, but I am so obviously different, I sense coldness, very subtle, I am not embraced here. My loud laughter and merry making seems out of place, I hold back. We work well together, but hardly share stories. We remain acquaintances.
But does it have to be this way?
I was privileged to see other lands. In Italy, in Europe, my foreignness is not so painfully apparent. I am well received. In Rio, I am fully embraced. Mmmhhhh...Brazilians, white, black and in between, they hug me so tight, kiss me three times, and party with me all night!
I want to belong to both worlds, all worlds. I am a child of the universe. I want to love all people. None of us chooses our skin, but we choose our friends. We choose to remain different. We choose to share the earth that was bequeathed to each one of us. We came here with nothing and with nothing, we shall leave. What we can do in the meantime, is to choose to love or to hate.
Labels: Inspiration, Prose, Stellenbosch, Trying