Saturday 30 November 2019

I need no apology


Quite for long, I need no apology,
For how you think things ought to be,
I am striving, giving you the best that I got,
For who we are is what we have brought,
To this sunny picnic amongst the flowers.
When this trip and adventure did start
Neither you nor I knew but only the heart,
We followed through for all we dared,
From that has come the moments shared,
On this sunny picnic with butterflies.
You and I have met our vulnerable,
For which there could be regret available,
I am energised with the sure and bold,
Not in the many sorry words that leave me cold,
At this sunny picnic let’s be quiet.
The love I see leaves me with smiles so wide,
In you, I have more than just a pride,
That ahead a future can be glowing bright,
We only need to get things right,
From this sunny picnic we skip back home.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Your turn is not next

Courtesy of the William Kentridge exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.

Shrinking Violet
In a way, I have cast myself a glutton for punishment by scheduling two theory intensive courses back-to-back in a fortnight.
The attendees to the first and second course are drawn from different industries, all of them can be interesting if I am able to engage them. Whilst I do not intend to be aloof, I am not predisposed to networking as some people would think I am.
I can quite easily strike up a conversation and rapport with strangers, yet, it is a somewhat different dynamic from being in a course or some other social setting. The intricacies of this situation, I am yet to fully understand.
Introvert at large
For instance, I find it emotionally draining to mingle at parties. You will usually find me in a corner somewhere and if I am engaged in conversation, it would be initiated by someone who has come to have that chat to me. At one birthday in my honour, I had gone to bed long before the guests had left.
At these courses, everyone seems to be engaged in conversation, whilst I appear withdrawn. Like someone has said to me, “Your turn is not next.” I doubt I am ever the next in turn to say anything at that point in time. It is not for the want of something to say, I do not think I am naturally tongue-tied. However, in a less crowded place, I am probably more amiable.
Maybe it is just as case of not liking crowded places, I know there are people who would never consider me shy. That is a misconception, I am naturally shy and withdrawn with the tendency to appear quite extroverted when I find someone with whom we can discuss things of interest.
Each to their own
Then, I might become a chatterbox of raconteuring excess. I hope I don’t bore my audience. I won’t call myself a public speaker either, though I have had to give speeches at some gatherings. It is not something that causes great excitement, it exacerbates much anxiety.
Then, there probably isn’t anything wrong with this sort of temperament, we can’t all be outgoing, affable, engaging and the life and soul of the party. We are cut out for different things; it does not make us voiceless when it matters. Even for the seemingly socially awkward.

Friday 15 November 2019

15 Seconds on the Soft Shoulder

I’ll cry if I want to
Every once in a while I give my eyes the routine maintenance of giving the tear ducts a flush. There is no switch to set off the channels that bring water to my eyes.
By a deliberate act, I might chop onions and that is hardly a task I enjoy, for years, I used a mandolin and then I found Spar does diced onions, I guess the efficient rather the lazy part of me decided I had hit the gold dust of cooking ingredients. Most of the time, the onions go into the cooking pot rather than the frying pan, I store the diced onions in the freezer and when needed, crack the bag on a shelf and pour in what I need.
Sowing kindness
I started the evening with a Facebook post that talked of a hungry boy who asked for a glass of water and was given a glass of milk. He had only a dime and asked what he could pay for the glass of milk, the lady answered that her mother told never to take money for an act of kindness. The boy thankfully blessed her from his heart.
Decades down the line, the lady fell seriously ill and was transferred to a city hospital where a consultant was engaged to monitor and treat her condition. He saw where she came from and on checking on her, realised she was the lady who gave him a glass of milk, many years before. He dedicated himself to her wellbeing and care until she was well. Her hospital bill came to over $28,000 which she did not have.
The consultant had intercepted the bill and added a note before having the bill presented to the lady. She read the bill and then the note, all it said was, “Paid for with a glass of milk.” The tears welled up in my eyes, how kindness gets repaid, you can never know.
Stories that move the heart
The annual charade of the BBC Children In Need is on again, this charity has raised over £1 billion pounds since 1980 for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Gosh! I miss Sir Terry Wogan, but I switched to the channel and it was being presented tonight by Ade Adepitan and Tess Daly.
There are so many stories of kindness, hope over adversity and the overcoming of infirmity, human strength and resilience coming from young kids who have faced cancer, life-changing injuries and all sorts of crises, yet, none have a sense defeat but are living examples of grace, love and fortitude.
Each story told is a miracle of our humanity, those who suffer and those who succour bound together in the refrain of that song, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”
I have been blessed by kindness
In my life, I remember the many who have come into my life in times of need, of great adversity and difficulty, friends and strangers alike who found the common cause of human kindness and unconditional love whose acts towards me have been to carry me, unconcerned about the burden, to the questions that might have crossed their minds, they have answered back, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
What a blessing it has been for me to have means and opportunity, not necessarily to repay the kindness directly, but to others. To each and many, I hope I never have to faint, but be girded with much more strength to say, “They ain’t heavy, they’re my brothers, my sisters, my fathers, my mothers, my aunts, my uncles, my nephews, my nieces, my relations, my friends, my neighbours, my community, my people, my humanity and whatever diversity and inclusivity I am blessed to be part of.”
My tears on the soft shoulder of love
I have shed many a tear watching acts of kindness, things that bring happiness and joy to others, to ease the pain, pacify the perturbed, demonstrate the amazing and incredible, the whole celebration of humankind. For the kindnesses I have received too, my tear ducts have opened like sluice gates and I am not afraid to cry, it can be a wonderful release and expression of our humanity.
Maybe I have found 15 seconds on the soft shoulder, I know one shoulder on which I could cry for as long as I want, he is the one I love, and we hope to soon be together again.

Courtesy of the William Kentridge exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.

Monday 11 November 2019

The Coincidence Demands Its Hearing

Courtesy of the William Kentridge exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.
Quite unusually for me, my one-month sojourn in South Africa from September into October, whilst beneficial for my wellbeing and love life, it was one in which my blog was hardly a window into the experiences I had. I had taken to what might be called photo-blogging, posting groups of pictures on Instagram with some text to accompany my perspectives.
None of that covered to any detail the various insights of the historical and cultural tapestry of South Africa, this was mainly in Cape Town. For all we got to do, there is much more to do and see.
On one of our outings, we visited The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, in Cape Town, this was a reconstruction that came of out of old grain silos, the height of which once registered as one of the tallest freestanding structures in Africa.
As we paid our entrance fee of ZAR 200 each, I noticed that the annual membership was ZAR 290, having learnt from visits to other museums as the Voortrekker Monument, Liliesleaf Farm and Castle of Good Hope, we have never been able to complete the tour of exhibits with the information provided in one visit.
The absence of booklets, brochures, pamphlets, or guides covering the exhibits meant that we had to consider returning if we needed to gain the full knowledge and experience of the place. Now, I do not know how many people would get the opportunity to visit South Africa as frequently as I have been able to. My visit in September was my fourth in a year.
We got to visit Liliesleaf Farm again, but there is at least one more visit to go, but back at the Zeitz MOCAA we decided on the annual membership and soon had membership cards to flaunt. We believe we would be returning to visit soon.
Our visit introduced us to the major exhibition of the work of South African artist, William Kentridge, which occupied a couple of floors, much of which we did not get to see, but will soon again, as the exhibition titled, ‘Why Should I Hesitate: Putting Drawings To Work’ runs from the 25th of August 2019 to the 23rd of March 2020.
We hope then to get a better understanding of the narratives, yet, on learning more about him, we came upon the legendary story of his father, Sir Sydney Kentridge KCMG QC who only clocked 97 on the 5th of November.
Former lawyer and judge, member of first the South African bar and then the English bars, represented 3 of the 4 Nobel Peace Prize laureates of South Africa, Chief Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he also represented the family of Stephen Biko at the inquest into his death, his cross-examination so thorough, it exposed the culpability of the Apartheid regime.
At least, I had to let the significance of that sink in, and then understand how the scion of a high-profile personality can forge a career in a completely different direction and still make a significant contribution to national history. By coincidence, William Kentridge has an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, running until the 17th of November. Father and son have left footprints in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Some inspiration I gained from the exhibition in Cape Town, will inform some future blogs.