“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others”
I clearly remember when Nelson Mandela became the first black president in South Africa. Many people wondered what impact the ANC, and in particular Mandela, would have on white South African’s and the economy in general. We needn’t have been concerned. Evidence of his greatness was demonstrated eighteen years ago when South Africa won the Rugby world cup. There was that memorable moment when Mandela, sporting a Springbok rugby shirt, was found shaking hands and congratulating the Rugby captain Francois Pienaar, a white South African. This was a humbling sight. Here was a man who had spent 26 years of his life in prison now publically demonstrating his support of Rugby, a sport which was firmly in the minds of all South African’s a symbol of the white Afrikaans South African. The Afrikaner had been the architects of the oppressive Apartheid system, with a lot of help from the previous British government. It was this systems law which had resulted in Mandela spending most of his adult life in prison. Yet here was our new black president wearing a Springbok shirt, the ultimate symbol of the white South African.
That was a remarkable day in South African history. In the streets of Johannesburg cars were honking horns and drivers waving and smiling in celebration. It was when filling my car up with petrol a black attendant, who was overjoyed with the rugby win, said to me these simple words “We won” – with a huge grin on his face. It was in that moment when I felt proud of being a South African. In that moment, in my mind we HAD become the rainbow nation that everyone had hoped for. Mandela’s generous acceptance of every South African, no matter what colour, was when the real healing began for our country.
Mandela, you have been called a terrorist and you have spent 26 years of your life in jail fighting for the rights of the black South African. Through your compassion and forgiving nature most of the population in South Africa loves you, as does the rest of the world. Thank you for the lessons that you have taught us, and when your time comes may you rest in peace. You will be deeply missed.
We had an awesome visit to Liliesleaf Farm, in Rivonia, Johannesburg. This is where 50 years ago the leaders of the ANC were arrested and, along with Mandela, jailed for life for treason against the white oppressive apartheid government. As mentioned in last week’s blog I’ve been reading up on the trial and so decided to squeeze in a visit to this symbolic, historical farmhouse. Both children were a little reluctant at first; however by the end of the trip we couldn’t drag ourselves away. The interactive museum is stunning. It brings the place alive, through its audio interviews of most of the individuals involved over that period of time in South African history. I posted about our trip on Facebook and was fascinated to learn that a friend’s brother was the historian who travelled the world interviewing and making those recordings. We got chatting on Facebook and some of my questions were answered direct from the horse’s mouth. I also discovered my Uncle was one of the reporters covering the trial, he lives in the UK now – I so wish we could visit and pick his brains. We have a plan to shortly return to Liliesleaf Farm for a second visit to see everything that we have missed.
We purchased the full version of Minecraft for JJ and any spare moment she has been building houses, finding gold, learning to fly and so much more. AA has even sat for many hours at her side both negotiating the Minecraft territory. There were very few fractious moments playing Minecraft together, even after one particularly long four hour stint. It is lovely when their five year age difference seems to melt away (JJ age 9 and AA age 14) demonstrating sibling bonding at its best. Often this week JJ has compared situations in the real world with Minecraft and she has experienced dreams with aspects of Minecraft. I do like to see this undivided commitment she applies to objects of her passion.
We’ve had lots of discussions and have been reading aloud The $100 Startup, about ways to make money. JJ has asked her brother to take charge of her money situation as she would like to save up for an IPad. She is looking at ways she can make more money over and above her pocket money and any birthday or Christmas monetary gifts.
AA spontaneously gave us a lesson on rectangles and squares, telling us the all rectangles are squares yet squares are not rectangles. JJ was intently watching him during this explanation; I don’t think she will forget this.
We had one lazy morning discussing the impact of my parenting on the children. It was an honest discussion where I shared my guilt at occasionally losing my temper, particularly with JJ. She and I do clash. It was prompted by me listening to an interview by a psychologist on the impact of parenting on children and it brought to the fore my psychotherapy training. We explored how they each felt about themselves. Did they feel guilt or shame, did they have any excessive fears, and were they realistic about their reflection on us as a family. It has given me much food for thought. I used to be very psychologically conscious of the upbringing of our children, perhaps at times a bit too much. We have a feelings basket which is filled with drawing of extreme feelings the children have experienced at various times. The drawings cover sibling issues, bad dreams and any concerns which they may have had at the time. It was, and is, a safe place to share difficult emotions. Whenever we all went through a struggling phase we would sit over a coffee and share a little something about each other that we loved. And when the anger and hurt had subsided, it made space to discuss and to deal with the core issue. It has been a while since we’ve needed or thought consciously of our feelings in this direct way.
We made it a family event when we went shopping to a Chinese supermarket for ingredients for a Chinese meal I was making for us with my Aunt and Uncle as guests of honour. It was so much more fun doing it all together, looking for all the multitude of ingredients that this 3 course meal required. It took all day Sunday to prepare and make the meal. Anyone who knows me, is aware that cooking is not one of my strengths. It got a little chaotic in the kitchen when I was trying to make noodles, egg fried rice and a complicated chicken dish. However it tasted good with everyone making favourable compliments. AA said it was the best meal he has ever tasted. Bruce suggested that next time I do one at a time. I even made our spring rolls from scratch.
At very short notice, as a result of two cancellations, my aunt and I attended another cooking lesson. This time it was Easy Entertaining. It was an enjoyable evening and lovely to partner up with my aunt. I don’t however feel I learnt nearly as much as the Chinese cooking evening.
I continue with my pewter faces at my cousin’s house. It was another lovely afternoon and JJ finished her flower and pewtered the words ‘Minecraft’. I’m not sure about my ability to pewter! I will muster on. JJ is a natural. The afternoon was lovely and we had some interesting discussions on diversity prompted by the previous nights cooking class where I felt the Indian instructor was racist towards her black assistant. M felt it was the company’s responsibility to enlighten the chef on how to behave towards people from other cultures. I came from the totally opposite direction feeling racism is an individual’s responsibility. I do so enjoy our discussions. We are both planning to provide feedback.
I’ve entered a travel writing competition thanks to the extra help from my editor uncle @EarlMoorhouse who reviewed an edited my work. This is the first time I’ve been through this process and he was so thoughtful and considerate in his suggestions that it made it a positive experience. I will be forever grateful. Earl has written and published two fascinating books Wake up it’s a Crash (a true story of a plane crash that he and his family survived) and The Last Summer in Little England (a hilarious and poignant account of a young boy in South Africa in the 50’s).
B cornered me into highlighting her hair … ME! I had never done this before. It took a while but we were pleased with the outcome. I might do it again …..
During my meditating one morning I was joined by JJ … She said it put her to sleep! The meditation involved a visualisation and was about empathy. In the visualisation we had to imagine ourselves as someone else and look upon a difficult situation from their point of reference. A few days later JJ heard something hurtful that one of her friends had said about her. She was devastated and experienced a deep sense of betrayal; it made her question her trust in all her friendships. Interestingly, JJ then was able to see times when she herself had said hurtful things about another and she realised how they must have felt if they were to find out. In the discussion, which continued into the evening when Bruce returned home from work, he told her that he follows a rule where he only talks about someone else, to another person, that which he is happy to say directly to their face.
Here is an interesting link which I watched this week:
I watched the War on Kids … the final scene made me terribly sad. It is 1 hr 30 minute documentary but has some interesting messages.
We went to Liliesleaf Farm were Mandela had his secret meetings with his group. It was amazing and sad mom started crying when we watched the movie and I felt like it – sad. But anyway it was really interesting I will tell you my favourite places, the draw place it had lots of draws and a button on each end of them and if you pressed one of them the draw would open and it would have a voice of the real person from Lilieleaf Farm telling you what they remembered happened at Liliesleaf Farm and it would have something inside to do with what they were talking about – it was awesome. One of the little boys that lived at Liliesleaf Farm, in his interview, said these words “ I don’t remember much but I remember the one guy asking was there anything on the property? Was there any bombs? I told them that there were bombs all over the place, expesualy under the flower beds” he he don’t you think it is funny? The police then dug up all the flower beds looking for bombs, but they weren’t there. Another place had a telephone, the old fashioned ones, my mom taught me how to use it – it was cool. But I still feel sorry for Mandela. Mandela is in hospital now I hope he lives but if he is in pain I want him to die in peace.
I went to a really long modern lesson we started with the last dances to practise with because we are not the best at them. It was really fun I think I will pass my exam he he. We danced with other children from different classes, the people were nice. I definitely will enjoy doing the exam he he he he he hee hee he
Mom and dad BOUGHT ME MINECRAFT!!!!!!!! Wow wow I was so happy we had a great night when dad came home that night we bought it my name is icebluedolphin I like the name he he I played so much and I am playing today Wahoo.
These are the other things I did this week:
My friend’s mom asked me to find the lyrics to We are the World by Bob Geldof so I did it and by the way this is for the Saint John’s in Mozambique it is so exiting. I am packed and now I am ready to go he he. And for Saint John’s I made a lantern it was awesome but I got very frustrated with the balloon falling over all the time. I shouted and didn’t want to finish – mom came and helped me.
I played some Sumdog AGAIN.
I had my music lesson it was really cool
I did ballet it was very very very very very fun.
I dressed up and as a Chinese girl with chopsticks in my hair for dinner with my great aunt and uncle then I played piano as the background music for everyone.
I cleaned my rat’s cage – I miss Scarlet.
Can you remember I told you that I did the badges last week? Well this week I got them and guess what, I am a sixer Wahoo yay yay yay yay yay I was so excited.
We went the Waldorf School to do St. John’s, it was really cool, we got to jump over the fire wow.
We had girl’s Pewter afternoon at my cousin, it was nice. I made a pewter logo of Minecraft he he.
At tennis lesson and we had the end of term party, it was nice and I found out that everyone there played Minecraft he he.
My brother finished a maths exam so went out for a lunch treat, and then I went to music lessons and sang for a visitor and mom it was a bit scary but cool.
My mom called me to come and meditate with her for 10 minutes I didn’t like it he he.