Sunday, July 22, 2007

Compiling My Freedom.....

I haven't posted anything for about two weeks and I do apologize for my lack of activity. It was due to a certain amount of blogger block and the fact that my vacation work exceeded all expectations and kept me busy for the two weeks.

The vacation program was a mixture of hard work and fun. It didnt mask the fact that the life of an attorney/lawyer in a big firm is not a easy ride and you have to be prepared to work extremely hard if you intend to make it in a world where you cant afford to blink, without being eaten alive. I was under no illusions that this was the case as everything in this world worth having is an uphill battle and is never easy. You have to struggle for success and take the knocks one blow at a time and be ready to lift your head and be counted when the going gets tough.

This corporate environment is daunting however I enjoyed every moment. We (the vac students) were taken as colleagues and not subordinates. I got a hands on experience of what awaits me. The 2 weeks has helped me focus and realize that even though the stress and the long work hours are a drawbacks its what I want to do. Its in front of me now and all I have to do is grab it with both hands and I intend doing that.

I also got to meet alot of new people, made tons of new friends and even had the privileged of chatting to Justice Yvonne Mokgoro of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she is an amazing person, the type that grabs your undivided attention the minute they open their mouths, a truly inspirational person. If you are in Johannesburg and havent visited the constitutional court and the surrounding museum (being the old fort prison where both Mandela and Gandhi were imprisoned) then I strongly suggest you do as it truly reminds you what it is to be South African and that we owe our freedom to so many brave souls that gave their lives so that we could enjoy ours.

The Constitutional Court was definitely a highlight of the two weeks and is something ill never forget. It shows one how far South Africa has come from being divided by the colour line. People who say "Nothing has changed" are ignorant of the fact that today we dont have to carry a "pass" to move around, we can go and use any facility without seeing signs saying "white only", even sitting on a bench was segregated. We are free and some of us take that freedom for granted. We must always look to the future without forgetting the past for it is where we come from and shows us where we should be going.

The great selection of art work at the Constitutional Court is amazing and one in particular stuck with me. Its called 'The Blue Dress' by Judith Mason. Listening to a radio report on the commission, Mason was moved by a story about an African woman whose body had been discovered after the security police had executed her. Her body was found naked in a shallow grave except for a piece of plastic covering her private parts. The policeman who shot her in the head described how brave she had been - she had asked if she could kneel and sing Nkosi Sikelele before she was executed.The dress is made out of blue rubbish bags and the painting that go with it together with the inscription on the bottom of the dress make it a moving piece. The inscription reads :
"Sister, a plastic bag may not be the whole armour of God, but you were wrestling with flesh and blood, and against powers, against the rulers of darkness, against spiritual wickedness in sordid places. Your weapons were your silence and a piece of rubbish. Finding that bag and wearing it until you were disinterred is such a frugal, common-sensical, house-wifely thing to do, an ordinary act… At some level you shamed your capturers, and they did not compound their abuse of you by stripping you a second time. Yet they killed you. We only know your story because a sniggering man remembered how brave you were. Memorials to your courage are everywhere; they blow about in the streets and drift on the tide and cling to thorn-bushes. This dress is made from some of them. Hamba kahle. Umkhonto."
Even now when I read that I am moved, I cant explain it. Its very powerful.

So just as the people of this country fought and struggled to acquire their freedom I shall do the same in compiling my freedom by striving to be the best in my chosen profession. If i can touch the heart of only one person and make a difference in their lives before My time on this earth expires I would have led a good life. Inshallah (God Willing) I can fulfill this Goal of mine and Inshallah we all can make a difference in this world.

I'll end with a saying by Nelson Mandela
During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
May the spirit of Ubuntu flow through us all
The Lone Writer


Dew said...

its good to have you back kman.

This was a really nice, interesting piece.

I remeber learning about that dres when I was studying art and thinking ' wow, that is such an incredible way to make art and make a statement. It was a touching story that. Antjie Krog mentions it in her book as well.

Glad you enjoyed work and glad you willing to work hard for it. Hope you alwyas have that perserverence and happiness:)

Infinium said...


Dew said...

dont hmm... infi - it means you have nothing to say OR that you want to say something but are not saying it which is as good as having nothing to say because it is nothing to say when you are saying nothing.

I think...I just said nothing.

irshaad said...

the spirit of ubuntu is quickly being dissipated amongst younger generations in south africa...big problem i would say.

nice piece

Priya said...

that place is beautiful. only went there briefly but for a story. want to go back as a tourist.
that dress shows a powerful message and it touched me to the core.
its nice to read things from people who understand this country. :)

ZK said...

hey i coming i comin and i a tourist so when you taking me to visit it????
and mwah better things await you ;)

Infinium said...

lol... hmmmm....

Infinium said...

lol, Dew, when do i have anything good to say???

and theres a reason why i sed "hmmmm..." lol

Le K-Man will know what i speak off... (Well at least i hope he does remember)

Soz for the riddles Dew, didn't mean to upset you... :)

mazozo said...

Well done bru

I glad u made the best use of your time at work lol ur one up on me i as enjoying my hols too much

Hehe but u know what you sound like you got the right mind set for our industry slash career.Now u just gotta teach me ;-)

Salma said...

K-man my friend, it's such a touchable, enlightening post :)And it's awesome to know more about the past of South africa.
You know, your wishes and what you want to be, remembered me of a one sentenced quote by Gandhi which was written in golden letters and should become a golden rule of the lives of strong willed persons like you:
"BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD."A dream most/all of us wish to achieve but from which we are exteremly far away.
lets remember that "Allah would not change the condition of the people until they change what's in themselves."
Sorry for writing so long K and once again GREAT post :)

The K-man said...

Dew: Thanks its good to be back but it seems I hardly have time to blog :( Glad you liked the piece appreciation of art is great.

Infi: I know why you hmmmm

Dew: Just shout infi!

irshaad: I completely agree The younger generation have forgotten what we went through and its a huge problem. Glad you liked the piece.

Priya: I also want to go there longer to appreciate the art and just take in the history. That dress and the message when i read it still send shivers down my back.

zk: Ill be your personal tour guide :) I cant wait :)

maz: Dont worry my young padawan I shall guide you :P

salma: hey there my friend :) glad you liked the post.dont apologize for a long comment its perfectly fine. I love that quote.

qdee said...

elo elo?
im having difficult time with technology now.
kewl dress! i saw a wedding dress made outa recycled stuff, was brilliant.
glad me met you :)

!Joe! said...

hey write like a law student :) i should know, my sis is a candidate attorney :D you people have alot to say, sound so sincere, we need more of that in the world....too many naaring lawyers around nowadays!:D

The K-man said...

qdee: allo allo (remember that show) Glad i met you also. Y having a difficult time with technology?

!joe!: Hey Joe thanks for visiting. We law people do have alot to say hehe, especially when we passionate. I was sincere in this post so thanks :)

Infinium said...

Hey Hey Hey, dude why be you promoting violence here, where is this hostility coming from, eish i tell you these days!!!! hahahaha


Anonymous said...

I remember that dress when I went to the Constitutional Court back in 2003 (back then it was in an office complex - they were busy with construction at the Old Fort!).
It really touched me, and I see it's touched you too :)