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