Wednesday, April 16, 2014

0comments

Deny And Discredit: A Slippery Slope For The ANC

My opinion piece published on News24
April16, 2014
http://voices.news24.com/fareed-kaloo/2014/04/deny-discredit-slippery-slope-anc/

In the time it takes most political parties to entrench their policies and programs into a nations operating system, the ANC has managed to go from being the 'Default Browser' to a virus-infected users cesspool.
Not so long ago, we were dancing in the streets and celebrating a party that belonged to all; a party we were proud to call our own; a party who's leaders led by example and inspired young and old to work together toward the brighter future we were promised. I remember where I was the day I stood in line to cast my first vote in our new democracy. Filled with hope and brimming with pride, the energy of the thousands of voters waiting in line was electric. Victory for the ANC at the ballot was palpable. The only question was how great the winning margin would be.

Fast-forward 20 years and suddenly the very party we once embraced as our own, has degenerated into a pariah we now distance ourselves from.

In truth the rot may have first been exposed during the Mbeki era with the AIDS debacle and the arms deal saga. The warning lights were slowly lighting up, and the nation was starting to sit up and take notice.
Cue the Zuma administration and suddenly it seemed like corruption, nepotism and every other ugly known to politics was in free-fall. Nobody within the Zuma administration was willing to stand up strongly or loudly enough to stop the rot, and when we looked toward the leader himself we found a President so wrapped in securing his party foothold that he forgot the people he served. It suddenly seemed as though the needs of the people became secondary and the desire to cement ranks within the ANC became of utmost importance. Claims of tribalism and factionalism had overpowered discussion on service delivery and job creation. The only jobs being created were for the politically connected few within the walls of parliament. The only services being delivered were the tenders to friends and cronies. Rome for all intents and purposes was burning while inside it's political chambers, orgies of debauchery and opulence were the order of the day.
While the citizens searched for leadership and guidance, the leaders were getting drunk on the public's taxes and patting themselves on the back. When the voices of dissent from the public grew too loud, the leaders would come out and scold the people as though they were little children not worthy of sitting at the adults table.

Leaders like Gwede Mantashe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Fikile Mbalula and Jackson Mthembu have recently come out in scathing attack at anyone who disagrees with the ANC.
No longer are we allowed to simply voice opinion and have it digested for morsels of truth. The danger of having dissent or dialogue by a countries citizens being shut down by a ruling party is that without even noticing, the line between democracy and dictatorship is very quickly crossed. In a true democracy, government would and should engage the people to resolve disputes and conflict. Government must never forget that it is ultimately the people who have voted them in power. It is when government assumes they hold the whip to flog the nation, instead of being the servants of the people, that the foundations of democracy begin to unravel. As citizens we have every right to show dissatisfaction in our government. For the ruling party or any of it's supporters to suggest otherwise is to denounce the very thing ANC stalwarts like Oliver Thambo, Govan Mbeki, Nelson Mandela and others fought for.

It is the duty of every citizen to defend the constitution and denounce wholesale corruption instituted by the state. For the ANC to attempt to discredit independent bodies like the Public Protectors office and oversight committees who are critical of their actions and policies, one has to wonder what their definition of a Public Protector or oversight committee really is. Would they prefer a Public Protector who does everything but protect the interest of the public? Would the ANC prefer oversight committees whose sole purpose is to overlook any ANC wrongdoing? Would Gwede Mantashe, Jackson Mthembu, Fikile Mbalula, Blade Nzimande and others prefer a robust media that reports on any and all shortcomings and misdemeanors of all political parties, except the ANC?
How arrogant must the leadership be if they expect the public to simply swallow without question the fodder they're being fed?

For Blade Nzimande to say Jacob Zuma built Nkandla with his own money is an insult to our intelligence.  Really Blade? Just 4 years ago our president was singing poverty. Are we expected to believe that President Jacob Zuma's salary of R2.7million per annum was so well invested as to reap a 5000% return in 4 short years? Really Blade? Zuma's investors could teach the worlds most successful investor, Warren Buffet, a thing or two! I wonder why they never applied the same investment principles to Aurora mines, Eskom, SABC and a whole string of other failures the state had it's finger in?
Are we supposed to believe Gwede Mantashe when he says that economic growth has declined in the Western Cape, against all credible reports and statistics? I've never been a supporter of the DA but even one as critical of the party as I knows that the Western Cape is the best run province in the country. Even one as critical as I cannot accept Gwede's views on the Western Cape.
Are we supposed to accept Fikile Mbalula's views that the public are not allowed to show dissent at their president by booing him? Really Fikile? History has shown that booing is probably the mildest form of showing dissatisfaction against leadership. We come from a political history of brick-throwing, necklacing and molotov-cocktails. I would think booing is probably the most respectful show of dissatisfaction, considering our past.

While all political parties may be guilty to some degree of denialism and discrediting those who highlight shortcomings within parties, it is precisely because the ANC is currently the ruling party that the spotlight will be placed squarely on them.
If the leadership within the ruling party cannot understand and accept that it is the sign of a healthy democracy for citizens to criticize their leaders, than I am afraid the political school they have graduated from is in worse condition than our current education system.
0comments

Department Of Education: Policies Or Fallacies?

My opinion piece published on News24
April 07, 2014

"Our vision is of a South Africa in which all our people have access to lifelong learning, as well as education and training, which will, in turn, contribute towards improving the quality of life and building a peaceful, prosperous and democratic South Africa.
Our mission is to provide leadership with respect to provinces, districts and schools in the establishment of a South African education system for the 21st century."
The Vision and Mission statement of the Department Of Basic Education, South Africa.
By any standards, these are high goals to achieve for a third-world education system wanting to attain first-world success.
The Department Of Basic Education is more well known for it's recent failures than it is for it's many accomplishments. The textbook saga will unfortunately always follow Minister Angie Motshekga irrespective of the sterling work her department has achieved in other spheres of education. Speak of a failure on the part of our education leadership and the topic becomes synonymous with Minister Angie Motshekga. Speak about ASIDI, Dinaledi or NSNP (National School Nutrition Programme) and very few have heard about them or know what they are all about.
The same can be said for Minister Of Higher Education And Training, Blade Nzimande. While many will remember his department for their policy of a 30% matric pass requirement, the commendable work his department has done with SETA's (Sector Education And Training Authority) and VCET (Vocational And Continuing Education And Training) largely goes unnoticed.

With all these great policies in place for learners, beginning at the basic education level and working their way through the system until they emerge post-matric hopefully armed with their glossy and full-of-promise certificates, one has to wonder whether governments objectives have been achieved.
From the very outset, the private schooling system and the public schooling system have set very different values with vastly different playing-fields which never level themselves out, no matter how much we'd like to believe otherwise. The public or government schooling system starts at age 6 in Grade 0 as compulsory, and age 4-5 in Grade R as optional. For all intents and purposes, this is when a learner entering a government school will have his or her first interaction with a teacher. Compare that to your average private schooling learner, who's first interaction with a teacher is usually around the age of 3. That's a three year headstart on learning, albeit at it's most basic level.

Once in the learning stream, the real process of moulding these young minds to become leaders and champions of society really begins. It is in these formative years that the building blocks are set in place for future success. For too long the definition of success held by government was simply that a learner attains a matric certificate. The bar was lowered and standards were drastically dropped in order for government to achieve this goal. Some believed that this presented a win-win situation for the ANC, as it showed an increase in learners passing matric irrespective of the 30% pass debate, while simultaneously 'dumbing down' the youth to create a nation of sheep instead of young lions. Sheep prefer to be led, and simply follow the herd. Lions are independant and fearless, and their roar is backed by their bite. An entirely different conversation for the conspiracy theorist, but an interesting one nonetheless.

The extent of the problem becomes really evident once learners have completed matric and are now ready to embark on their tertiary education. For those with university entrance passes, the choice is quite simple; a university degree or diploma. For those with anything less than a university pass entrance, there are FET (Further Education And Training) colleges, SETA's  and trade schools. Remember that grades 10-12 are already regarded as non-compulsory in the education departments policy, as these fall under the FET banner.
With many universities and colleges complaining about such basics as literacy levels amongst learners exiting the higher education stream, the bottle-neck seams to favour those learners coming from private schools with higher literacy rates and better grades. The problem is further compounded by hard-working and deserving students from disadvantaged backgrounds who qualify for bursaries, who invariably would have attended public schools, and who want to now enter universities or colleges. This places a huge burden on tertiary institutions who want to produce the best and brightest minds within those short years a degree requires. By adding a bridging year to a 4 year course simply to attend to issues of literacy, learners are burdened with an additional year of education which requires funding. Many are already financially stretched to simply cover their current tuition costs.

The recent SABEC (South African Basic Education Conference) held at the end of March is an indication that government realizes the failures in some of their policies, and hopefully plans to charter a new course through our existing education quagmire. Whether these new policies and the shift in attitude will have a positive effect remains to be seen. It takes an average of 12 years, from the time a learner enters the education stream to the time they leave with a matric certificate, to fully assess the competency of any changes implemented now. If these new policies and changes were undertaken with the mindset of a Fortune 500 CEO, the very first step would be to test the system by increasing the matric pass rate drastically in 12 years, while simultaneously implementing stringent quality control measures at the end of each year starting from the next batch of Grade 0's entering the stream.

While the future may look bleak for those learners currently in the Grade 0-12 stream, governments acknowledgment of the problem and addressing it with a serious view to realistic solutions offers a glimmer of hope to tomorrow's leaders.

Monday, April 7, 2014

0comments

Here Comes Jacob Boo Boo

My post which appeared on News24, 01 April 2014
News24: Here Comes Jacob Boo Boo

Remember when President Jacob Zuma was booed at the memorial service of Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium in December of 2013?

My initial reaction was that this was highly disrespectful to the occasion, being Madiba’s memorial service, and also highly disrespectful to the legacy which Nelson Mandela was leaving behind. While the world watched in awe as we paid tribute to the life and achievements of one of its finest sons and statesmen, it also witnessed the culmination of sheer frustration being expressed by many at the stadium toward President Jacob Zuma and his ruling party, the ANC.

Debates raged on for weeks regarding the booing, and the ANC came out all guns blazing as they criticized the boo-ers.
While many may have agreed with the act of boo-ing, we also felt it was neither the time nor the place to show dissatisfaction at the president.

Fast-forward barely three months later and President Jacob Zuma gets booed once again as he walks onto the pitch at FNB Stadium for the post-match ceremony after Bafana Bafana played Brazil in an international friendly. This time it was Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who came out in Zuma’s defence, even calling the boo-ers “hooligans and cowards who’s plans are infused in Satanism at best”.

All this boo-ing of our President and subsequent criticism from the ANC of those doing the boo-ing got me thinking about this act of disgruntlement. How frustrated and disappointed must the people be to get to the point of actively boo-ing their President in public? How negative must public perception be that the nation would vent its anger every chance they got at the country’s leader? If people feel that they have the right to vent their frustrations in this manner, what would have set the precedent for this kind of dissent? If the ANC are so critical of this act, surely it’s political origin could not have come from within its ranks? Why would they demonize and criticize an act if the party had previously condoned it on previous occasions? Had they condoned it on previous occasions?

Then I remembered the infamous Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KwaZulu-Natal,  in August of 2005 where then Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was publicly boo-ed by none other than Jacob Zuma supporters. This after Jacob Zuma had been relieved of his position as Deputy President to face charges of corruption. I don’t recall the ANC being highly critical of Zuma’s supporters boo-ing Mlambo-Ngcuka, their Deputy President back then. The SABC was even taken to task for not having reported this incident.  The public broadcaster blamed the lack of footage on a freelance cameraman who arrived late. No surprises there.
In May of 2009, ex-President Thabo Mbeki was boo-ed as his arrival was announced at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Once again, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was not spared the wrath of sections of the crowd.

This form of venting dissatisfaction and frustration has been around for hundreds of years, and with the rise of social media networks it simply means that the public has quicker access to and immediate commentary on such acts as and when it happens. Twitter exploded instantaneously with news on each occasion of Jacob Zuma’s boo-ings at FNB Stadium .

So I find it rather disingenuous of the ruling party to tell us that showing dissent and exercising our freedom of speech by boo-ing that which we don’t agree with as satanic, cowardly and disrespectful. Where were these chastising voices when the people being boo-ed were out of favor with the leadership? I don’t recall Cyril Ramaphosa or Fikile Mbalula lambasting those members of the ANC boo-ing  Mbeki or Mlambo-Ngcuka and others? I don’t recall the people doing the boo-ing then, being referred to as ‘hooligans’.

If the ANC accepts that this act of boo-ing is par for the course when other political parties are on the receiving end, then they must accept when it happens to members of it’s own party too. If they condone the boo-ing of Helen Zille and Patricia De Lille, then they should accept the same treatment for President Jacob Zuma. I don’t accept the argument that he should be exempt from being boo-ed simply because he is the president. By that logic he is also the person who presides over his members and allows them to boo members of parliament unchecked. For goodness sake the MP’s themselves boo each other in the house. Just ask Terror Lekota, who by now must think his middle name is ‘Boo’!

I’m neither pro-Zuma nor pro-Mbeki, but I do believe that the ANC needs to stop treating the youth, the public at large, and anybody showing dissatisfaction with their leadership, as kids at a kindergarten. You reap what you sow. You cannot change the rules when the game is going against you.
I suspect that in the run-up to the elections, we are going to have a lot more boo-ing by a lot more disgruntled citizens. It’s become a fragment of our political quilt, much like toyi-toying, and parties need to accept that the people will be heard, one way or another.

Monday, March 24, 2014

0comments

Nkandla And It's Message To The Youth



Nkandla in the background, the Presidents neighbors in the foreground

Moeletsi Mbeki in a recent interview spoke about the sense of entitlement within the ANC leadership when he said  “The leaders think that the South African people owe them and can therefore delve into their budgets”. While this sense of entitlement may be true of the ANC and it’s current leadership, what does it really say to our youth, and what message does it portray to tomorrow’s leaders?

It’s only when we step away from the media and start connecting with what’s happening on the ground at a grassroots level that we get to see the smoke from the mirrors, and are able to pigeon-hole electioneering from reality. Political parties are on a massive roadshow to wax lyrical about their achievements and the progress they have made to better the lives of their constituencies. It’s the old “Rabbit From The Hat” magic trick, where they get the public to focus on what they want us to see, while the essence of what we really should be looking at is being hidden. It’s the same promises every four years, but craftily repackaged to make it seem as though every item on their political manifesto is suddenly a new challenge never before undertaken.

It is with this view that I had the opportunity to engage with a job candidate recently to see what the world looked like through the eyes of an unemployed ‘born-free’; a strapping and well-spoken bespectacled 20 year old who for all intents and purposes never got to live under any other leadership in South Africa other than the ANC.

Our conversation covered all the usual check-points (Crime, Poverty, Unemployment, Service Delivery, Healthcare, Elections, Hope and even Nkandla) and his answers for the most part where as I had expected them to be.
While he was disappointed at certain shortcomings and constant media reports on corruption and wasteful expenditure by government, there was a real sense of hope and optimism in the future. I say “There was” because it turns out he was willing to forgive all these shortcomings and place them in a box labelled ‘Teething Problems’ even though we are now 20 years into our new democracy, if only the Nkandla saga never happened.

I asked him to elaborate and this is what he said.
“As a young South African, I had to understand the forces at play within our political arena before subscribing to certain notions and beliefs. If I spent my day watching the news and reading the papers, I would easily be influenced to believe that my country was destined for failure and that nothing positive ever happened within our borders. I would be forced to believe that there has been no progress made in many spheres of our lives, and that my people are no better off today than they were before 1994.
I know this is not the reality because the sky hasn’t fallen and people who left our shores in droves for greener pastures are in fact coming back home, slowly but surely; for this is home. I believed President Zuma when he said he had a good story to tell. Put in context, opposition parties have a duty to only highlight the negative and as we all know, sometimes the ANC makes this quite an easy task for the DA and others. I know full well that the levels of corruption within government are unacceptably high but I’d like to think that these are matters being exposed and attended to by the relevant authorities. I’m willing to forgive all the shortcomings by the very same liberation movement and political party which won us our freedom. All in the name of ‘Teething Problems’.

Then along comes Nkandla.
R250 million for security upgrades and my President say’s he wasn’t aware of what was happening at his private residence? A report published by the Public Protector confirming that there was mismanagement and in some cases downright fraud of public money, and yet the ANC wants to refute this and protect the wrong-doers? Suddenly the corruption that I was willing to forgive seems like a mountain. The endless reports of mismanagement and fraud by municipalities and party members start painting a new picture, one where the sunshine and wheat-fields are replaced by the grim reality of pigs at a trough. So I have to ask myself for how much longer am I expected to be thankful for 1994 and what price do I have to continue paying for my freedom and liberties?”

I prefer not debating religion and politics as a personal choice but at this point I was too invested in his views and opinions to simply end the conversation.
We’ve witnessed a sense of entitlement across a broad spectrum of society and I wondered how this affects the youth. How does the ANC and President Zuma’s handling of Nkandla shape public opinion and perception especially in the demographic that is currently moulding tomorrows leaders? If the message from the First Citizen is that he hadn’t done anything wrong by accepting the spending of R250 million of public money that was destined for other government projects is to be believed, that one can safely assume he expects us the people to simply smile and move on. Clearly nothing to see here.

I asked this question and got this response:
“If ANC leaders think nothing of stealing from state coffers to enrich their own lives at the expense of those who need it most, than those who need it most will steal from those who have. You can’t teach a child not to steal, while spending your day shoplifting. Right now we as the youth are the children of the current leadership. As our political fathers and grandfathers they are telling us not to steal, while justifying their corruption with fancy phrases like “Unaware of the scope” and “Not involved in the process.” I haven’t had a job in 7 months. I haven’t paid rent in 4 months. My family hasn’t had a decent meal in 2 weeks. Maybe my family and I should start stealing to survive, and if we get caught, I will tell the police that my President say’s it’s fine. It’s no big deal. Maybe my story will make the newspaper. Maybe I will be regarded as a common thief. Maybe they will put me in jail… but what happens if everybody in my situation decides to do the same thing all at once? Will they jail hundreds of thousands of people across the country just because they wanted to put food on their tables? We don’t want or care about security upgrades and kraals and chicken-runs and swimming pools. We care about jobs and food.”

The youth have spoken, and I listened.
Julius Malema was bred and educated in the ANC Youth League. As a child of the parent, we as a nation saw first hand what a sense of entitlement can lead to. We observed how difficult and challenging it was for the parent to discipline the child. Today he has chartered a course through the stages of youth to emerge as a political leader himself. He has surrounded himself with politicians and academics guiding his political party through the potholed landscape of South African politics.
There are hundreds of thousands of Julius Malema’s out there who are the children and grandchildren of this great liberation movement, the ANC. They don’t have access to politicians and academics who will guide them. They are watching keenly how their President and their leadership handle Nkandla.
Nkandla is the litmus test to their sense of entitlement.
My hope is that the leadership of our country sit up and listen before it is too late.
My hope is that President Zuma and the ANC address Nkandla before Nkandla becomes the war-cry of Josiah and every other unemployed youth of South Africa.
My hope is that the candle of hope never gets extinguished in the people of this beautiful country.

Friday, March 7, 2014

0comments

Medical Marijuana, Or Holy Smoke That Was Dope!


After Inkatha Freedom Party politician, cancer victim and Member of Parliament Mario Oriani-Ambrosini introduced a discussion in the house on legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, South Africans have been abuzz about the possibility of this being passed as law.

Firstly I must confess that I have tried smoking marijuana or 'dagga' as it's commonly called, on one previous occasion, and immediately proceeded to cough so violently as to projectile vomit what I can only describe as a small ostrich clean across the length of my swimming pool. If 9 out of 10 doctors recommend Colgate, I'm always going to be the guy using Close Up. So it stands to reason that if 9 out of 10 of my friends enjoy smoking the occasional 'joint', I'm not surprised that I am THAT guy. The guy who can't handle his 'joint'. Admittedly I'm basing all of this on just one single attempt, but if that one attempt had me discussing religion and quantum physics with Elvis and Bob Marley until the early hours of the morning, I think it's fair to assume that a single 'joint' has the same effect on me as an entire pharmaceutical concoction has on Snoop Dogg. OK, bad example.
But you get my point.

So it was with interest that I followed the debate on whether marijuana should be legalized or not. Since I have no bias on the issue, being unfazed both literally and figuratively by the humble 7 leaf clover, I understood both sides of the argument while honestly only agreeing with one.

The marijuana smokers insist that the plant is not a drug. While it may have mild hallucinogenic properties, these can be equated to your morning caffeine fix or evening shot of whiskey. The addictive properties are no worse than cigarettes bought over the counter at your local cafe. The medicinal properties are too numerous to mention, but include pain alleviation and in certain cases, fighting off cancers and other nasty bodily afflictions. They make a fairly good argument for the legalization of marijuana.

The group opposed to the legalization of marijuana are simply durg-dealers of the worst kind in the pursuit of profits and personal gain.
Wait. That came out wrong.
The group opposed to the legalization of marijuana are simply the big pharmaceutical companies and their supporters who realize that legalizing the plant would cost them billions of dollars in lost revenue.
Yes. Billions of dollars.
Cancer is a huge money-spinner and cash-cow for pharmaceutical companies. I've done sufficient research on a drug companies business model to know what inspires them. If you think it's helping and healing the world, you're probably a recreational Tik smoker with a heavy drinking problem.
Drug companies make money off the manufacture of drugs for the management of the most common ailments and diseases.
Now read that line again slowly, a few times if need be, and allow it to sink in.
'Drug companies make money off the manufacture of drugs.' This we know.
'For the management of the most common ailments and diseases.' The management of... not the eradication of.
It's not a really smart business model to be manufacturing drugs that totally cure certain ailments. That kills off recurring business, and as we all know, it's recurring business that rakes in the profits.
You don't believe me?
Google "Why Drug Companies Don't Find Cures" and you will come up with about 350 million links.
Pick one. Any one. Then read and ask yourself why it all sounds so familiar.
The one I liked best was Why Medicine Won't Allow Cancer To Be Cured

Getting back to the legalization of marijuana.
Since drug companies can't regulate the sale of the plant and have no control over it's merchandise value and since there are no shareholders or boards of executives involved when growing this plant in your backyard, they simply fund lobby groups who in turn convince governments and law makers that the growing, harvesting, selling or use of the plant should be outlawed.
In essence, if they can't make money off the game, they might as well ban it.

It seems that the tide is turning, albeit slowly. People, ordinary citizens, are finally starting to protest in loud enough voices that governments and lawmakers are forced to sit up and take notice. It's happening all across the United States, it's happening across large parts of Europe, and it's happening right here on our very own doorsteps.
Expect the fightback from big pharmaceuticals to get more pronounced. Expect them to demonize dagga smokers and make you believe that they are all junkies. Expect to be told that crime rates will soar and road accidents will sky-rocket if marijuana is legalized.
When all is said and done, simply ask them why the number one cause of cancer is still being marketed and sold across the counter, across the world; why the number one cause of road fatalities throughout the world is still being marketed and sold at liquor stores and supermarkets and restaurants all across the planet; why the combined deaths from alcohol abuse and smoking-related cancer is so large on a pie-graph that the fatalities from marijuana use don't even feature as a pixel on the page. (I know because I actually tried doing such a pie-graph!)

We will never be able to remove money from the equation when it comes to public health or government for that matter. What we as citizens must do, and have every right to do, is make our voices heard loud enough and consistently enough that we effect the positive changes we deserve.

Friday, February 28, 2014

0comments

Fight The Good Fight



You know how i can tell that this post was meant to be written?
Halfway through writing it, my iPad just restarted and I lost everything I had written up to that point! That pretty much sums up 2014, and we're only 2 months into the year. My battle-weary bones are screaming for a time-out. I've heard of a lady who does spiritual healing and aligns your chakras. Maybe I'll have that done. I'm not sure what aligning the chakras are all about, but it sounds like something important. Maybe after I've had my chakras aligned I'll stop pulling to the left or suddenly start wobbling at high speed. Admittedly aligning the chakras does sound like something only a professional should be doing. Someone like Tiger Wheel & Tyre.

So I made a bucket list at the end of 2013, and this past week I had some time to go through the list and amend it. By amend it I mean delete 95% of everything I initially put down and focus on just 2 items.
# My health (well that's kind of in a spiral that has a life form all of its own. Even my doctor has taken up smoking with all the stress my health has given him, and Discovery is considering naming a new health policy after me.)
# The New Business Venture. This is something exciting that I've always wanted to do but always second-guessed myself on. I should have done it 2 years back but alas fate led me down another path. The opportunity has presented itself again, and everybody knows opportunity never knocks twice... So here goes nothing :) 
Watch this space!

In other news, Villa Kaloo is on the market and as much as I love my home, I think it's time for change. We're considering a move to the coast. The pursuit of quality of life I guess.

Clearly there are big changes ahead. 

Moving right along. 

It's election time again, which means promises of a better life for all and a prosperous future will be sprinkled about like rice at a Chinese wedding. I'm currently working on an election post as well and I think you'll be surprised at who could potentially get my vote.

Ok I'm seriously going to have to end this post right here because Piranha 3DD is currently on the telly and it's just so shockingly bad, it's actually quite riveting!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

0comments

Life Begins At 40

I feel so much wiser suddenly. More mature even. More grown-up almost.
I feel like my grandfather (who quite possibly became a grandfather by the age of 40!)

It's like I went to bed on the 22nd of January, the night before my birthday, and woke up on the day of my birthday with a Wisdom Elixir. That and a bigger belly.
Or maybe, just maybe, somewhere in the run-up to this milestone birthday, I realized that letting go is the greatest reward you can give yourself.

Letting go of everything and everybody that holds you back.
Letting go of every thought and memory that casts a dull cloud over a sunny disposition.
Letting go of people's perceptions of you, and realizing that it's more important to think of yourself highly than for others to do so.

I used to sign my emails off a few years ago with the tagline "Fight The Good Fight."
In all honesty I never really took the time to fully understand what that meant. I do now. We spend our lives putting out petty fires that never really threaten the well-being or livelihood of the forest. We get so engrossed in righting every wrong that we lose focus of simply enjoying the moment for what it is.

Sometimes letting go means having to walk away from people or situations that at one point meant all the world to you.
Sometimes it's your closest and dearest friends.
Sometimes it's your very livelihood and work environment.
Sometimes, yes sometimes, it's family.
There really is only so much you can do and give of yourself before you need to let go and move on. Find another pasture, another wolf-pack, another crew.

Last year I found my crew. I found the group of crazy individuals who make me feel whole. People I can let my hair (what little hair I have left) down in front of, laugh until my belly aches with, and even wear my silk gown in front of on a night out at a fancy restaurant :)

In them I have found my garden of youth, and as with any garden, I guess it will constantly need pruning and have the weeds removed.... but I feel as though it's a garden I belong in.
The night of my birthday was special for many reasons.
Having such dear friends stand up and tell me why I mattered to them, why I wasn't insignificant, and why the friendship lives and breathes was the kind of gift you could never put a price or value on.
For this and for having them in my circle of friends, I am truly honored and grateful.

People always start the year off saying "This is the year for change."
That's great, just as change is great. Except when you're 6 months into the year and haven't changed a thing. Step 1 for me was to stop hoarding. Stop hoarding people in my life like they were old bicycle parts which were never going to be of any help or value. Let go of the clutter. Focus on what matters and forget about what doesn't. If the fire is not going to burn down the forest, stop trying to put it out. Let it burn itself out.

And find your wolf-pack :)



 

The Kaloo report Ripped by @mirfaan © 2010