Building Communities. Building Lives.

 Initial Mode: My initial Concept and Understanding of a “Community”.

‘Community’ is an aspect that we interact and associate with in our day to day life activities and yet ironically one of those broad major aspects as human beings that we struggle to understand and grasp its concepts. We daily emphasise on the need of unity and collectiveness in our diversities and differences, quality service delivery and co-existing together in peace and harmony without really pausing and reflecting on the deeper concepts and insights of what really a community is. Most of our understanding of community and rather the definition I was exposed to was that A community is simply a collection of people who speak the same language and have the same cultural practises and history living in the same location residence. This was the same definition and concept that both my Primary and Secondary Education system raised me to view the aspect community as. Having grew up in a small Kenyan Village where most people practised farming and spoke the same Kamba Language, the younger version of me would have agreed and settled for this definition and concept due to the lack of exposure to other ways of life and practises.

ggggggggggggg

                           But is that all there is in a community?

Transition and Learning Mode: Other Concepts and Aspects of a Community.

My understanding of the term community has changed and diverged since my exposure to the Social Infrastructure Course. I have learnt and understood community beyond my normal assumptions and stereotypes that I linked to the word community. For example, my initial assumption that a community must speak the same language and cultural practises has been challenged by my recent visit to the District Six Museum. While here, I learnt and was fascinated by the fact that the District Six comprised of people of different races, cultures and even languages and yet they co-existed together in harmony and peace as one large diverse community.

444444.jpg

A community is beyond Race and Ethnicity groups. We create these divisions ourselves!!

Rohleder et al. (2008), suggests that a community is just not about trees and shops. And that a community can be described in multiple ways depending on different experiences and backgrounds of the individuals. The Exploring to the City Class experience opened different markers of affiliations that people use to describe communities. One of the aspects that came up was Race and the Levels of Income issue. Although we were on the same Cape Town City geographical location some regions were well off in terms of service delivery and infrastructure compared to other regions and each of these regions had a majority certain type of race that lived in that space. It was clear that the conditions at the Station Deck were deteriorated compared to the ones at the Bree Street and yet ironically these two regions are just some minutes’ walk away from each other. What stood out most was the Suffering of Black Lives at one part of the City and the luxurious fancy lifestyle of the White people at the other part of the City. It was also sad to notice that the only black people who were in these privileged spaces were only there as servants to the white people! This is a clear indication of how race and levels of income has played a major role in community segregation and division today.

 

On the other hand, I was also amazed and shocked to discover how mere buildings, structures and infrastructure play a very deep role on the aspect of community. One of my classmates pointed out the issue of Statues.  The big contrast between how black and white people are remembered in our societies today! She pointed out the fact that black heroes’ statues are mostly presented in chains and shackles symbolising them as submissive while white people statues are presented while raiding on horses and sitting in throne chairs symbolising them as superior. This has challenged me as a young emerging professional to not conceive the community as just an object that I can plug into and interact with to just get my job or project done! Link et al. (2011), suggests that we should slow down the service- learning process and rather spend more time assessing the nature of the communities around us.

A picture of Lovis Botha Statue riding on a horse Outside the South Africa Parliament. Some of the writings on the statue that I noted were ” Lovis Botha, 1862-1919, Farmer, Warrior and Statesman”

Link et al. (2011) brings another view of what a community is when he suggests that the ‘community’ is far from a unified, monolithic entity that we have presumed it to be. He emphasise how communities are complex, changing and multi-faceted and we should NOT always perceive community as always stable, concrete and unified collective but rather as a heterogenous entity. I could relate and link Link’s view to how the Government Policies play a big role to either building or destroying our own very communities. The same government and government officials that we as normal citizens vote for! I interacted with Sir Mohammed Benjamin at the District Six Museum and he pointed out the previous nature of District Six Community; how they had a rich culture, character and integrity. How children grew up with an understanding that they had to greet, to say thank you and not to fight and argue. “We had a perfect community of Afrikaners, English, Jews, Africans and even Indians. We lived as one Big Family. But the government couldn’t just understand how so many different nationalities could live together?”.

555

An example of Government Policy that was put forward that contributed to community segregation.

Link et al. (2011) says, “It is of course no surprise nor is it necessarily alarming that our project experience did not match up with our classroom experience; such is the nature of experiential education.” During the Explore My City and the District Six Museum visit I quite felt related to this statement in a way. There was a very wide gap between my classroom engagements, views and discussions about the whole community aspect compared to what I found out community to be when I was physically immerged in the community itself! I felt like everything that I was ever taught about community was wrong! I felt like the Education System has been brain washing me and sugar-coated what really community was all this time! I didn’t feel like I really belonged anywhere! I just felt hopeless. Or maybe this is all what community is all about! Just hopelessness! All I could feel was just anger especially when I was at the Prestwich Memorial. The sad fact that even the dead people are being displaced! These poor lives have been stripped out their identities! And the fact that they are just taken and regarded just a number! One of the banners read “The smell was so bad that the air in the streets was absolutely offensive” while another banner quoted how during the displacement some slaves token and shackles where found underground. This meant these poor lives although dead they were never given a chance to be free! They were still entitled to slavery even when dead! Does this symbolise community segregation even among the dead spirits? I found this quite disrespectful.

Another site that we visited that has contributed to my view on community was the South Africa Parliament. Upon arrival we discussed the environment itself, the monuments around and the different ways of lives around the parliament at large. And the first sight observation that I couldn’t avoid it no matter how hard I tried to, was the availability of the many security guards and fierce dogs around, which maybe I understand why or maybe not. I kept asking myself, “Is it to protect the Government? And if so, from what and who really?! Is it its own people?!Was this to symbolize Power or Fear?” And anyway, who protects the normal man? Or the normal innocent man does not succumb to any dangers?! I had all these many questions in my mind and I don’t quite have their answers yet. I don’t really understand how these systems work. To me such an environment was quite intense. Too many security guards around but I still didn’t feel safe!

1.jpg

Street View of the South Africa Parliament.

Despite all these security at the “Governments’ gates”, it was quite emotional to also see street people and some street families making a living just outside the Parliament gates and everything happening around as if nothing is wrong. Robert Chambers in Link’s article published in 1983 that “Poor people are rarely met; when they are met, they often do not speak; when they speak, they often cautious and deferential; and what they say is often either not listened to, or brushed aside, or interpreted in bad light” There was so much suffering and poverty evident among our people, not even far behind the city walls or in townships; not even far from our own eye pupils; but just around us maybe even within some of us! To me a Parliament is a symbol of unifying, justice, equality and responsibility. But all I could see was the Greed and unconcerned attitude of the government and its official. And I kept asking myself “How much more poverty are we supposed to be immersed in before the Government can actually do something about it? How much more suffering for our people?”

IMG_20180620_155907_107

A representation of Street People just dwelling outside the South Africa Parliament Fence

 

Final Mode: My Current Enriched View Of What A Community Is.

This transition journey of understanding the community has widen my view scope of what I conceptualised community to be. I have challenged my assumptions and stereotypes that I initially linked and associated community with. Although I might not have a defined set of words to define what I understand a community to be, deep down my heart I know the things and the aspects that don’t make and contribute to building a community. I know that we all can co-exist in peace and harmony together just the way we all similar human beings all together!

Importance to me as a student and future professional.

I have reflected in depth as a young emerging professional the importance of looking critically into the interests, large cultural variability and different attitudes of everyone in a community and not just work with the interests of just one particular person or organisation. I have also learnt the importance of creating equitable and effective solutions to the community without creating further impacts and problems for example as with the Shamila’s House Crisis case.

Importance to me as a Citizen.

I have also learnt and understood the role I play as a citizen, and how my actions either build or destroy my own community. As a citizen I have also learnt to know my rights and my community’s rights and voicing up in a civilised way when these rights are violated or not exercised. And as a democracy country I have also learnt to look beyond race and ethnicity divisions and also embracing my role in voting in for the right leaders and governing policies that benefit and uphold my community.

Building Communities. Building Lives.

Written by Bredah Musili Nzuki.

Advertisements

Through My Eyes

2018/06/20  Wednesday

Thanks for joining me!

My day today started a bit late compared to my alarm set time. All I remember was waking up at 8.47am; of course cursing and drowning myself in guilt for my ultimate gift of snoozing my alarms!

I had to get ready for my Exploring the City off campus class. And the meeting point was the Hiddingh UCT Campus.

Of Course, I missed Breakfast! I always miss Breakfast!

And Basically, that is how my normal every day-to-day mornings almost looks like.

I arrived at Hiddingh UCT Campus twenty minutes earlier to the set time, 10am. Let’s say it was fated that I would arrive early for once and actually have time to chat and meet a really cool friend. You curious?! Udaku utaacha!

Anyway, I meet Dylan. He was quite interesting. Huhu! Anyway, today we ain’t going to talk anything to do with him. Maybe for another day.

So keep reading and discover.

The schedule for the City Touring off campus class was really tight. We got to visit various places which include;South Africa Parliament, Capetown Station and Station Deck, Prestwich Street Memorial, Bree Street and Company Gardens.

Today I want to talk about Our first stop, the South Africa Parliament; which we walked to from the Hiddingh UCT Campus.

Upon arrival we discussed the environment itself, the monuments around and also the different ways of lives around the parliament at large.

South Africa Parliament

A picture showing the South Africa Parliament at the Main Entry Gate.

 

First sight observation that you couldn’t avoid it no matter how hard you tried to, was the availability of the many security guards and fierce dogs around, which maybe I understand why or maybe not.

Is it to protect the Government? And if so, from what and who really?!

Is it its own people?!

And anyway, who protects the normal man? Or the normal innocent man does not succumb to any dangers?!

I have all these many questions in my mind and I don’t quite have their answers. I don’t understand how these systems work. Someone help me understand; I think am running mad.

To me such an environment was quite intense.

Too many security guards around but I still didn’t feel safe! I could feel my heart beat faster and my palms get sweaty. Why the Police van? Is it because UCT students were coming for a class tour?

What does that symbolize?

Power or Fear?! Because of late I am not quite sure of the difference between this two terms. I ain’t lying!

IMG_20180620_155936_225

Street View of the South Africa Parliament.

 

One particular theme that most students felt a need to discuss about was the Lovis Botha Statue.

Who is Lovis Botha? (27 September 1862 – 27 August 1919)

He was a South African politician who was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa and the forerunner of the modern South African State. A Boer War hero during the Second Boer War and he would eventually fight to have South Africa become a British Dominion.

Janet Heard, in 2015, writes:“Lovis Botha statue should be removed from its pedestal”

Go find out more. Trust me you need to know!

img_20180620_155814_285.jpg

Lovis Botha Statue Riding on a Horse.

What do you think about the imposing statue of Boer General Lovis Botha on a horse back, slap bang at the entrance of Parliament? Don’t answer me, I know my answer already!

Another aspect I personally found quite sad was the environment around the Parliament.

IMG_20180620_155907_107

 Street People just dwelling outside the South Africa Parliament Fence.

It was quite emotional to see street people and some street families making a living just outside the Parliament gates. So much suffering and poverty evident among our people, not even far behind the city walls or in townships; not even far from our eye pupils; but just around us maybe even within some of us!

To me a Parliament is a symbol of unifying, justice, equality and responsibility.

Is it not the same gates that the MPs go through before discussing and approving the Country’s Economy and National Budget? Do they even pause and consider these innocent suffering souls? What does this speak about our societies around us? How much more poverty are we supposed to be immersed in before the Government can actually do something about it? How much more suffering for our people?

Someone enlighten and tell me, Please!

Just how much more! Don’t you see we are tired already.

Robert Chambers once published in 1983 that “Poor people are rarely met; when they are met, they often do not speak; when they speak, they often cautious and deferential; and what they say is often either not listened to, or brushed aside, or interpreted in bad light”

I am tired. Not from the writing, but from carrying my heart around. It is so heavy; I can’t bear it anymore.

Will there be a time that we will all co-exist in harmony with one another? And if so when?

And whom?!

Who will deliver us?

Who will at last listen to the cries of our people! Who will stop our ailments and pain?

And by then, will we have survived? Because, the pain gets too much unbearable every single day. The will to live diminishes with every setting sun. The light seems too far unreachable.

We no longer really believe in hope. The more the hope, The more the Hurt!

Someone Help Us! 

 

Written and Edited By,

Bredah Musili Nzuki.

 

 

 

 

 

The Beauty Africa.

Of the World,
We got our Africa.
Or rather for its full of life let me say “The Beauty Africa”.
A continent created to ooze greatness.
To ooze joy, merry, enlightenment,
And huhu ooze life full of opportunities, innovation and positivity.
But Oh well! Sad as it is! All this happens to be like fantasy stories, like the ones our grandmothers used to tell us when we were kids.
All that can be heard are echoes. Echoes of sadness. Echoes of hungry kids crying out loud to their mothers. Echoes of a wailing rape victim. Echoes of a poor woman suffering at the verge of domestic violence.
Just echoes of wailing and negativity from all its borders and corners!

saddddddddd

I love Africa. It’s my home. But it causes me so much pain.

We speak of a better Africa. A collaborated one. One set onward to a particular great goal. A dream of Africa being the Bliss Continent. A paradise on Earth!

But we forget one thing! Oh well, Let me remind you. Oh poor forgetful minds.

How can this come in reality when amongst ourselves we are driven by lack of collaboration or rather hearts full of hatred.

jjjjjjjjjj

Hatred Kills Everything.

Just a little maths here.
Lack of collaboration=Full Percent Confusion= Lack of Innovation.

Okay! Lets come back to reality.

When will the fun Africa day come?
Just full merry everywhere at the bleak of the day break. A day where we will all join hands.Like the way kids innocently do as they play outside. Irrespective of whether our hands are black or white. Just join hands in mind knowing that beneath these different coloured skin we got a similar red blood. A similar humanity. A similar heart beat.

k,yyyyyyyy

Simunye (We are One)

And then…

Just Focus. Focus on making a great continent. Collaborate in togetherness in making a beautiful home. Focus on innovative ideas of greatness.

Working Hard. Everyone sweating out their part out. Sweating each day, not from the hatred amongst each other, not on political calamities, not from wars.
But sweating a sweet joyful sweat out. A sweat that we know amongst ourselves that at the end of the day, as the sun goes down, we would have a beautiful meal on the table for all us to enjoy and dig in.

wowwwwwwwwwww

The beauty Africa

And then…

We will sit round the fire place as we listen to sweet fantasy stories from our grannies knowing deep down we are living in this paradise fantasy ourselves.
And Africa will echo and ooze laughter, satisfaction and happiness. Kids will play out free in the sand, as mothers shake milk from calabashes and the men harvest honey. The government will be at peace with its people and the economic growth and innovation would have expounded so big than we could ever quantify in our imaginations.

A one big happy family. Simply because we Collaborated.
The Beauty Africa.

By Bredah Musili Nzuki.

 

The Impossible Possible.

Hey You, yes You. Stop looking back.

You winked back at me on the runway on the 11th street last Friday. You were on some nice African print shirt. Oh God! You looked so hot. Honestly.

You remember me now?! No?!

Eish! Some people can just be snobs. Anyway never mind.

I eavesdropped your conversation with your other two friends. Actually, I  listened to all of it. Yeah that’s right. Everything. I can be such a creepy sometimes. Do I have your attention now? Good.

I heard you whisper to your pals that everything on this planet was possible. You certain about that? Wait. Where the hell did you even pick that up from! What if you are wrong? What if it is just a random notion everyone easily says it out?

Easy tiger! You disagree?! Okay. What about this?

It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Oh yeah! That’s right! Otherwise your eyeballs are gonna fucking fly out of their sockets.

A0665707[1]

How do you spell a sneeze?! Atishoo…?!

Jesus! You can be so predictable. So now that you just tried it out, what did you find out?

Still waiting for more prove? Funny enough I actually have quite a number!

Can you see your own face without a reflection or a mirror? I guess not, unless you have a charming friend to check it out for you.

Should I go on. I guess not.

You see! Exactly my point. I am right! At least for now that you can’t prove me wrong.

Oh Wait! Interesting!

IMG_20180111_094934_884[1]

What if I told you that actually we are both wrong?Hmm!?

Absurd right?!

What if I told you that actually all things are possible but you just don’t have to do them. At least not yet!

That they are just meant to be left undoneYeah that’s insane. I know.

Think about it though. Think about it deeply. For those who practice meditation, lemme guess, your eyes are now completely shut. Isn’t that scary though? I mean feeling like you dipped completely in this dark black evil darkness that is swallowing you up alive. Oh God! I need to stop watching horror movies. I can’t even switch off my bedroom lights at night. It is absurd! Anyway never mind.

So back to what I was saying. Check this out.

Is it possible to make all people happy?. Of course it is. I utterly agree. But the big question is do you wind up being happy yourself at the end of pleasing everyone and making them happy?

Image result for broken relationship images

Lemme guess!? You always end up alone and sad! Right?!. I mean what a waste!

And that’s the biggest problem. We forget that we can’t pour from an empty mug.
We always want to paint a good picture to others. That we are caring and kind, when deep down these people are actually taking advantage of us and eating and sucking up our own happiness. By the time you notice, you are already a dry well.

Would I be wrong if I also said “ It is impossible to make everyone happy.” ?  Of course not. I am also absolutely 100% right.

In simple words, the possibility and impossibility of things and actions all depend on the individual. It is all about the satisfactory, benefit and growth you getting from the particular action.

So my friend, yes You, I am still talking to you remember? Don’t pick up and bleed for unnecessary battles. You will end up carrying mountains that you were only meant to climb.

And Oh yes! It is possible to be happy. It is possible to be successful. It is possible!

Be Happy. Stay Happy.

The Rash of Turning 20

Turning twenty can be such a big worry to any teenage girl.

Turning 20 years is just weird. Honestly it is!

I don’t know is it the fact that you have been a teenager for the last seven years and you just not yet ready to let go of it that easily or is it all the fun and weirdo stuff you could do under the bracket that you a teenager. Or is it all the guilt and punishment you could escape?!

Oh God, its absurd.

I also don’t know. I just know that am not ready yet.

06.icecreameating.0722.mg

Older Sister: Yuck He is so disgusting. Yew!!! Mother: Let him be for Christ’s sake!!! He is just a teenager!

I hope you can now relate. It’s kinda sad actually that nature and time  just forces you to leave all this fantasy and wonderful life behind. Even when you not ready yet to hit the delete button to teenage life. Oh, I feel awful!

I mean what’s wrong with time. It’s always in a rush to some notion nowhere destination. I wish i could trade and negotiate with it for an extra copy of another 19 years. They say there is always a second chance to utmost everything but not when it involves Mr. Time.

Its so Ironical.

Chance itself means time. So literally second chance just means second time. Right?!

But Mr. Time cant allow that. I mean what is second chance supposed to mean even?!And who gives it? Cause I am sure Mr. Time is just too mean to do it.

Oh! Wait!

What if there is another Mr. Time Junior. The one who sneaks around and  gives people these second chances. I could write him a letter dipped with some love, he must be very lonely. Imagine living with only oldie Mr. Time in the same apartment. Sucks right?

I’m a genius. I am writing him. Mmmmh! You never know maybe this my second chance. Right?!

IMG_20180111_094934_884[1]

What’s Mr. Time Junior Physical Address?!

Oh Dear! Never Mind. Forget it. What was I even thinking?

Jesus! This was just a terrible stupid idea.

I just wish. I wish could rewind back like some mix tape. I wish. But unfortunately “If wishes were horses beggars could ride”.

I look back at my teenage years and just see a void of undone goals. Time just flew while i was counting luck games and skipping rope. Mr Time just kept on flying. He didn’t bother to wait.

I stand in front of my mirror now and i see this wrinkled skin and grey hair. I don’t know is it just in my head or is it real?! I can’t just tell the difference anymore. I am losing my memory. Is it Alzheimer’s? Oh please God, NO.

I mean, I could ask my Best friend Bisky about it, but its no surprise she would joke about it all year long. She can be such a jerk sometimes. But Oh God! I love her. I wish she knew how much.

I guess its clear, I cant collect up spilt water.

I just can’t, despite how much I wish I could. Its just one of those many Impossible things. But I thought they said all things are possible!Right? I still don’t understand. Anyway lets leave this for another day.

So, lets do it. A letter to 20.

Dear 20, I am still yet to figure out whether you are a Mr or a Mrs and whether you have a junior or not.

Yeah, that’s right. I still don’t understand you. Just give me some more time and we could be the best friends that ever lived on this planet. I promise.

There are lots of shameful stuff I have done. I am grateful for this new chance and beginnings.

Please 20, be nice to me. Don’t harass me. I am just a teenager. Oops! I meant I am just a newie recruit!!

P.S. I can be such a charm and lovely sometimes. Actually most of the time.

See you soon 20.