South Africa was a really fun place to be. Smiles everywhere… from the people and not just small smirks or blushes but bright, shining smiles that were pure joy!
For faces to light up after years of oppression, death and sadness showed me that people were really blessed find a secret joy that made them feel alive and free. Even the little brown children’s cheeks would glow red. It was like I was living in a dream, actually, because the people’s lives were so vastly different than my own.
I pondered this thought: after years of the suppression and oppression, that the people of South African descent would have loads of residue that would still exist – even ten years after apartheid ended its reign- which was when I visited. Internally, this may be true; however the fact remains that maybe also they were glad to finally be “free” and that joy is what resonated with me upon my visit.
There were several signs of poverty and the shantytowns ( row and rows of tiny homes and shacks made by those living in the villages) that had several holes in them that kept out some light- not all, but not the cold. I remember the chill of the morning in May of 2003, and seeing the cold of my breath, in the AM hours, and the tiny holes where sunlight came in.
I wondered to myself:
How do they rest, when it’s so cold? Then, I realized REST in something developed within. It really doesn’t matter how cold you are on the outside, if you can develop a peace within and contentment from living in a community with people who care for you. My South African friends taught me this. I was only there for three weeks, and it feels like the lessons I learned were forever lessons.
I can only imagine how difficult it was to sleep in a place like this in the winter.
Yet these smiling faces never stopped showing up .. time and time again…they were inspiring for me, hopeful and helpful. Even to me, as a visitor. At the time, I was facing an imminent divorce, as I returned to the states.
I can truly say, the people in this country inspired me, rejuvenated me, and sparked my joy once again. Their inspired living caused me to reach for more. To make certain I lived out the meaning of my new name: Nthabiseng -which means Make Me Happy.
Thank you, South Africa.
Did you enjoy this reading? If so, visit my newsletter and get regular updated reading in which you can practice self- actualization exercises. We are located at the Mentor My Sister site, simply click here.