My soul was raised in this glorious land, its where I was shaped, by the quiet echoes of my forefathers, a layer of people before me who have trodden tentatively. I have walked where generations of brave and tormented souls have suffered, and shed blood into its russet earth. I have seen flocks of birds flee into the skies, crying in horror at this unnecessary spillings. My country is culture rich and fertile and has felt my bare feet caressed by its soil and sand. I am sculptured from its cultures and traditions, taught by its education systems molded by its harsh segregations. Its scent lingers on my skin, I have watched its flowers bloom under a gentle sun and eaten the fruits from its plentiful vegetation’s. South Africa has fed me and watered me and it courses through my veins. It is a part of my very being. Yet it tries to spit me out like an unripe piece of fruit or an unsavoury taste.
My cries of frustration at its unfair state, have been carried through the sulfurous air, undetected. My fingers have swept through its feathery grass and my ears have witnessed the sounds of it’s magnificent wild creatures, roaming its fields, plains and forests, untarnished and free. And yet I am not seen as one of its own. It is such, that because of my Indian face and my dark skin, that my bloodline can only be traced back back to the immigrant intake of 1860 when Indentured Indian labourers were brought by the British, to plant sugar cane in the region I grew up in . Am I faceless a number? To a government who once insisted it was going to help change the past and build a better future. But it didn’t! Twenty years free, and yet we are not free, not in any sense. Apartheid is a malicious word from a futile past, but how it still haunts our present.
My years of giving for my country, have they been in vein? Has the colour of my skin determined my path? You would look at me and call me an Indian man. Because we very rarely see beyond race and colour. We don’t see that some of those black faces, Asian, Indian or other giving souls, have contributed to its economy and its society and seeped deep into its very history. They have collectively enriched a country, listened to it’s heart beat and lived its rage and danced its sorrow and pain- wept its terrible losses.
I am an African man with an Indian face and yet my love of the country that embraced me, presented me with an eye opening and complex childhood, smeared with memories of segregation and fear and emotional sacrifices. And yet I do love my country and want to serve my country fellow men, who are also Africans, no matter where their origin. Hard working communities whose fingers have dug into its earth and planted crops on its bountiful fields, have breathed in its beautifully tragic fragrance, poured, blood, sweat and tears into this splendid ancient land.
I want to be heard as a proud South African man who has listened the whispers of a devastatingly cruel past and yet I want to shout loud, inhale the needs, provide attention and take in the concerns, be a patriotic leader. One who can sew this society back together and educate, and be trusted to change our corrupt systems, and fight the eternal political lies. I believe I deserve a chance at the podium, and to be a voice for those of you who need me.
And I believe that time is now!