The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I love Africa. I love the melting pot of many cultures, the beauty of both the rolling grasslands and the rocky mountains.  Africa is a beautiful continent. It is also a place of violence and kindness. Africa is a place of vast dichotomies. Chasms so wide they cannot always be breached.

Yesterday my domestic goddess Cordelia had more bad news. Her theory: it is due to negative energy in IY. For the non-locals, IY stands for Imizamo Yethu, the township in our little village. The African culture has a lot of beliefs which are linked to their ancestors and believe that spirits continue to take an interest in the affairs of the living and possess the ability to influence events. Many Africans still go to a Sangoma, or a witch doctor as they are sometimes known, to ‘cure’ many issues, both physical and spiritual.

However Cordelia is a Christian so I guess maybe to her spirit is spirit – there is both good and bad like in most things in life and she says she feels the negativity hanging over our township.

They say trouble comes in threes and for Cordelia’s family this is true.

At the end of last year one of Cordelia’s brothers got into a fight and stabbed a man who later died. He is now in Pollsmoor Prison awaiting trial.

A few months prior to this happening Cordelia got a call at work to say that her younger brother was dead – he had been stabbed by his son’s boyfriend.

The latest news was that her cousin has committed suicide, he hung himself in his shack. He had a wife and children, he had a good job and we wonder what it was that led him to the decision to take his life. We will most likely never know.

At the beginning of this year we also had news that Norm’s ex-wife had committed suicide by hanging. They say that if someone hangs themselves they are committed to the task, it is not a cry for help, it is an attempt to end it all. People keep saying that they find suicide such a selfish act, that people who commit suicide are only thinking of themselves, that they cannot imagine being that desperate.

To those people I say that if you have never experienced depression then you cannot attempt to understand and that you should try not to judge anyone else. You will never know the depth of complete desolation, the darkness, the complete numbness of just not feeling there is any reason to go on.

I have sadness for those who dwell in such a dark place, I have been in that place before so I do know a bit about how it feels. Lucky for me mine was a situational depression and I had a friend who recognised the signs and forced me out of my apathy and into counselling and I got through it. Not everyone is that lucky.

I pray to my ancestors for healing over the township, for healing over my adopted country and for those people (where ever they may be) who need a friend.




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