“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do”-Freya Stark
Imagine yourself, fresh out of university in South Africa. Bright- eyed, bushy tailed. You’ve graduated with an Accounting degree and well on your way to becoming a member of the prestigious South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. In just a few more year, with your textbook knowledge, eagerness and willingness to please, you will be steady on the road to financial freedom… by yourself.
You grew up passionate about getting that job at the back page of the careers section in the Sunday Times newspaper. A job that paid more than your South African mind could fathom. Because in your mind, all you could think it would solve was living a life that would make you comfortable. A life that could allow you to take care of your family and maybe solve a few issues in your impoverished community.
But then you grow up… you’re no longer sheltered, the education system in South Africa shows you what they expect of you, which makes you sick so you fight. You fight now not just because you want to take care of yourself and your family, you fight because you realise that if you don’t, if your friends don’t, you all lose… and you die. You will be buried over all the others who lost and died. This perpetuating cycle needs you…to end it. So now your vision is clear. Although filled with the fear of failure, the sound that vibrates within you is that of triumph, you’re working for a bigger cause and the way your life has been set up, you can win. It will be hard but it doesn’t matter because the way your genetics are made up, you came out the womb fighting.
You worked hard to get to that stage. The struggles you went through for this education are so broad, so deep, so intricate that only your brothers and sisters whispers of anguish and relief are in sync with your soul’s. Four (or more) years of blood, sweat and tears in that University library, for 10 seconds of fame on a brightly lit stage, a piece of paper and a photo that proves that well…. your’re teachable. Where’s the magic? The big moment?
Now what? Well from here on out you have a key. This key has the potential to open a door. But not just any door you please. The process of hoping and praying and knocking begins. Then someone opens the door. Someone gives you a chance, tries you out. You’re on the first rung and boy… you had better get to work.
So now you’re working, life is great. Steady paycheck. This is the life right? No. This is never and can never be “the life” for you. How can it when you’ve worked so hard though??? Please never be fooled.
Rowan: Did I not raise you for better? How many times have I told you? You have to be what?
Olivia :Twice as good.
Rowan: You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have.
-Scandal (Season 3: Episode 1)
You need to live for something bigger than yourself and your comfort. Something that has the ability to mobilize, empower.. restructure.. change… transform. Because if you say no, then why do you work so hard, who do you sacrifice so much time away from the people that fuel your hum? What are you doing with all that knowledge that cost your parents their pension funds? What are you doing in environments where you’re working twice as hard for half the recognition!? It needs to pay off and when it does we cant be talking about how finally you can buy a Ferrari when:
- 266 902 people in South Africa were victims of drug- related crime
- Close to 1 million people in South Africa have reported (remember that MANY go unreported) that they have been victims of a sexual offence in the past 12 years
- more than half (27 million) South African’s live below the poverty line
- Race- based medicine exists
- There are still unequal payscales based on gender and race
- When the “Queen Bee” syndrome still exists (due to a lack of opportunities I believe)
- When young boys are still seen as more commercially viable option for attaining an education in a community than young girls
There is just so much.
Related: Who is Shonda Rhimes?
What I’m trying to tell you today is this. Stay conscious. Remember what you’ve been through to get to where you are. Remember why you’ve worked so hard to get that qualification, why you work so hard even after that. Remember who you do it for.
You’ve worked to hard to live and die for something that will just extend flowers and advertise your post the day after you die. Where’s the magic? The big moment?