Emotions Running High…

Nikita and I drove to work amidst the sound of chants & sirens, the smell of smoke and what might have been shots being fired.  You see, yesterday a group of angry residents of one of the local informal settlements decided to protest about the apparent lack of service delivery in the area.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you squat, you can’t expect to have services delivered because there is no damn infrastructure in place for said services to be delivered.

Look, it’s not that I am totally unfeeling towards the people – I too have things I am not happy about, but they are small in comparison to the conditions these people must live in daily.  I live in a fairly safe area, far removed from the blue lights, rubber bullets and tear gas, but I am not unaware, nor do I not comprehend that their issues need addressing.  I do feel though that if common sense is a flower that grows in your garden (which it clearly doesn’t with everyone), you would either wait for your state-funded-residence, as so many before you have, and you’d join the ranks of the rest of society that pays (regardless of the amount) for their services.

I am angry though.  Angry that they feel it is okay to damage public property with their tyre burning escapades and torching private dwellings.

Photos from Citizen.co.za and eNCA

Yes, you read right – these criminals razed other peoples’ homes to the ground because they’re not happy about the state of affairs at their own.  I wish I could find these cruel idiots and shake some sense into them, asking them how YOU would feel if someone did this to you, or someone you cared about?!  Where is the logic?  Just this morning we heard from a colleague that had to travel through the hot-zone that a minibus carrying innocent school children had a brick tossed through its window.  Sure, there is a visible police presence, but I think the laws of this country allow the criminals to rape, pillage and plunder while the police have to stand with their hands tied, trying to appear fierce and forceful.  I would even wager that down the line the community may take matters into their own hands because they are also starting to get gatvol.

During the drive, Nikita and I were talking mainly about the fact that we have a compassionate employer, one that empathises with the situation many of the staff find themselves in because of the barbaric acts taking place close to them.  I have a few friends, also employed by local business people and am totally disgusted how they are told “You will come to work or face disciplinary action” or “Fine, stay at home, but just remember, no work, no pay”.  Have these people no compassion whatsoever? Would a better approach to the situation not be “Yes, I know the situation is volatile, but let’s assess it in a few hours, maybe you can come in then?”

Their employees, people I know are often hardworking and sometimes exploited because they are desperate for the pittances they receive as remuneration are now in need, yet understanding from their employers is not forthcoming; these poor souls are not even heard out.  I find myself wondering how such business owners sleep at night.  Is their revenue for the day more important than the life of one of their employees?  In many instances, it appears so.

Again, yes, I get that this protest action is screwing with our already junk-status-economy but being a royal doos to your employees who actually want to be at work but can’t because they fear for their lives tells me you don’t have much wealth in the brain-, or compassion bank.  You should take a leaf out of Richard Branson’s book:

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My Faith-Walk Restarts Today

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here… honestly, I wanted to – because writing is one of the main outlets I have, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pen down any words – not poetry, nor prose…or even a funny anecdote.

Last night I watched the movie, “Faith like Potatoes” – it is the story of Angus Buchan, a Zambian farmer of Scottish descent, who sold up his farm in Zambia in 1978 to come and farm in Kwa Zulu Natal, and how God saved him.  Today he ministers all over South Africa and Africa.  I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with his story, but it touched my heart incredibly last night.  He and his family faced hardships when they moved to South Africa, having purchased a farm overgrown with wattle trees and NO water, and as Angus worked himself to a literal standstill to make the farm a success, he began to spiral into depression.  One Saturday he accompanied his wife Jill to a mission breakfast at the local Methodist church in Greytown (it must be noted here that he attended the breakfast under duress).  He was approached by someone there who invited him to church the following day, telling him that farmers from the local community would be testifying of God’s goodness toward them.  It was at this service where He gave his life to God.  His story of conversion is life-changing (I think not only for himself, obviously, but for those who hear it) – and his faith is astounding.  I don’t want to say too much…watch the movie, or even better, but the book – I’m going to.  I’m sure what I saw in the movie last night, was just a sample of the amazing work God has done through this man, an ordinary man – a farmer.

When the movie was finished, I wept – for the first time in a long time, acknowledging that while I believe in God, and believe that I have faith, I have so much to learn.  I prayed for God to restore my faith, to make Himself known to me again, and for him to open my spiritual eyes and ears so that I may see and hear more of Him.  This week has been an extremely challenging one for me – and I realize now, that I needed to go through what I did and watch the movie afterwards, to be able to admit that I’ve strayed, and that my faith has dwindled.  I believe now and know in my heart that God never left me – when I was in the deepest pits of sadness and despair, wracked by fear and insecurity, He was always there to carry me.  I have had something that I’ve needed to discuss with someone I regard as very close in my life, yet, every time I’ve wanted to, something would happen for me not to – either the timing wasn’t right, or the venue wasn’t right, or something else.  Fact is, I was scared – scared of being laughed at, told off, or worse.  I asked a number of friends to pray for me yesterday and when the opportunity presented itself, I said the bare minimum.  Today I will speak – I heard God’s voice clearly in my heart telling me to speak to the person concerned, and to have no fear.  Moments later a friend updated her Facebook status to read, “Don’t wait until tomorrow to tell someone something important” and I praised God for His confirmation.  I later googled “Bible verses on Fear” and came across an online Bible Study site and I began browsing through some of their older topics and again, the Lord spoke to me, reconfirming His instruction to me, “Faith is tested by what we do with fear” – I won’t lie and say I’m not still scared, but today my walk in faith restarts and I will speak, being obedient to His instruction and I know that regardless of the outcome, it is part of God’s perfect plan for my life.

Angus Buchan has a second DVD out called Ordinary People which I am also going to be watching, and I believe it will be with the person I am going to talk to today.  I feel in my heart that we must watch the movie together, that God has a message for both of us, which He wants us to hear together.

So, for those of you who read my blog and pray to the Almighty God, who provided for a bumper potato harvest, which was planted in dust, during a drought, I ask you to pray for me. I leave you with the blessing of Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; and the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”