Reentry | South Africa 🇿🇦
“We are the scatterlings of Africa. On a journey to the stars. Far below, we leave forever. Dreams of what we were.” — Johnny Clegg
Ah, South Africa. It had been a long time since I walked the land. Or felt the sun. I’d almost forgotten.
But how could I forget? About a country so warm, so vibrant. With sweet water. An abundance of greenery, coastlines, and mountains. The alluring African sunset. Qualities that are so very, magnetic.
I couldn’t bear the temptation. The temptation to travel. To reunite with my birthplace. To reconnect with my loved ones. To rediscover my country. I longed for familiar landscapes with a new perspective. A break from the northern hemisphere and a breath from the southern.
Despite the obstacles of the world. I searched for flights. I flew. I landed. Finally. I was home. In search of myself and distant adventures, I left many years ago. I experienced and evolved. And so did my country.
In myself the changes were obvious. In appearance and character. Even my mindset was different. It was strange at first. To compare the feeling of being home. Home without a sense of belonging. Such contrast was conflicting.
I was not the same person. And it was not the same place.
South Africa had also, changed. It had developed far more than I expected, yet not as far as I was accustomed to. It had embraced modern concepts but kept its strong will. Infrastructures, roads and, bridges I once knew, had new names, features, and colours. However, the energy remained the same.
I noticed a lot of new. Overgrown jungles, of the world’s most beautiful trees. The roads were as wide as the smiles of the people who settled there. I don’t think I’ve seen a scene so sweet, like that of the sunset over the mountains onto the sea. Everyone and everything was glowing. And, slowly, so was I.
Even with so much new, I had immerse moments of sweet reminition. The sound of the waves, of the ocean crashing, on the sand. Like a childhood melody. The scent of sunscreen on my skin. My teenage dream recalled. Avocado’s bigger than my hand, last time, my head. It felt incredibly adolescent and innocent.
I was taken by surprise. Caught completely off guard. At the essence of beauty. The vibrations of this place. It was utterly unmatched. I was falling so deeply in love with my roots. My pride was restored. My soul enlightened. My heart was happy. It’s undoubtedly true, that the spirit of Africa is something to behold.
Golden was the vision of the setting, within an all-encompassing sky.
I had the pleasure of experiencing so much joy. By simply just being there. I became so engaged with the present moment. I allowed love and gratitude to flow through me. Each day was different. All of them were invaluable. My method was minimal. But my memories were plentiful.
I was in awe of the way life was unfolding. I was growing. Insurable amounts. Soaking up sunshine and watering my dreams. Discussing ideas, gaining insight, and recognizing perspectives. The people here perceive life differently. This soil harness wisdom that is indistinguishable.
But, in addition, to all the happiness. I too observed the pain. As each place has its balances of good vs bad. South Africa was the same.
For a country with so many resources, there just didn’t seem to be enough. Money was a trigger, of a stress-filled gun. Basic pay was insufficient. Yet people worked hard. They held onto their jobs that brought no satisfaction. How could a place with so much thriving, leave its people barely surviving?
People live practically, with shortages of electricity and ample expenses. They lived a sense of normal, with an underlying fear. Of all the harmful things that could happen, if they were unaware. They were always prepared, always cautious, always hopeful. Their lives are uncut, unsheltered.
I saw how people expressed themselves in their lowest light. Ignorant, unkind, and barbaric. I witnessed the racial discrimination that lingered from long ago. I felt ashamed. I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe beings still existed in that realm. It was disheartening. It was disgusting. My heart broke for my country and it’s people.
Individually we can only achieve. But collectively we create expansion and equality.
It would be less than authentic if I didn’t outline the good and the evil. While the bad parts were without a doubt, bad. It’s only in darkness we are able to see light.
For then came a glimpse of faith in humanity. The community called to come together. And united they stood. People helped and healed. While receiving help and healing. With humbleness, and humor. Experiencing this, in itself, was beautiful.
Not long after, my time had come to an end. I was on my way back. To my other life. My journey home was; all-inclusive. I learned and grew from my countries misfortunes and mistakes. But I took pride in its culture and uniqueness. For these qualities mold me.
I will never forget my reentry. The memories live in my mind. We – South Africa and myself – are not the same. But we are not so different. We are still experiencing and evolving. Fighting our own demons. Restoring purity and creating peace. Each in our own ways.