Tuesday, June 17, 2008

South Africa vs the soccer pitch


by siki dlanga

Our eyes are glued to the television as Euro 2008 commences. We are addicted to watching men (lately women too) kicking the circular bouncy object around a field and get paid lots of money for it. We want to see goals. We scream at our television sets when they do or do not do something we can not even do ourselves. We demand delivery and are intolerant when we are failed.

This year Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the most handsome football player by women in Europe. I personally think the only handsome thing about the man is the way he plays and of course as the old Xhosa proverb says the beauty of a man is in the number of his cattle. In Ronaldo’s case it is his pounds. According to these measurements I agree with those women who voted for him but we know that is not the case. If you fail like Beckham did before the goal posts just a few times suddenly the votes go out the window. His beauty forgotten, betrayed by the very green pitch that had made him great and a favourite of women.

Then we move on to another not so bouncy sphere but faster than any other ball on earth, that old planet called earth. I am certain from a distant it looks like a peaceful tiny ball orbiting the sun like the rest of the other balls in the vast infinite pitch. Not unlike the other planets the earth never misses a turn. I have not lived for millions of years but I have never been more tempted to believe that earthly beings have never been found spinning with the earth to this degree. Of course we must spin with the earth but there is another kind that causes confusion. I am no expert in the matters of science or anything else I am a citizen of this earth for now and I can see my fellow earthlings spinning around like a ball without direction. We seem to be spinning and unable to find the net like Bafana Bafana when it really counts.

We watch the television set looking for someone who will score for us. We want a hero. A superhuman, someone who will make us feel like we have done it. We seem to be unable to live without it because the minute we step outside the screen, we are confronted with ourselves spinning around our pitch without direction. We keep coming back to the screen for some more because at least we think we have this figured out. If you fail us we will find another. But first we will let you know what a dismal failure you have been and how we cannot forgive you. We quickly throw you to the nearest bin and forget about you.

Now Mbeki is not playing the game the way we want him to. He is not saying the things we want to hear. He is not even listening let alone do we see a change in his facial expression when he says something. We forget the beautiful dream he painted and keeps inviting us to by his words. We forget how as women we have been given back our rightful place. We forget the good. We desperately look for another. Others vote for Zuma perhaps he will get us a goal we want. Others think surely this one or that. Change is good but change does not need to be accompanied by negativity.

Others opt to think there is no way out of this mess. We let our minds escape across the sea and find another hero somewhat linked to Africa. He impresses us with his speeches. We say we need our own forgetting we have already had one. As I watch all this happening I can not stop feeling like what we are actually looking for is a saviour. A ruthless thing to ask of any human being. The world is no soccer match even though we still treat it is as thus. When we are unhappy we make signs on the sidelines of the pitch demanding a substitution. We cast our vote. But maybe we are all on the pitch. The position played by the crowned men and woman is as important as our own if we will take it as seriously. Perhaps, we have the same coach but we will not listen instead we pretend to be because we do not know our roles. We are displaced and therefore frustrated. The sphere spins. The wonderful thing about a time of crisis is that it has the ability to reveal the most extraordinary human beings. Please be kind to them when their humanity fails them at some point.

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I write a lot. When it's necessary I draw. 
I have been called a Poet, a Writer, an Illustrator, a Banner of Freedom, a Word Magician, etc.
I am a Lover of Truth embodied in beauty.