Today is Heritage Day in South Africa. On Heritage Day we recognise and celebrate the diverse cultural wealth of our country. Being here in KZN in a rural environment has got me to thinking about what a privilege it is to live in this country in spite of its past atrocities and present problems. South African has been through many phases – the conquerors have conquered and like all other conquerors in the world realised that dominance is not a route of prosperity. Tribes have fought against other tribes and nations have battled for possession of a new land. The people affected are the citizens who have rebelled and trekked and set up new regimes which have had various levels of success and failure. We are now a rainbow nation of tolerance and yet there are still enormous problems to be overcome. It is up to us to learn from the past and what I see is a single thread running through the history of our country. One thing is certain – hard work – only hard work will ensure that the next generation will proper no matter what the political situation is. Think about it – in the past it is those who got up a did something about their situation who got the most out of their country. We should not forget the atrocities and the wrongs but we should follow the good examples from those who came before us. Each culture has something to offer. South Africa is an amazing country – fabulous scenery, mountains, sea and wildlife and extra specially fantastic people.
Here in rural Kokstad I have noticed that although the people lead a chilled lifestyle they all work very hard. My daughter has a full time teaching job 10km from where she lives, but it’s cool to have the kids there with her. She lives in a small house on a big plot, raises calves and keeps horses. She has an orchard and a vegetable garden. She is constantly busy but never complains about how stressed she is. She has a wide circle of friends all who lead rural lifestyles and support each other. The neighbours are far enough away not to see but the fence has a gate between them for easy access to each other. Other neighbours are further away but the visit often, swap kids and go off on weekends together. Social sport plays a huge role in their lives – there’s tennis and golf and Lauren’s favourite – endurance horse riding. If she rode in Cape Town it would cost more than she could afford – what a heritage, what a lifestyle she and all her friends enjoy.
Before leaving Cape Town, I asked my Grade Ones, “If your granny came to visit you from far away, what would you like her to bring you?” I got a long list of things from ‘Footy Pyjamas” to cool clothes, Action men to Barbie Dolls, Craft Books to pet kittens, puppies, bunnies and hamsters and finally a TRAMPOLINE. Well I got the cool clothes and some sweeties and when we got to Kokstad we purchased a 10ft trampoline from Game. What better gift for kids who have the garden to accommodate it.
On the land on which my daughter lives, a river runs through it. After bouncing for a bit Shannon and SImon packed a picnic and rode their bikes down to the where the river was shallow. I walked down a little later to see what they were doing. The brook gurgled, the birds were in full song. The dogs panted beside me and I eventually found them in the nook of a shady tree building a fort. Then they went hunting for crabs and frogs. Simon helped me over the slippery stepping stones giving careful instructions as to where to put my feet without slipping.
After lunch it clouded over a bit and we thought it might rain. I expressed relief that it didn’t but the family were most disappointed. “We welcome the rain!’ was their response and they’re very disappointed when it doesn’t come!
Later in the afternoon Lauren and I went for a fairly strenuous walk. We checked on the calves who are now almost cows. The view was amazing and it was good to get some exercise and air into the lungs. The dogs enjoyed it too.
Traditionally on Heritage Day, South Africans braai! We were no exception.
We enjoyed braaied chicken, pork rashers, boerewors (farm sausage) and sweet potatoes wrapped in tinfoil and cooked in the coals. A fab way to end Heritage Day!