May we hold holy our greatest expectations

The start of the year sees us awash in recycled truisms about betterment. This, after all, is the year we will lose weight, run a marathon, travel the world and still have money left over to read a book or two.
Hell, it’s the year we are getting free education — and the land. We are, to borrow from the country’s publicists, alive with possibility.

Yes, we know, the more jaded among you (which, let’s be honest, as Mail & Guardian readers, that means most of you) are probably waiting until this ritualistic search for a better self is drowned out by the noise of a world apparently set on self-destruction.

And yet the most beautiful thing about the start of the new year is exactly the break from being demoralised. The most beautiful thing about the start of the new year is its fresh supply of hope.

When the world appears to be in a determined formation against the possibility of a better, more equal world, then we must take hold of the little fragments of time in which we are energised enough to believe that it can still happen. Because it can still happen.

So, while mourning Keorapetse Kgositsile this week, we are strengthened as well by his words from his poem Wounded Dreams. 



Though the present remains
a dangerous place to live
cynicism would be a reckless luxury
toxic lies piled high and deodorised

to sound like the most clear signage

showing us the way forward from here

Not that I am dotard enough
to think it could ever be easy

or without pain to do anything
of value. But when I am surrounded
by the din of publicly proclaimed multiple
promises
I wonder if we can say with determined resolve

like Fidel: Never again will pain return
to the hearts of mothers nor shame to
the souls of all honest South Africans


Though the present is
a dangerous place to live
possibility remains what moves us
we are all involved 
in difference would simply be
evidence of the will to die

or trying to straddle some fence
that no one has ever seen
together we can and must
rehabilitate our wounded dreams
to reclaim and nourish the song
of the quality of our vibrant being
as evidence of how it is to be alive
past any need for even a single lie

Out of the silences

of these restless nights

my voice wants to break
through the shell of words
and fly to the rooftops

to shout: when we have walked through
the restless shadows of wounded dreams
and come back from tomorrow together

we shall know each other
by the root and texture of our appetite

We live in expectation of a world in which every child born, girl, boy, intersex, never feels the weight of prejudice on their skin.

We live in expectation of a world in which every child who begins school is able to matriculate.

We live in expectation of a world in which every child who goes to school is kept safe there, where their humanity is recognised with the provision of sanitation, where their toilets are not death traps.

We live in expectation of a 
world in which every child who matriculates is able to pursue higher education, if they so wish.

We live in expectation of a world in which every person is able to find decent work.

We live in expectation of a world in which the land beneath our feet is an affirmation of being.

We live in expectation of a world in which the riches beneath our soil are not a cruel taunt against the people who must toil to find it.

We live in expectation of a world in which the injustices perpetuated by dominance of one race over others are not just recognised but are somehow repaired.

We live in expectation of a world in which our leaders are honourable, their conduct unimpeachable and their words sincere.

We live in expectation of a world in which we still feel safe to be.

We begin this year then with expectations, great expectations, of the world, but mostly of ourselves.

May we not lose hope.

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