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.