I fondly remember growing up in the township and attending various social gatherings. In these gatherings, our greetings will go along the lines of “Sawubona mtanami/ sis wami, unjan kodwa? Kukuphi ekhaya? Or uZalwa kabani?” Loosely translated this means,“Greetings my child or sister (former used by the elderly and latter by peers) how are you? Where is home and to which family do you belong to?”
I used the word fondly in my opening statement because the greetings we exchange nowadays are not so fond. I loved the greetings we exchanged in our communities in my early years because they centered so much on who you are and your family roots.
I have noticed a trend in our current society and how the more “sophisticated” we become, the more we complicate life. Nowadays introductions are shallow and superficial assignments just to tick the ‘Yey, I greeted a human today box’ and thereby feeling good about ourselves.
In my opinion, we have lost the ability to connect on a truly human level. I’m so exhausted by social and business gatherings because greetings go along the lines of “Hello, how are you?” Then there is this unwritten expectation to always say we are good or we are fine even if we not. I once said “I am not good” just to test the waters and the person asking me, didn’t know how to deal with that and changed the subject. That’s why I stand on the assumption that, this has become a tick box exercise.
But the most interesting and now bordering on annoying for me, is the obsessive question of “So, what do you do?”. There is nothing wrong with that question per se, the only challenge I have with it, is that depending on the response you give, people will begin to treat you based on that. I don’t like this because people begin to define us by WHAT we do as opposed to WHO we are.
I love how author Rick Warren in his New York times best-selling book (The Purpose Driven Life) wraps up the thought beautifully when he says, “we are human beings not human doings”.
The back to you revolution I’m advocating for, sees life through the lens of God, it embraces people for who they are; not what they can do for you. It is a revolution that encourages people to simply be themselves and enjoy life to the fullest.
I’ve termed my revolution “Back to Bongeka” and I am in a period where I am rewriting some rules, bending some and even breaking some 🙂 . I live with the peaceful conviction that Almighty God, who is my Father, is far more interested in WHO I am than WHAT I do.
As I pen my final thoughts on this, I am reminded of Whitney’s Houston documentary “Can I be me?”. In the documentary they interviewed those who were close to her. They shared that throughout her life she struggled with living out who she was versus what people wanted her to be. So, she would constantly be heard saying “Can I be me?”.This was a cry out for her to be herself. To me, she was the greatest voice we were blessed with, but society robbed her of her true life for many years. I always wonder what would have happened to her if she had “been herself” in the early years of her fame and whether that would have influenced her to make different decisions. We may never know, but we can always take a page from her life and recognize that the cry to be ‘ourselves’ cannot just end on the lips but as the word revolution holds, we have to forcibly overthrow things in our culture that undermine the very essence of who we are.
Image courtesy: http://sivinkit.net/2008/07/08/one-life-revolution-is-back/