Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 16

My mother gave birth to me on June 16, 1976. I deliberately do not say that I was born on June 16th. My mother gave birth. I was born at about 2pm that afternoon. It was not an easy birth.

Whenever my mom tells the story she recalls her anxiety at hearing the news of the events that were taking place a couple of kilometres away. She always shares what went through her mind that afternoon: "How can I bring a child into this world?"

Our second child will be born in November, God-willing (perhaps a little of my Calvinist history peeping through). I wonder whether the question has changed? I don't know if there are parents who do not ask this question.

But then I am reminded that I was not the only child born that day. In fact there were many children who died that day, accomplishing what many people can't in a lifetime. Life is more than being born and passively receiving whatever the world has to dish out.

Living is about engaging with our world, its people and the different influences that go around. Doing so with the assurance that God travels with us creates faith, and faith in turn creates hope. Having faith and hope, we are naturally directed to the road of love.

My mom is glad that I was born that day. I am glad that she is glad that I was born that day. My prayer today is for our children, especially when they are forced at ever-younger ages to engage with- and challenge a world which at best, scares most parents.

God bless Africa
Guard her children
Guide her leaders
Give her peace.


Rock in the Grass said...

losqlmI am glad that you are able to say "I am glad that she is glad". May you continue to experience joy today: June 16
God be with you

Gus said...

Happy Birthday Wessel!

I was born on June 18 1976 - Merrymont (Not sure how to spell that) Clinic Johannesburg. My dad tells me he could see smoke rising from Soweto from the window of the hospital (something like that, I can't remember).

I like Paul Simon's song, "Born at the Right Time." I don't know if he's a Calvinist (I actually am pretty sure he isn't), but something tells me we were born at the right time, something about being born then - 2 days after, or on that day means that I left school in '94.

The country I graduated into was different to the country people graduated into one year before.

(I'm not saying everyone else was born at the wrong time.) I think we were born at the right time, and I hope those who go after us will also be born at the right time.

My friend's babies due in November - that kid won't believe his parents when they tell him what happened in this country. WOW!

Just rambling on and thinking about it all... Go Gemini!

Jenny said...

Hi from a visitor!
I was 11 and in Std 4 in 1976. It has always bothered me that I could remember so little about what happened. It seemed like I was totally separated from what was happening in the country. I asked my mom about it yesterday. She was a bit taken aback. It turns out that shortly before the Soweto event there had been a meeting of Soweto teachers in our home as an initiative of the then Progressive Party to try to resolve issues. Wow. I remember the meeting now, but I never understood the significance. I think the way the June 16 events were downplayed by the government meant that many of us did not understand the significance of many things. My mother says I was very interested and concerned in political events. Me? I don’t remember. I think I am rediscovering the ‘historical Spyda’. I do remember refusing to go on Veldschool in std 5 – that was a sort of conscientious objection.
What is starting to come back to me is the role played by white people in a subset of the struggle. For us (my parents) the issues were the domination of white people by the ruling National Party and their attempts at control through indoctrination and power institutions like the Broederbond. I did not see the racial significance which was the larger issue, but felt strongly that even within the ‘white democracy’ there was major injustice. It is good for me to remember that not only was there a struggle from the ‘outside’ but that there were even those inside the system who were part of the struggle. For the moment, I don’t feel quite so guilty about being white.