A beaut of a day

The excitement around yesterday had been brewing for a few days. We were positively buzzing when we finally hit the N1 South to Pretoria.

Our destination was a Buddhist temple in Bronkhorstspruit. I knew nothing about the place and had no scholastic interests there. I was going along for the experience and because I am a liker of things.

image
Shandu and Thuli didn’t hold back when we took photo’s upon arrival. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

A few wrong turns delayed us a bit but when we finally found our way to Nan Hua Temple we realised that the long drive from Joho was worth it.

The bright red, green and gold trimmings on the Chinese architecture was breathtaking. I felt like I was on the set of every Chinese/Kung Fu movie I had ever seen. We went photo mad from the very minute we arrived. All of us so desperate to try and capture some of the beauty our words would fail to demonstrate later on.

Entrance to the main temple. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Entrance to the main temple. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

The very first thing I noticed was this graffiti on one of the arch’s pillars.

Really?! :/ Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Really?! :/ Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

It made me sad, that some inconsiderate people could not grant others the same religious freedom bestowed on them. It’s just crass. But all the while very telling innit?

Anyway that unpleasantness didn’t ruin the mood for long. Our guide Sipho was very helpful, he told us about everything from the architecture, to explaining some religious and cultural aspects of Buddhism.

Walking up to the main temple, a stilling calm washed over me and stayed with me for the duration of our tour. It was a really tranquil space. Being in the temple where the main shrines were was quite an experience.

The 2.5 metre high Buddha‘s were a magnificent sight. The ceilings breathtaking and the mood serene. In the temple I most enjoyed the playing of the echo drum and wooden fish. The sounds created an echo around the room that made one take in design aesthetics in a holistic way.

http://

The rest of the tour saw us eating a vegetarian lunch in absolute silence and meeting temple master Ven Hui-Xing, who was the most animated person I have ever met. He even gave us each a gift, what a great day indeed. Have a look at the links below for more on the day ūüôā

Not Yet Uhuru

There’s a popular saying that I have seen Thandiswa Mazwai tweet quite often, which says “Until we are all free, none of us are free.”

Today, April 27 is Freedom Day in South Africa.

I woke up to the sounds of the President’s voice, as he addressed people at a Freedom day event in Pretoria earlier. I heard him speak about the evil we managed to¬†triumph¬†over, I found myself nodding when he mentioned that this freedom we have, came at a price.

He spoke about the great strides that have been made since 1994 in housing and with the general¬†provision of basic¬†amenities. The ruling party has actually done a lot to try to improve the lives of the majority. Obviously a lot more could be done and hopefully will be done if we can “deal” with corruption and inequality and racism and and and.

Anyway, I suppose what made me open my laptop was the fact that we hear these things all the time. Which is why at some point I stopped listening and opted to read yesterday’s paper instead. Yes things are changing, a lot has changed. We do have a lot to be grateful and thankful for but we still have a long way to go. A very long way.

For the past two days in my Journalism class, we have had a guest speaker, Kevin Davies from the Mail & Guardian come school us on Financial Journalism. We had very interesting debates with about the state of our economy. Yesterday in particular we spoke about some of the challenges we are facing and tried to brainstorm solutions.

My answer to his question on a solution, was a Pan-African one, which seemed impossible for our speaker to comprehend. I was glad that my classmates however, agreed with me (for the most part). What struck me about the conversation that was going on, was that we too had all these ideas but no solid ways of implementing them. Much like some our leaders today.

To test our optimism about the country’s future, Mr Davies drew a ‘level-of-optimism-scale’ to see where we lay on it. Most of us were on a very high 7, saying that we do have high hopes for the future based on the amount of potential in the country. Then he went on to say that this scale is based on a ten year period, at which point our optimism waned.

Making one thing very clear (to me at least), we are nowhere near where we need or even want to be. Especially when it comes to economic equality. Something that was also mentioned in the President’s address earlier today.

I can’t help but think of Agent Smith’s words in the Matrix Reloaded every time this day rolls around. He said: “We’re not here because we are free. We’re here because we are not free.”