And so it begins. In a few hours I will be making my way to the airport for the start of what I’m sure will be an incredible journey. I felt it would be appropriate to start the documentation of my travels to South Africa with a powerful stanza from a book by the poet Aimé Césaire:
“For it is not true that the work of man is finished
That man has nothing more to do in the world
But be a parasite in the world
That all we now need is to keep in step with the world.
But the work of man is only just beginning
And it remains to man to conquer all the violence embedded
in the recesses of his passion
And no race possesses the monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of freedom
There is a place for all at the rendezvous of victory.”
I find the title, and these words, in the book I’m reading to learn of the country’s past and present, entitled “Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC“. The first chapter gives a good overview of the origins of the anti-apartheid struggle, looking forward to learning of how the movement progressed. I particularly find the connection with the Black Conciousness Movement and the international black struggle both fascinating and empowering.
The more I glance over the endless pages of history, lessons, morals and struggles, the more I realise just how little I’ve strived in my own battles. Once a desire to seek knowledge, it scares me to think of the void I’ve made to fill with other, far more useless devices.
There are so many things I’d like to achieve from this trip. It may seem like a long time, but I have no doubt the 10 weeks will come and go with many regrets. I just hope I return to the UK knowing I didn’t waste any of that most precious resource, that which is rapidly escaping me.