Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Being Powerful

They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but apparently hijackings do.....Yesterday I was hijacked for the second time. The first time was about 9 years ago and at gun point, while yesterday's incident was at the end of a very large knife blade. At least the awfulness of having something this horrible happen to me twice is partially countered by the fact that on both of these occasions I have come out of the incident physically unharmed. I know that there are many others who have not been so lucky. 

As I try to process all the emotions I am dealing with, I have been struck by the fact that my overwhelming sense is one of sadness and disappointment. I feel let-down  - by my county, by the system, by our society, by myself. 

I'm not sure how normal this reaction is to a crime like this, but it has given me some heavy food for thought. There seems to be a common belief that we are born of our country, yet I'm starting to see that this is not so. In fact, our country is born of us. Today I feel like the mother of a delinquent child - a child that I love dearly, but a child that is hurting me, and itself. And, like a parent, I'm left wondering how am I complicit in this incident and what I could have done differently, or better, to prevent it?

As the scientist in me cannot be silenced, I am immediately put in mind of the concept of nature versus nurture. While the relative responsibility of these two forces in shaping the outcome of an individual was once a matter of heated debate, we now know more about how the two play off against one another. As it turns out, our nature, that which we inherit, that which is written into our DNA, is much more malleable than we had previously thought. We now know that it is the nurture, how an individual is treated and the environment within which they develop, that truly directs the shape and boundaries of the final product and can even alter our DNA in small but significant ways, thus slowly transforming what we pass on to future generations.  

Our country, like our bodies, carries with it both the burdens and strengths of our past. It's in our DNA and, just like with our bodies, we cannot control or take responsibility for what we inherit, but we MUST take responsibility for what we pass on. We are the environment, we are the nurturers that are shaping this county. We have the power to consciously create an environment in which our country can become the best version of itself. 

So, despite the fact that I am shaken up and, if I'm being honest, more fearful than I was before, I refuse to let that fear control me. I will continue to assume the best about those I meet, I will still be polite and kind to strangers and I will keep opening my door to beggars. I will be the change I want to see in this county. I may not have had the power to prevent being hijacked, but it is within my power to control how I respond. 

I know there are many who may read this, shake their heads and write me off as hopelessly naive. Perhaps I am. But if the #feesmustfall movement over the last week has taught me anything, it's that we the people DO have the power to make positive change. It has reminded me that injury to one is injury to all and that my actions, small and inconsequential though they may seem, can make an impact. And that in our collective impact, there is real power for change. 

I love this county, this wayward child of ours, and I would have to be dragged from its shores, kicking and screaming, before I ever willingly throw up my hands and abandon it to the wicked few. 


  1. I'm so sorry to hear of your experience. Blessed by the wisdom of your words

  2. You are a remarkable woman. Thank you for your wisdom and positivity

  3. I needed to read this after having an intruder in our house on Sunday. x

  4. Whilst I understand, and to some extent empathise with your sentiments, overall I have to disagree with your philosophy. After 50 years in Africa, watching it go from bad to worse, in two entirely separate countries, both of which were once good, safe places to live and have now become hotbeds of violence and corruption, the fact of the matter is: Africa is still a primitive and backward continent, ruled by the concept of "might is right" and "he who wields the biggest stick rules the roost". Africa is doomed, and the sooner those who can leave do so, the better for all concerned. I know this sounds very negative and defeatist, but I speak from experience and with the clarity of vision of one who knows there is a better way to live.

  5. Glad you are fine. Great attitude / response.

  6. I hear you, I see you and I feel and echo everyone of your sentiments! Rock on sister!
    We are co-creators of our world and it starts with our thinking... Imagine it and create it... I envision a whole, healed and graceful world and I'm active behind all being that stand!