You have come home.
I can only imagine how it must feel for you to have re-entered our frightful, violent motherland again. I can’t say anything to make you less scared, or less mistrustful of the fragile security you have experienced here. It must make you want to ask yourself ‘when will I be next’ and feel constantly afraid. I am so sorry that this has been your experience.
I think though, that there is no place like our country. That there are no people as down and out who remain generous and kind. There are no women like ours, beaten and raped and poverty stricken, who open their hearts to each new day and keep on going. This doesn’t mean we must burden ourselves with flying the South African flag high, or trying to push against the violence. Our first and most important priority as women and feminists is to take care of ourselves so that we feel able to encounter the challenges we face here. If that means we need a time to be away from here, then we must take it and feel grateful that we have been offered the opportunity.
I remember when I came back from London’s security after just three months there, and felt enraged that I couldn’t just LIVE here. It took a long time to be able to walk around without feeling frightened. With your particular experiences, it will likely take much longer.
Don’t be too hard on yourself about the difficulty you’re experiencing in re-immersing yourself with a country at war with itself.
The only thing I want to say is don’t lose hope. One day you’ll come home and it will feel like home again. The home of ice cold cokes sipped outside corner cafes in the warm sunlight that I really believe is like no other sunlight on earth.
We can’t be the change we want to see when we are afraid. We have to take steps to embolden ourselves. Take those baby steps when and however you can.
I’m with you all the way.