IF I stare long enough at an object, its original purpose
and shape start blurring into a vague set of molecules, strung together only
for its momentary purpose and ready for me to consider its future potential
A short break to the Karoo this weekend offered a plethora
of such vistas – and a practical platform to yoga-stretch my right brain.
Consider the Langeberg peaks that have been guarding wine
making and fine dining industries for centuries. Until recently, they have been
doing so without the Switzerland-type sights they've turned into now.
If I look long enough at the thick layers of white topping,
I can almost see the familiar shapes of mountains returning, dressed in the
identity of the barren beauty we've come to love and claim as part of our
Besides, no matter how pretty, such chilly slopes work best
on postcards from wealthy relatives.
My frosty eyes turn back to the road, staring now in slow
and meticulous headshakes at a rather over-sized, luxury vehicle that overtook
me in adventurous proportions, as if late for a ski run down the slopes.
Another case of numberplatelessness, this one adds to the
long list of careless drivers I observed on my trek.
At a speed to match its aggression, my thoughts race to
catch up with the family inside who seemingly exists in a special layer of
I catch find myself pondering both the concept and existence
of the word "pride".
Like the many objects I've stared at before, words too seem
to lose their lustre for me if considered for too long.
Yet, pride is what we embalm ourselves in as rugby,
swimming, rowing, 800-metering and other medal-performing potentials edge us
closer to a spot in the limelight.
It also supposedly brings us closer to each other for a
moment. It offers a singular object we can hold up to the world and say: this
is the best of me.
I am a part of this. It performs on the same soil and within
the same air that I breathe.
But then it speeds along gaily. We remove the faded flag
socks from our mirrors; we rinse our faces of the bright, slightly smudged,
face paint; we welcome our heroes with waving banners at airports; we update
our Facebook status every step of the way.
And rapidly, the winning spirit that united us trickles back
into old habits such as road rage, mass consumption, own goals and other
moments of living alone in a vacuum.
What are the long-term benefits of (national) pride? How
long should it last to leave a legacy? And does it really matter if it does not
spark a chain reaction that brings us closer to one another?
As we brace for discussions on national identity and family
values, set against the hangover of Olympic medals and the hope of even more at
the Paralympics, I suggest a deep look into ourselves to find what we expect
others to see when they do the same to us.
* Avoiding cars for urban commutes, but happy to discover
his soul in nearby outposts, Adriaan travels on Twitter as @aiBester as he
co-ponders a @futurecapetown.
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