Being Frank With Sir Macfarlane: Taking a backseat
Blog by MacFarlane Moleli
I don’t know about you but it pains me deeply when I see a bunch of black men sitting at the back of a van. Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be stuck in traffic sitting in the back of a van with the whole world staring at your poverty? I cannot speak for everyone, but I never know how to react when I find one of them staring at me while the traffic moves on slowly. I often get this sinking feeling of shame for my ungratefulness for all that I have. I begin to question everything about this so called freedom that we now have. I begin to thank Allah for all that he has given me as I realize that we have so much yet appreciate so little.
What hits home the hardest for me is what may be going through the mind of that poor black brother of mine. What does he see when he looks at me with my designer shades my German car and crisp white shirt. Is he envious? Is he disgusted? Is he proud? Or does he even aspire to be like me? Or rather is he filled with regret for all the opportunities he may have missed out on? I don’t know what to think or say but so many thoughts come crashing down and I’m always overwhelmed as I try to avert their gaze.
I often put myself in their shoes and wonder what it must be like and how I would feel if the roles were reversed. Would I even dare to sit so naked in front of the whole world to see my poverty? Can it even be considered poverty to be at the back of a van on the way to work for a measly R150 to R200 per day? I know I would die inside, I think every fibre and nerve inside of me would burst with shame. All of those eyes ogling at me as I try to cover my shame with a thin jacket, which also works as a windbreaker. I would look at those cars with disgust; I would be filled with anger and hatred for their opulence and fortune.
It’s not me though, this is someone else’s struggle, this is someone else’s reality and this is what they go through every single day. We cannot fathom what this must be like. How does one wake up every morning and go through this day after day and still manage to be filled with hope for the future? I say this because sometimes I will lift my gaze and catch the eye of one of the men and they will smile and wave and make a sharp-sharp sign to me. Other times I will lift my eyes and find them chatting away and laughing out loudly, and I wonder to myself how they still manage that. What keeps them going? Do they have hopes and aspirations of one day driving the cars that pass them by, or being the owners of the companies they work for?
It can’t be easy. Regardless of what goes through their minds or how hard they try to remain positive it cannot be easy. I cannot for the life of me even begin to unravel the range of feelings that must go through their minds from the minute they close the door as they leave their homes. Spare a thought for them and be thankful for all you have, because it cannot be easy.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Kaya FM.