Switch on the radio or the television and all you hear or see is the big note: 20 years of Democracy ‘Are we winning or is there still a lot to be done?’ What seems to be an innocent question is the hash tag: “What is the government doing about this?”
Social media is the main culprit because that is where the evidence can be seen. We abuse the right of Freedom of Expression whereby we even call other societies with animal’s names. At the end, the Rainbow Nation we see ourselves as is played forward. We agree – we need the magic potion to heal us, but the question always strikes us: Are we really that free or is it just the mentality that there are implemented laws that need to be followed?
Carrying a big backpack was me crossing the green robot with ‘I am in a hurry’ look. “Jees! Watch where you are going!” He was so old, with long hair, long beard, just like the image of Jesus Christ. He started shaking his old rusty mug and singing: “God is hier teenwoordig, laat ons biddend nader – hier waar ons voor Hom vergader”.
Nobody seemed to care so I just ignored him and headed to the library door. My research was a mess; my fingers were tripping tired from all the typing and I ended up sleeping on the keyboard. All of a sudden, a light touch was on my ponytail. I jumped as the feeling gave me a fright. Everyone was looking at me with disgusted faces and turning back. I saw the bedelaar evangelie worshipper carrying a plastic bag with a lot of books.
“Wat jy nodig het vir rekenaarvaardighede: jy suig.”
Everyone sitting in the row walked away when he approached but he did not seem to mind. He just sat down and opened his books. I am used to black beggars and I always blamed apartheid for the oppression and poverty amongst black societies, but seeing an Afrikaner bothered my mind.
Everyday around 12 noon the ‘Retief Burger Singer’ always looked for me in the library and it felt as if he was stalking me. I got irritated because my friends started keeping their distance as they thought he was bad. The mentality that beggars steal is what my mom always preached – “Veilig wees op die dorp: vermy bedelaars!” I started to avoid the National Library but went to the main campus of the university with the mission of not bumping into the singer. Even the walk was torturing me, but I had no choice.
Four weeks went by and there was a poetry session at the National Library. In a light Friday mood, I wore my white Converse sneakers and hit the event. Luckily, passing at the robots I did not see the singer and this made my heart at rest and calm. Applause went up when the library poet finished his piece: “Nice performance!”
“Rinkie! Rinkie!” a huge voice rang out from the entrance. Who is calling my name? Looking back, it was the singer. What the hell! How did he know my name? Everyone was staring at me silently until the security guard escorted him out of the hall. I felt as if I could dig a hole and dive into it. The embarrassment! I felt as if I was stalked and I started to avoid private calls.
School work was piling up with a lot of attention and I was like a busy hive. One morning I got an invitation to attend Prof. Leon’s book session and as a Sociology student, this was perfect for my research practical. Theo van wyk Hall in our campus was the venue and the hall was crowded, but at last I managed to get a seat in front.
Cheerfully the synopsis was written: “Ever wondered how racism ends? We treat people in judgement of their skin colour and tend to understand the black society’s social problems, but when it comes to other races, we act like a Dr. Phil sympathy trial. This is the story about Mr Retief Burger who went with a questionnaire to seek answers about racism in everyday life.”
Oh my God! I could not believe that our own professor was my main stalker. The next minute I groaned when he came in, wearing a nice black suit with trimmed hair.
He smiled: “It happened to you Rinkie – welcome to your quest”.