My heart is heavy at the moment. I feel utterly hopeless. I despair. I am sad. I am angry. I am worn down. I feel I am ready to give up.
I’ve read a plethora of positive posts about South Africa in the past few weeks or at least attempts at turning a negative into something positive. Tips on how to cope with load shedding. Posts about why we shouldn’t complain about load shedding. How we should accept it. Posts about what to do to positively influence the scourge of xenophobia in our country. I’ve read a million articles on how to be a part of the solution.
But, I can’t any more. I can’t take anymore. The straw that broke the camels back?
Last week, while flashing through the news channels to watch the news headlines, they showed footage of “the burning man” (I won’t post is here, but if you haven’t seen it, you can view it here – His name was Ernesto Nhamuave ) and Ava saw it. She saw about two seconds of the footage while I yelled at Walter to change the channel and held my hands over her eyes. My 5 year old saw what South African’s are capable of doing to others. It is deeply disturbing. Deeply upsetting. It is barbaric. It disgusts me. I am ashamed of my countrymen.
Then on Friday, Ava must have overheard my conversation with Eva, our nanny, a Zimbabwean national, working legally here. We were discussing a plan for to get home safely, how we would keep in touch with each other over the weekend so I could know she was ok. We spoke about her and her family moving into the spare room in our house till all this Xenophobia crap ends. When Eva tried to leave, Ava had a melt down. She clung to Eva, crying, she was terrified of Eva leaving and never coming back. She spent half the evening asking why anyone would hate Eva. Why they want to hurt Eva. And then …. she asked if they were going to burn Eva like the man she saw on TV.
She is haunted by it. Terrorized by it. Traumatized by it. And I can’t… I just can’t anymore…
Then waking up on Saturday morning to the news of Emmanuel Sithole’s murder…. It has pushed me into a very dark place. It has made me question why we are still here. I’m sorry South Africa, I wanted to be a part of the solution, I really did.
Walter and I thought about emigrating years ago but decided to stay. We believed in the dream of our country, we believed in our democracy. We had faith and hope for all the potential that South Africa had. That’s gone now and it breaks my heart. I am broken, I am angry. I feel we’ve been forced to make a choice, a choice that we don’t want, a choice we hate having to make. But being a part of the solution…. sorry, but my children come first. And for them, we will make this work… for their future… for their peace… My number one priority is my children, my family.
We are leaving.
There are no words to describe the devastation I feel. The anger. The depression. But I can’t anymore… I can’t.