Why do their houses look different?
Why are people standing outside?
Why are children not at school, or the men at work?
Why are there no gardens?
Can you see the Park in this area?
Does it look like a nice place to play?
No, not really.
The above were some of the questions and conversations had en route from Rondebosch, a suburb with lovely leafy open spaces and parks, en route to Delft.
Notorious Delft – Delft that makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Delft that is also full of families and people trying to get things to work for all the right reasons.
The conversation was with an ‘almost 4’ year old who was accompanying his mom and myself to drop things off with a friend of mine whose house burnt down 2 months ago. His mom was preparing him for the fact that things would be a little different to what was used to seeing in his day to day life.
We also spoke about the SONA events that had occurred the previous night and how his mom and I felt re: the different political parties responses.
His mom mentioned that Julius keeping issues re: poverty on the table was so important but also it felt scary to think of him being in charge, even though things definitely needed to change.
‘ Why is it scary mom’ piped up the voice from the back seat.
A-hem… mom looked across at me.
I waited to hear what his mom was going to say; After another um, ahem moment offered to share what I had voiced to my almost 2 year old son already, not because he understands yet, but because I want to figure out how to explain our unjust, unequal past to my son. Something that I realised I was going to need to do at some stage when he was strapped to my back on voting day last year.
But, back to my inquiring little friend.
Me: So, let’s say that everyone likes cake.
Me: And we handed out cake to people, but we had a set of rules that said that only some people could have cake and not other people – how would that sound to you?
Would you be okay with being told that you had to watch other people eating cake?
NO – that’s not fair.
Okay, how about if you had the cake and we said that we all needed to share our cake with people. Do you think that this would be an easy or tricky thing? What would happen if someone came and grabbed your cake, or you were scared someone would come and grab your cake?
I would grab my cake and make sure that no one could grab it.
So actually sharing your cake, even though it would mean that everyone got cake can feel hard? Yes!
That’s a bit like what is going on in our country.
DO we believe that everyone should be treated the same? That God made everyone the same?
Well, as crazy as it might sound, not everyone thought like this and some people made really mean, or bad rules saying that some people could have things but not everyone.In our country, the people who could have the cake were the white people, and other people weren’t allowed to share the cake with them.
Now we have new rules but still not everyone has cake.
Does that make sense?
Okay, well what if instead of cake, we said nice houses, or nice schools or comfortable things.
At the moment, different people are trying to figure out how to help make sure everyone can get these things and for some people it feels kind of scary to share, some people don’t want to share and other people want to share but aren’t sure what that looks like.
And then another why followed….
Don’t ever stop asking these questions little man, your why questions might very well hold answers, compassion and solutions for some of the consequences of bad rules.
In the meantime we need to figure out how to share the cake better, both in attitude and practical action.