I came to the world via South Africa, where I spent the first fourteen-and-half years of my life, June 1960-January 1975. As I get older and older for each new year that comes and goes, the impact that growing up in that country has had on my fundamental views of life becomes ever more glaring. That as I strive to make sense of the multitudinous manifestations of horrendous sociological choices outcomes in the world today. In that sense, I was born at the right place, in my time.
The horrendous sociological choices outcomes I mention above arising from apparent mental derangement states in which some of our national and global political leaders thrive as they pathetically engineer society to perpetual dysfunctionality. They think out, formulate, and work to impose outrageous rules and laws that are obviously detrimental to the well-being of society. In fact, these lunatics present an existential threat to human and other life on earth. This as evidenced by national social upheavals owing to ever degenerative leadership quality across the world.
Social collapse attendant to dominant degenerate ethico-political leadership characteristically culminate in civil and international wars, ill-management of potential and actual natural catastrophes, including pandemics. The current Covid-19 pandemic is supposed to have given the world a wake-up call. Of course, this is an outlandish idea to many a national-global leader, and, not in the least, a segment of the new socio-cultural influencer class at the same scale. The latter extensively prevalent in the vast and ever so rapidly growing internet social media platforms sphere.
In the world today, Rocket Science knowledge is not a pre-requisite for the ability to pinpoint where on the globe the scum of society are all out to deprive people of the right to live free and happy in the abundance of survival resources existence provides for all. It’s all on Google. It’s all in the news. If you read and/ listen to conspiracy theories news publications, you are no different from the scum of the earth. Wretched souls beyond redemption. Shame.
Growing up in South Africa, I was from an early age mentally conditioned that I might at some point have to sacrifice my schooling opportunities for the benefit of my younger sister, Sisi. Prime assumption being that misfortune could somehow befall my parents. In that event, they would eventually fail to finance my siblings’ and I’s education, caught up in the doldrums of endemic Black South Africans’ poverty-stricken existence.
Seen from a global human perspective, parenting and all that it entails is what it is by default. It is not my intention to want to trivialize the challenges of parenting elsewhere. But parenting in the then inherently doomed, dysfunctional, systemically racistApartheid South Africa was an arduous, unpredictable endeavour for Black people: unemployment, disease, violence, rampant sudden death. Other than the new faces on drivers’ seats of post-Apartheid South African socio-economic transformation state machinery, not much has changed for the masses of the underprivileged in the country, though.
It was never difficult for me to understand that in the event that some tragedy would befall my parents, especially my father, I’d have to stop schooling, go find work, and earn some money to continue where they’d have left to financially support the family. The idea that I’d defy the misfortune fate of my people had already been long engrained in my head. Therefore, it wasn’t accidental that my mother encouraged me to earn my own pocket money by selling oranges on the streets during school holidays. I was ten years old the first time. Three years later, 1973, I landed my first ever formal employment job as a junior waiter at a then Whites OnlyItalian Restaurant in my hometown, Welkom.
I’m still alive. With variable rates of success over the years, I have lived to fulfill my obligations as a supportive elder brother to my two surviving siblings from my mother. Owing to circumstances beyond my control, I haven’t been able to be there for my half-siblings from my father’s other procreative endeavours exterior to my mother, prior to or after their marriage.
Any fool ought to know by now that education is a historically powerful facilitatory tool to appreciable degrees of progressive participation in, and gain from socio-economic activities of our modern, digital age global society. Indeed, some guys with all the luck and some other special attributes will become economically and politically high and mighty without having gone far by way of academic education attainment. These may or may not be partners in crime vis-à-vis upliftment or destruction of society.
The unabashed manifestation and relentless growth of misogyny in the later years of my life boggle my mind. That’s because I grew up aware that upon having weighed the options in time, it was a trend in my neighbourhood that priority was given to pushing girls to acquire as much education as possible. The girls could be nurses and teachers when grown up. Costs of more specialized education in medicine, engineering, and other such related fields of academic or professional training were prohibitive. This fact, combined with generally demotivating Apartheid state policies towards Black education, created a major barrier for my people’s pursuit of higher education ambitions.
It made sense to empower girls because, ideally, they grew up to be mothers of the nation, starting with their respective family units. An educated girl subsequently getting married to a well-bred young man was worth gold to her family. In my then community’s perfect world within the context of the imperfect Apartheid world then, boys having sacrificed their own education for their sisters could always come back and continue schooling once their sisters had at least completed pre-university studies. If the plan didn’t succeed, the boys would simply continue working, get married, have children, and see the latter go through the same cycle of sacrifices with little prospects of sustainability in practice.
From my generation in my childhood neighbourhood in Thabong, Welkom, I don’t know of even a single girl that ever obtained at least full high school education level. Although possibly true in some instances, this is not necessarily mainly a result of family economic constraints nor personal cognitive inadequacies.
My only concern, if not fear, about the idea of me delaying my academic advancement for my younger sister’ sake was the potential of her getting pregnant whilst still at school. In that case, that’d be the end of dreams, for both of us, of a better life derived from well-paying jobs education aspiringly led to. Experience showed that once the boys entered the labour market, not many ever got the opportunity to continue with their educational ambitions later on as life progressed.
If anything, the boys would also soon make other girls pregnant and then get caught in the trap of lasting poverty as they get overwhelmed by economic hardships of their own. Paradoxically, once a young girl got pregnant, that was it: she was finished. No more school. Never. As a general observation, which to a large extent remains true to this day, early-age pregnancy totally destroyed girls’ lives. The situation would be worse if the impregnator refused to take responsibility for looking after or supporting the immature mother-to-be.
My mother-tongue, Sesotho, is the most disparaging, derisive language I know. In Sesotho, a young girl getting pregnant is described as ‘o senyehile’. It means that ‘she is destroyed’. And she’ll be treated as such by both her family and the community. She’s brought shame not only to the family but everyone around her. At worst, she’d be treated with much disrespect. Boys and men now seeing her as cheap, and, therefore, reduce her to a readily available sexual object moving forward. Consent not a concept adhered to by the male sex predators in this case. Many a girl’s life has been destroyed this way, culminating in suicides in the extreme.
‘O ntshitse mpa’ translates as ‘She has taken out the stomach’. Abortion is described as ‘Ho ntsha mpa’ in Sesotho, therefore. Graphically, ‘Ho ntsha mpa’ as a process means ‘to remove the stomach’. Consequently, I’ve since my childhood days associated abortion with excruciating physical pain for the girls concerned. As I grew older in my mid-late teens, I began to be cognizant of, and think independently on ethical and moral issues. It was at this point that I concluded lastingly that regardless of the circumstances prevailing around a pregnancy, it must be an extremely tortuous decision for a woman to choose to terminate it.
As a firmly held philosophical stand-point, I concluded that it took much resolve and courage for a woman to choose to endure the physical and emotional pain that abortion necessarily entails. This is one area in which I feel and think that women manifest magnanimity deserving the highest and unreserved admiration. To force a woman to carry to the full a pregnancy that’s uncontestably detrimental to her physical and mental health, if not life-threatening, ought to be the crime.
Abortion as a medically defensible procedure to safeguard and enhance the well-being of women in the living ought to be a right understood from a woman’s perspective. Stupid old men who have no practical idea at all about what it takes and feels to be pregnant and subsequently give birth must stay out of promulgating laws that interfere with women’s sexual reproductive health rights. Anti-abortion women dancing to the tunes of stupid conservative old and young men are traitors against their own kind. These women need help. When one woman appallingly postulates that another woman can opt for abortion at the point of actual birthing, it suggests some serious mental imbalance issues. Another one is about women aborting children already born. Jeeezzuzzz!!!
Please Give me time Walking a straight course Is not A given for me
Given are Obstacles From the first step to the last I’ve got sores Under my feet I walk Spiked metal Carpeted roads In my time
I’ve danced through Landmines in my time Bombs clapping sounds In my ears Don’t stop
Scars on my body Don’t heal I eel through I scale Razor wire fences To get anywhere
My muscles are wasted I’ve walked through fire It’s a wonder I can move at all
My eardrums hurt It’s a wonder I can hear Birds sing My will is intangible It cannot be isolated Cannot be broken I move as I will I get there The elements Give me no easy task To set my roots in the soil
Hostility Above and below The ground is A given for me
I must fight All the time I must fight Absolutely For everything To reach the top of The mountains I climb As a given To sustain my life Even just to serve
From a mountain top When I’d rather Rock and roll Down to home base In satisfaction I’m ever thrust over the edge To tumble ’n roll Over ’n over In pain
Hitting home base Body twisted A bone or two broken I’m taken Back in time Back in space More obstacles To overcome Another mountain climb To the top Where keys to My well of joy lie waiting
If love Blanketed the earth I’d reach for you My joy Every step I take
Give me time I cannot breathe at your pace I carry Weight of the world Laden with hate On my shoulders
I fight bigots Hating me For colour of my skin They demean me They seek to dehumanize me Every step I take
They twist my words Slander me Project myths that Colour of my skin Facades evil in man I get enemies for free
They muddy my paths Spill oil over roads I walk I slide and fall I get up Burn the midnight oil Keep moving on One step at a time Against the clock’s Sixty tick-tock seconds steps a minute Sixty tick-tock minutes steps an hour My steps have time tick-tocks Of their own As a given In my precarious existence
Bigots They seek To break my spirits Every step I take I am indomitable My spirit terrifies them
They shoot me I die They created Jesus’ Resurrection story To cover their Confoundment over My resilience
Give me time You’ll see in time That I really am human too Everything they can do I can do better As a given I must work Ten times as hard Anytime In my time
There are times The agony inside Is unbearable My head Wants to explode At not only The bigots’ cruelty But their horrendous Outright stupidity
When reason doesn’t work When prayer doesn’t work Because their God is made In the image of them bigots’ Collective derangement I have to stop and cry From time to time Please give me time For my tears to dry
Starting from below zero With zero privilege Against these meanest odds I’ll rule the world It ain’t for nothing I’m the oldest Human being on earth
They created Adam To sideline me Doesn’t work I’m here As a given On the eve of My victory
PS The pandemic is still in our midst. Fears and factual untruths haven’t abated. In my 7th book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories, I highlight fallacies red lights and how to identify them. Order the book, read, and be inspired by my philosophical exposition on the matter. It might save yours and your loved one’s lives. DISCLAIMER: I neither offer nor suggest any cures or remedies. I promote fearless, independent thought and inclination towards pursuing science-based knowledge in times of, indeed, frightening, life-threatening phenomena in the world.
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TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE A CHILD: WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE
I wouldn’t hesitate to have the pregnancy terminated were I a woman and I found that I was expecting a child that my being was not ready to have and subsequently raise. Reasons for my decision being mine, and mine alone; coming from the deepest recesses of my being, where no one but me alone will ever reach, feel and know.
It’s a natural eventuality that the human race, as with numerous other species, shall propagate itself. But it’s not a given that absolutely all women shall, or must fall pregnant and be perpetual baby-making machines. Furthermore, it’s not a given that all pregnancies shall complete the normal nine-month cycle of foetal development to birth of a wholesome child: stillbirths. Neither is it a given that all children shall be born with perfect physical symmetry and neurophysiological functionality. Pure science.
To begin with, it’s not a given that sexual encounters resulting in pregnancies would have all occurred under ideal conditions. The latter being, amongst others, mutual consent, healthy woman and man, as well as a myriad of other biological and sociological factors. It has to be a woman’s prerogative to choose whether or not she shall carry will-be children in her body. That regardless of her civil status as an adult. Morality.
Especially decisions around minors’ pregnancies need to be attended to with absolute care under the guidance of relevant professional personnel across the board. It goes without saying that the same shall be made available to adult women as a matter of course. It’s only that minors’ and adults’ realities are non-identical, non-comparable. Ethics.
Child bearing is not an obligation. Child rearing is. The latter is primarily an obligatory venture between the parents of the child. The parents’ micro and macro villages shall render their assistance according to their abilities and prevailing social norms and values. It’s worth noting that modern society’s parental constellations are more than just about female-male/ same-sex in all sorts of cohabitation arrangements as married, single-living-together-apart; female or male single parenting. Also, artificial insemination enables pregnancy without direct sexual intercourse. Surrogate parenting and surrogacy options add more complexities to the dynamics of modern society’s parental constellations. Changing times. Inevitable.
A woman’s choice to abort a pregnancy does not have to be independent of the existence of the child-to-be’s father. That assuming earlier or current relationship of one kind or another between the two. Rape and other forms of abuse upon the expectant mother ought to preclude the rapist’s right to claim or seek to influence the sexually abused pregnant victim’s decision to terminate the condition. It’s bad enough for a woman to have to endure the trauma of rape in the first place. Compassion.
I hold the view that, having weighed her options, when of own volition a pregnant woman of normal faculties settles for abortion, she needs all the support and love from the sperm donor above all other relations. That to the extent that there is some form of functional relationship between the two, of course. Rapists and abusers need not have any part in this. Empathy.
Normal birthing is an ever so excruciatingly painful and precarious exercise. In fact, the entire pregnancy-to-birth journey is a high potential death affair. In non-ideal conditions of inadequate or non-existent, if not deliberately instituted limited access to, public or private health services infrastructure, the rate of maternal mortality rises exponentially. As such, it’s one monumental deal for a woman to decide to make the drastic choice of abortion despite the risks and actual attendant physical and mental torment arising. This leaves me in even greater awe of women as bearers of untold physical, emotional, and mental suffering. In this together. Solidarity.
I maintain that for a child-bearing woman to lose a child under any circumstance has to be an all-round tortuous experience no man can ever come close to comprehending. Then, who is any man, or another woman for that matter, to want to get in the way of a woman’s right to choose to keep a pregnancy or not? Justice.
Life to the living first. It’s the living thriving in environments and times of abundant love, wellbeing, liberty, equality, and solidarity that will create conditions for higher standards of living for the yet to be born children when their time, place, and opportunity to be part of humanity present themselves. Realism.