Freedom

(A poem from the book Dwelling in Dissonance)

I wrote this poem after driving into Tembisa to facilitate a dialogue there…) 


Here

We live

in sanitized suburbia

Oblivious

to the many freedoms

we take for granted every day

 

Freedom

To choose

an outfit

Appropriate

To weather

And occasion

 

Freedom

To choose

a meal

Catering

To hunger

And taste

 

Freedom

To choose

a room

Furnished

For purpose

And comfort

 

Freedom

To choose

a house

Built

For protection

And security

 

Freedom

To choose

a school

Offering

Both quality

And accessibility

 

Freedom

To choose

a language of communication

Accommodating

Both proficiency

And personal preference

 

Freedom

To choose

a means of transport

Providing

Safety

And convenience

 

Freedom

To choose

to move out

Of here

To

There

 

Where

They live

in trapped township

Limited

By the lack of freedoms

they face every day

 

“It’s a free country!”

We say


I realise that a large part of the privileges that I enjoy have to do with the freedom of choices that I experience and that there are many others that do not have the same choices I do. Although I believe we all have more choices than we realise, I can only speak from my own lived experience. One of the freedoms we as privileged people probably do not use as often as we could, is the choice to move out of our comfort zone and into the space of those less privileged than us. It is in these spaces that we could really get to know each other … Have you ever visited a friend in a township? Do you know someone who lives in a township that you could visit? 

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