Wednesday, 5 March 2014

My Two Cents towards the Anti-Gay Debate...

The Anti-gay Law Debate
About 100 years ago missionaries brought Christianity to Africa, changing the names and ways of many objects and processes. Those changes caused the upheaval of many systems and introduced new ways of thinking about things. In many ways they essentially insisted that Africans stop thinking for themselves and take on the 'better' ways. A significant introduction made by the missionaries was morality about all things, including sexuality. The Bible was used to decide what was right and wrong, with specific, accepted interpretations. Particularly, the notion that homosexuality was a sin worse than others was indisputable. 

Fast forward a hundred years and the western thinking has changed. Information, rules and new ways of thinking continue to be 'suggested' to Africans, who are still expected to take it all on without thinking about it. The work of missionaries is now being done by politicians and intellectuals, but the intention is still the same: to make sure that Africa continues to serve the development of the West. The Bible is no longer the ruling text and the ideas on homosexuality have changed. Africa is therefore required to keep up with the changing thinking as we have had to do on all other issues as they have evolved in the West: women's rights, health and nutrition, human rights, justice, environmental conservation. The most glaring thing to me is that we fail to negotiate for our ideas of right and wrong because we don't know what they are. As we have shed our own African ness - both by force and by choice - we have failed to record what we are removing so that we know where we came from. We have spent so much time allowing ourselves to be upgraded and contributed our energies towards stripping ourselves of our history and identity.

The African debate on homosexuality is so directionless and weak because we don't quite know what it is that we think about it. We are debating what we are being told to do based on what we have been told to do in the past. In Microsoft excel that type of circular reasoning doesn't work. I don't think it works in life either. 

This isn't the first debate that has highlighted how adrift we are as a people (feminism, food security, health, social dynamics, leadership are still raging unresolved), and it won't be the last. I wonder if we are doomed as a people. If it's true that you can't know where you're going if you don't know where you come from then I'm not sure what hope there is for us. Because from my limited analysis it is glaring that our history, our true selves and identity, has been totally lost. 

The Year 30 Series lives on!!

So the 30 by 30 series didn't quite work out, mostly because I spent my 30th year learning some important lessons. Now that I am older I can write about them :-)) 

My key lessons of 2013 were about love. I'll try and share them with you now. 

Firstly, love is that fluttering in your stomach, that tightening of your heart, that involuntary grin, that extra bounce in your step. Love is the feeling of great fortune and unmerited favour. It's a reminder that you're a great person and worthy of much affection. 

Love is a series of actions. It is a doing word that is shown through its actions. It's the shout that keeps peace. It's the silence that makes a point. It's letting go of the person or the moment or the object that you thought you couldn't live without. 

Love is a choice. Sometimes it's a moment in which we decide to take a chance, in order to love ourselves or love someone else. Sometimes it is a choice that we make over a long time as we determine the type of person we will love even when we haven't met them yet. Then when we meet them we may feel like we have no choice, but the truth is that we will have been deciding it all along. It's the choice to do the thing that will soften and delight someone else's heart, when it puts our schedule out of sync. It's the choice to do nothing when that suits you least. 

Love is a statement. It means 'I want the best for you. I love the way you make me feel. I love the way I make you feel.' Loving someone means making sure that your life is always saying something positive about yourself and about the object of your love. 

God is love. All we are and all we go through are about His love. We just have to open our hearts to see it. We have to think about it on a cosmic scale, beyond the day-to-day.

Love is unpredictable. It can never be fully known because trying to figure it out is part of the adventure and part of the charm. But there are things about love that we can know and trust: that love doesn't only work in the way we think it should. Love isn't only one-dimensional or one-directional. We need to open our minds up to let love teach us in the way that it will, all the while believing that love is good and for good. 

Love never fails. People may fail us. Trust may be broken. But if we are faithful to love it will never fail us. 

Finally, loving yourself is paramount, considering all the points above. It's important to understand that some day you will let yourself down, you will betray yourself, you will surprise yourself. But you must still forgive yourself and move on. You must express your love for yourself, to your self and to the world. 

Most of this may be old news to most people, but a lot of it was new when i learnt it. So i'm grateful for the lessons of my thirtieth year. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

For Resolutions

For all the flack that resolutions get every year, I for one am a fan. I relish the opportunity to restart every year, for a moment to feel hopeful about myself, as if I too can accomplish great things. I think we should focus less on how often we break our resolutions, and more on just how optimistic a people we can be. Let's embrace the hope that we have in ourselves, and commit to dusting ourselves off every New Years and trying to be better. Even if it lasts a day.