I love this time of year as it’s when I take a step back from teaching, take time out to relax a little and get into some good novels. So I decided to start this holiday with the new book by Redi Tlhabi, (in my mind still Direko), “Endings & Beginnings” a story of Healing. Redi is one of my favourite radio presenters. I’m not sure when I started enjoying her shows, but I’ve been listening to her for years now and I think she is one of the most inspiring, knowledgeable and bravest journalists out there. To me, she epitomizes the face of our next generation, young, hard-working, smart, eloquent, just what South Africa needs right now. So I was very excited to find her book at my parents house and nipped it for a few days.
So, yes a little different from the usual yoga reads and reviews, but like I said I’m taking a break. And as a privileged white South African growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, feeling loved, safe and well cared for, with the most amazing parents and support structure, I had little knowledge as to what life elsewhere was like, what others my age were having to deal with on a daily basis. Even when I completed my yoga teachers training course where we had to go into the townships to distribute sandwiches and teach basic yoga and breathing practices at the clinics and later visiting Masiphumelele for a year to teach yoga with the SevaUnite group, I had no clue as to what living in these communities was really like.
I am amazed, surprised and utterly shocked that the fear of rape and murder are an acceptable daily occurrence. That being told what to do, or not do, having the elders “decide/run” your life is the way things are, (hopefully now, were,) done. Yes we hear stories in the news, from friends of friends who knew someone who heard it from someone… but this book made it real for me. I could, for the first time see, feel, understand and empathise with a part of South Africa that has been in a closed off room.
It has proved that the people, the choices, and the lifestyle we choose plays a huge role in shaping our future. That if we are honest with ourselves and others, if we are firm in our beliefs but not dictatorial, if we follow our passions and deep intuition, we then have the ability to shape a positive life for ourselves and others. This is what in yoga we call “sangha”, we are advised to spend time with like-minded people who will help us on our spiritual journey. And there really is nothing truer than this. Those who we spend more time with, whose energy, advice and knowledge we listen to and take on is very often how we then project ourselves to the rest of the world. So the more loving, positive, happy and focused we are the more this will spread to others.
Many thanks to Redi for sharing her story and making it accessible to all. If you love this country and want to understand it from another angle I highly, highly, highly recommend this read. You won’t regret it.