Declaration of Interdependence

Nelson Mandela, our father, delivered us into a free and democratic world. He held our hand as we learned to walk, stumbling in a land of rainbows and possibilities. He nurtured us and showed us our true potential. He taught us about morals and how to live up to our potential. He laid down the foundation that would be our guide as we grew toward adulthood: how to be a good, loving and just country; what it means to be kind to our fellow man. All the things that a parent gives a child to keep and protect them.

Our parent's parent was strict and controlling; abusive and mean. Our ancestor country was a family divided - a country separated from its siblings by their parent. They held our father down and tried to bend him to their will. He fought back and argued and eventually prevailed. Our father did not condemn their parent to death but chose to forgive so we could live without the burden. One day we too will be parent and how will we be to the future South Africa? And what will we bestow? Will we pass on a legacy or a land in ruin?

The two thousands ushered in the start of our teenage years where we rebelled against our parent, our elder. Boundaries were pushed and the tenets of our upbringing ignored. We squandered our inheritance and revelled in the spirit of the time. The intoxication in our self-importance consumed us as we swerved and veered off our path. Our parent, Madiba, patiently watched us go off the rails and drive ourselves headlong into a wall. A wall that we helped build. He allowed his child to learn it's own lessons and make its own mistakes.

We fed and got fat. We kicked and pushed further away from our parent, their knowledge and their guidance. We demanded to be an individual that will make a difference. We are not our parent. We did not want to live up to their idealistic expectations. We demanded our own revolution even after the revolution was over. We wanted a cause to fight for and be passionate about when all along the cause and the passion was here for the nurturing.

As we near the end of adolescence, our drunken debauchery of our teenage years, we approach adulthood like all teenagers: fearing the responsibility and mildew rot of complacency of adulthood.

But as we approach adulthood, all we need remember is that which has been taught to us and reach deep into the DNA from our ancestor and see the promise and passion that this land has bestowed. As the haze in our eyes clears and the ringing in our ears fades, we see the bottles of democracy lying empty and broken around us. We see the wrappings of truth and justice torn and soiled in the trash. We honour the nurturing that was given to us. We honour the lessons of our childhood and we honour the lessons of our teenage years when we pushed back. We thought we were ready for adult things. We thought we could handle the spirit of our time but became intoxicated by our pride -our pride built up by ourselves and the pressure and expectations from the rest of the world, our peers. We were not of age to drink those fruits that we took. It was not ours to take, yet. We had not qualified or finished our learning. University is not out yet. But we are about to graduate.

Now we can settle into who we really are. The drunkenness no longer serves us. The party is over but the celebration of life will now begin.

We dust off the torn jeans of revolution. We put on the coat for our graduation, and don the cap for the celebration. We climb into the vehicle of progress, take it out of reverse and put it into drive. We have learned to crawl, we have learned to walk. We are not yet ready to fly but now we can move forward into our land of promise.

We are young. We are a country born 18 years ago. The free south Africa never needed revolutions. We could not do what we were not ready to do. Our steps were rushed but small. Today our steps are slower but our strides increase.

We are not an independent state but a state of interdependence.

Stephen Embleton
7 May 2012

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