What is our South African legacy? Lessons from Michelangelo’s Pieta

I am in absolute awe of the work done by Michelangelo – a phenomenal sculptor and artist in the 15th and 16th centuries. 500 years later his work still stands for us to see.

It makes me think – about my legacy – what will that be. And then about our legacy in South Africa, what will that be?

Read on below the picture – because I know we can do better than we are now…

Michelangelo's PietaMichelangelo’s_Pieta_5450_cropncleaned.jpg (JPEG Image, 1584 × 1660 pixels) – Scaled (35%).

Leaving a loving legacy

We live together in a land which is marked by history, to be a shining example for our children and the rest of the world. It may also be a land which will show just how easily people choose the wrong paths in life. This is up to us.

We have a huge opportunity to make a difference now. We have a choice. We can stumble in the deep ruts of the past, or to step onto a bright, new road. A path less travelled. A chosen path.

So many people been damaged by the history of our country. So many are being hurt right now. We have all been classified and have classified others. We have caused hurt and been hurt. We have wronged and been wronged.

Just listen to conversations of your friends and associates. Read the press. Watch the news. Feel the spirit of the people. There has been great change, and yet little has changed

Will our children be born into” Apartheid styled groups” which deny themselves opportunity by virtue of their supposed differences. Denied by the virtue of their genes or parental choices? Yes they will, if we choose to continuously classify people by race, wealth, colour, religion, language or nationality. (This year my 11 year old son came home from school with a document declaring that he is a coloured. Kids in his class call him “umlungu” (white person). He was born a full 7 years after the 1st democratic elections in our country.)

Too many of our new “leaders”, have found that their old apartheid jackets are far too comfortable. Our new rainbow coloured “clothes” need our individual adjustment. We will all have to lose the weight of the past, in order for them to fit. Only then will we feel different, see differently and behave differently.

Yes, the past is not our potential and the future starts with you and I. Today.

We can face our fears or live in them. We can talk of others and their racism, or take action to be free of racism. We can stop generalising. We can complain about crime or work for honesty, safety and integrity. We can be shocked by AIDS, or find ways to improve health and morality. We can complain of corruption, or act to clean up our country. We can demand respect, or give it. We can blame others, or take responsibility.

We can call for apologies for ancestral actions or act now to ensure that our descendants never need apologise for what we have done.

True freedom has always been in our hands, our hearts and our souls. It has always lived alongside the opposite options. You and I can be free, no matter what the circumstances. Our freedom ensures the freedom of others and it comes from looking within.

We can share in the beautiful diversities of our land. We can experience many answers to all challenges. We can join together as humans in this world. We can love and learn together.

You and I  are all living actors in the unfolding legend of South Africa and the world awaits our lessons. You and I  have an opportunity to leave a living, loving legacy for ourselves and for those to come.

Hear the call. Now is our time.