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October 2019
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Reading the first few pages of Andre Brink’s , A Fork In The Road, I  found myself wiping tears from my eyes, though they was no plan to cry or any notice that the tears would come streaming. Without sounding self-righteous or self-absorbed, thinking I have the key to heal the world of its pain. Let me declare that I love South Africa, its culture and heritage, in spite of its bitter history. Reading Brink’s book made me grateful that I was not born in South Africa during the apartheid era or had to grow up under an oppressive regime, which repressed and suppressed human beings in the name of superiority and at some point, justified it with religion.

Brink’s memoir is deep and due to the fact that I have to review it for a magazine, I cannot write about it just yet on my website. However, I strongly urge you to get a copy and read it for yourself. It will make you grateful for freedom.

Hence, listening to Oprah give the above speech as she was honoured by the NAACP, using the line from a poem by the great Maya Angelou, ‘I COME AS ONE, BUT I STAND AS 10,000 TO THE 10TH POWER!’ It made me think about the journeys we go on as human beings and  those who went ahead of us and paved the way. I hope that we are also paving the way for others.

It makes me grateful that the born-free generation of South Africa have a chance to write their history without denying their past. I also hope they know, just because the reality of your past was painful and has sometimes left you bitter and seeking vengeance, it does not have to be your future.

I cannot claim to understand it because I never lived and will never live in their shoes but I believe they have so much more to work with than your parents ever had. Hence, if they don’t make it, so that the next generation can salute them when the time comes, then, they have no one but themselves hold accountable.

You too can stand ‘AS 10,000 TO THE 10TH POWER!’

I have been working on a piece which has forced me to go back and read some aspects of the Black British experience, and though I have only lived in the UK for a few years, there is something about the work carried out by those who came before me, which makes it possible for me to walk the streets of London, fully aware of the odds against me, yet, I do not feel the need to apologise for my presence. For no more should we apologsie for the space we occupy within the remit of human existence. We have a right to be here, you and I, Black, White, Green, Red or Yellow.

And so, I come as one, but stand as 10,000 to the 10th Power, in the hope that one day, someone will also be grateful that my generation came and did the job they were supposed to do with no apologies. So, that they too can stand as 10,000 to the 10th power.

Have a great Bank Holiday while standing.


3 Responses to “I COME AS ONE, BUT I STAND AS 10,000 TO THE 10TH POWER!”

  1. Hans Schippers says:

    Inspiring words, Belinda!

    I guess we should try to find a balance between standing up for ourselves when we are held back, as well as moving forward within the limits of the external circumstances that surround us.

    We should support the causes of people standing up for themselves without pretending to know how to fix their situation.

    We may not always be able to do a lot as individuals, but it’s very true that change takes time, sometimes even generations, and and so we should remain hopeful and modest at the same time…

  2. SS France says:

    Thanks for the nice post…

  3. Fermin Chalender says:

    Amazing website, where did you come up with the info in this posting? I’m glad I identified with it though, will be checking back soon to see what other articles you’ve.

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