From My Sketch Book – 4

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For years our lives in South Africa were fragmented and divided. As a nation we know only too well that our future lies in our young people. Everything has to be done to protect them from those destructive “isms” racism, nationalism, tribalism, sexism and religious superiority and exclusivity.

I sketched this picture of these two little guys. I hope, that as they walk in to the future and and begin to feel the pressures of all the above “isms,” in whatever guise they may come, that they will always remember this moment when they walked arm in arm.

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About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
Image | This entry was posted in Art, Contemplation, From My Sketchbook, inspiration, Life, Poetic Imagination, Politics, Relationships, Spirituality, Transformation, wisdom and insight and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to From My Sketch Book – 4

  1. Hudson Howl says:

    In the foot falls of children lays hope. Well done Don. The sketch, well it is as what is, unfettered, allowed to flourish in its own right, an intrinsic quality you have been echoing when you first started to post your sketches -they might be sketches, but your not ‘sketchy’ in the value of opening up the eyes. I wish I knew more about that country you live in. Guess I’ll have to stick around here.

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Hudson. It is a country full of immense potential and goodwill, but also tremendous challenge and pain. Sometimes we are gripped by despair and then suddenly by so much hope. We live in the midst of much contrast and struggle, but that’s what makes life so challenging here. You live in a beautiful land, my friend.

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  2. Healthy A-Z says:

    This touches my heart…the lovely sketch and the wise words. Great start to my day!

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  3. katy says:

    That sketch touches both my heart and soul. With all the baggage we carry will we ever be as accepting as those little guys. Such a happy hopeful picture.

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    • Don says:

      We do carry so much baggage Katy. The tragedy is that so many project that same baggage on to our children, and there’s something almost diabolical about it. But then there are those who are different and they’re the gifts to our society. Thanks for your comment Katy.

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  4. The future of our entire world rests upon how we teach our children. Through loving actions and words of compassion we stand a chance. Allowing friendships to grow where they may encourages our children to look outside themselves and hopefully learn that above all each and every one of us is “human”.

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  5. I love the drawing! My parents taught us that human color is a PIGMENT of the imagination — we’re all the same 🙂

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  6. josna says:

    I hope so too, Don. Lovely sketch. It makes me wonder whether or not their relationship is one of social equals, and whether there are many un/desegregated residential areas in South Africa now, or whether there are still only certain areas, circumstances, or relationships that bring blacks and whites together. I think as I write this of literature, since I’ve never actually been to South Africa (though I hope to correct that one day)–of Nadine Gordimer’s novel _July’s People_(1980), written under Apartheid, in which a young white girl felt that she was friends with the slightly older black girl in her life, the the rest of the world, and a _Life Magazine_ photographer, saw the relationship as one of young mistress and servant. I apologize in advance if this is too personal a comment–I don;t mean it as such, only curious about the social complexities behind a simple picture of two innocent children walking arm in arm. Warm regards, J

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    • Don says:

      No need to apologize Josna. There’s much in what you say. I’ve read most of Nadine Gordimer’s books and she has had a profound influence on the South African scene. Since “July’s People” the South Africa then is virtually unrecognisable in the one of now. In thirty two years we have come a long, long way. Yes, there are still many issues that have to be dealt with, but the transformation has been enormous. Many white suburbs are now completely mixed and previous white schools have been transformed in a most remarkable way. Little scenes like the one I sketched are common not only in our schools, but also in residential areas and in no way could they be defined as master/servant or mistress/servant relationships, although those exist, funny enough now even in the black middle class. Yes there are social complexities behind a simple picture of two innocent children walking arm in arm. But the fact is that here we have two children simply doing what for them is completely natural, recognising one another as equals, and then we come along and project the complexities, which are essentially our own issues, on to them. That’s my fear. Much still needs to be done, but there’s no denying the pace of transformation in the country and what it’s doing for our people. Thank you for your meaningful comment, I really appreciate it.

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      • josna says:

        I’m so happy to hear this, Don. In no way would I want to be responsible for projecting 30-years-out-of-date fears upon young innocents of today. (My son pushes back at my ideas about race and culture all the time, as I tend to resist the idea that the U.S. is a “post-racial” society yet, since too many people who advance that idea are in denial about the persistent racial inequities in the society.) On the outside we tend to hear more about the things in South Africa that haven’t changed for the better, or that have worsened (lots of noise about the levels of violence in the cities, for example), than about the social transformation that has been achieved in one short generation. I remember reading just a few years ago that a school system in South Africa banned _July’s People_ as a “racist” book—and wonder whether they came to that conclusion because it focuses on a relationship that is very much a product of the old society. I’m sure that there’s still a long way to go and hope that there continues to be enough meaningful change to sustain these childhood friendships into adult working life. And I agree with you that we all have to be very careful not to perpetuate antiquated habits of mind.

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      • Don says:

        Josna, what you say is so full of meaning. I would love to be able to sit down with you and talk about these issues in depth. Thank you for your responses. They are so welcome.

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  7. Inspiring…awesome…full of hope. My favorite of your sketches so far…as Garth Brooks says, when the last thing you notice is the color of skin…we shall all be free.

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  8. nrhatch says:

    Your sketches are wonderful. Great message in this one too.

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  9. ladyfi says:

    Oh yes – this touches me to the core! My two kids are adopted from South Africa so I really appreciate your message.

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  10. Lyn says:

    Your sketch speaks of my grandson and his friend of some years, Mfundo. Mfundo has spent the night on a few occassions and it’s a blessing to watch their innocence of colour whilst playing. Was particularly funny when Shaun made “pap” for supper and Mfundo was gob smacked that white people eat such food. Too cute.

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    • Don says:

      That sounds so good Lyn. I’m sure what the two of them have, have shaped their lives in ways that will prepare them for more effective and inclusive living. Love the “pap” story.

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  11. I truly hope that they do remember it and hopefully stay friends through life. You are so talented. I love this sketch.

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  12. Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” comes to mind – living in perfect harmony. But that will only come when we all have the innocence of children, where it is the person who matters, not the colour of their skin.
    I love your picture, and hope we may see more of this kind of friendship and acceptance everywhere.

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    • Don says:

      I remember the song so well, Linda. If I remember correctly there was the constant image of piano keys in the video. So true what you say, and thank you for your kind words.

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  13. saymber says:

    Your drawing perfectly illustrates why I enjoy being with children and animals more than adults! The barriers and walls adults build don’t exist in the world of children and most animals. Reblogging! Thank you for posting this – you are quite talented! 🙂

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  14. saymber says:

    Reblogged this on saymberblondi and commented:
    Why can’t the world be this way?

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  15. That’s awonderful drawing – it says so much – without words ;o)

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  16. dmgartphoto says:

    We leave a lot to the next generations but above all we leave our thoughts and ways in their minds. The ism’s are like viruses and the cure is education and fighting poverty (both physical and spiritual poverty). Like the sketch 🙂

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  17. Victoria says:

    So lovely. Much thanks to Saymber, for reblogging this post. I look forward to seeing,and reading, more of your work.

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  18. Greg. says:

    “I Rode Around Africa On My Bike” was written by Riaan Manser. He had no backup team. Just a white guy alone on a bike. Your sketch invokes stories in the book of the warmth and hospitality extended to this travelling stranger by the poorest of the poor in times when he was desperate and seemingly without hope.
    These acts of humanity, offered by children,parents and grandparents alike during his adventures,
    encouraged him to complete this epic journey, and restore his faith in Africa and its peoples.

    Like

    • Don says:

      He must carry with him a wonderful story. So much goodwill around. To travel as he did and experience all that goodwill must have been such a tonic of hope for him. Thanks Greg. Should read the book.

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      • Greg says:

        Don, the thing is, he also encountered murderous child-soldiers from whom he escaped with his life by sheer chance: he had a copy of Time magazine that featured Thabo Mbeki on the cover and so they let him go! Also there were drug dealers, swindlers, villians and heroes, gunmen and peasants:every type of humankind. But the overiding element was goodwill, a willingness to offer what little they had in food and shelter and kindness.
        I am currently reading “The Shadow Of The Sun” My African Life by Ryszard Kapuscinski, a war correspondant hailed as the definitive voice on all things African. His off the beaten track stories echo those of Manser: the widespread goodwill of the people of our continent!

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    • Don says:

      Sounds like a wonderful book Greg.

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  19. Another hidden talent! 🙂

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  20. Don, your post inspires on so many levels! First I was captivated by the excellent picture which is so pleasant in subject and hues. Your words call us all to hope for the best and do the right thing wherever we live as individuals. I am blessed to have lived in a blue-collar neighborhood while growing up and thought nothing of hanging out with friends whose parents spoke foreign languages and cooked meals I did not recognize. Our neighborhood was rich in variety.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    • Don says:

      Your background must have been a real gift to you Wendy. It just goes to show how important the context is in which we grow up. Thank you for sharing and I’m sure you celebrate those roots you have shared.

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  21. Terry says:

    Stunning sketch and thoughts Don, such a constant belief in our home. Love has an incredible power to heal. I’m finding lately that I’m constantly pressing this point home amongst my friends and family – why all of a sudden is it necessary is beyond me. Children should never have their parents prejudices passed onto them, they are such an inspiration when it comes to looking at life with fresh eyes!!

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    • Don says:

      Thanks Terry.. I think the sad thing is when parents never become conscious of their own prejudices and moment by moment just fill their children up with them. As you say, Children are such an inspiration, yet so vulnerable. I saw some child soldiers on the news the other day, so filled with hate and so warped in their understanding. Behind all that are the adults that shaped them. So tragic. I wanted to weep. Thanks for sharing Terry.

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  22. Pingback: Bewitching Benefits of the Blogosphere | Spirit Lights The Way

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