I sit here in my privileged little bubble. My house up on the hill, with my view of the ocean. Heating, a flushable toilet, running water. Groceries in the cupboard. Much much more than we need. We buy in advance, enough for a month. A freezer full of meat. We did not stockpile toilet paper.
I look out the window, across the valley and to the ocean. Across that ocean is home. I do not miss it. My heart is happy here. But my heart bleeds for my people. I have worked “on the ground” for most of my life and I know and understand the suffering, the hardship, the struggles, the poverty that exists back in South Africa. Though I have never lived it.
I am heartbroken.
We are okay here. We feel protected in our bubbles. We stay under lock down, only leaving for essentials. Though I am an essential worker, I do my work from the bubble of my home. More privilege. A government job I don’t have to worry about losing – for now – a home, I can pay rent for. Warm. Safe. In the bubble.
But South Africans, the majority at least, have a new kind of struggle. because being murdered in your sleep is no longer at the top of that list. Instead, being unable to escape a virus that spreads unseen. I have no right to feel sad and to feel worried – I left. I’ve heard it a million times in the almost two years we’ve been gone. We don’t get to talk about South Africa. We don’t get to call ourselves South Africans. We lost that privilege when we left. I get it. I’ve heard it over and over again.
But my heart hurts. My heart pains for the people in their shacks. With no running water. No space for self-isolation. No toilets. No fully stocked pantry. No jobs. No money. No first class medical care. Beaten by the Police for being out in the street. While the rich go for jogs and cry because their rights are denied to them.
I can’t pretend I don’t care. I don’t care that you say I have no right. That my voice should be silent. My heart bleeds for the death that is to come to my people. The people of my home land.
I hold you in my heart.