As we mourn the loss of one of UCT’s greatest assets, Professor Bongani Mayosi, my heart aches for our society.
When did we stop caring about what we do and say to one another? Have we lost our filters somewhere along the way? And when someone is hurt, do we notice and look after that person enough?
Objectively, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to shout a few insults at another human being…surely? After all, how deep can the cut really go? If you are the abuser, perhaps it’s easily forgotten. But what if you are the person suffering the insult? Maybe you are the one being abused. Do you feel the support of those around you? If you do not, then it’s double the injury. And what if this situation goes on unchecked, for years and years? How many of you still smart at an insult flung at you long ago? I know I do. My poetry is filled with the pain of careless words, dished out without a second thought. I remember the wounds words have inflicted long after the fact. A childhood tussle in our backyard is thought of with affection. But cruel words remain in the crevices and come out in the darkest hour to haunt me.
“If we can learn to hate, we can learn to love,” our own Nelson Mandela reminded us. And in the hurly burly of this crazy pace, we all need love desperately.
Perhaps we should pause and take a closer look at the things we do, or say or write. In our fast paced world, a few gatekeepers have been discarded. I for one, am reminding myself to keep them up. One of them is this – Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
Rest in peace Professor Mayosi and may your loved ones find comfort in your amazing legacy.