Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Futhi Ntshingila

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Special Lesson from Susan Boyle

Yesterday I watched a you tube clip of Susan Boyle and it’s still on my mind. She is a 47 year old woman who had a dream of becoming a professional singer for over 4 decades. She couldn’t realise her dream because she put her life on hold to care for her sickly mother who has since passed on.

When the chance presented itself through the “Britain’s got talent” show, at 47 years of age Susan grabbed it despite the cynicism so prevalent in most of these shows. Her looks are the total opposite of the wanna-be successful singer – (the X factor bull). Susan is neither young, tall, slim nor blonde as it would be expected. The cynics chuckled and looked uncomfortable by the sight presented to them.

The moment of truth arrived and she blew their socks off. Susan sang “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables, she sung it beautifully with such ease. She affirmed my constant support for the underdogs, those put on the margins by society’s fake norms.

If you haven’t had a chance to see this special lady’s lesson to society’s plastic rules, do yourselves a favour check and key in Susan Boyle. Watch and weep. Thanks Susan Boyle for affirming the power of simplicity.

Why I love SA

I came across this poem by Ian Macdonald. It affirmed my sentiments. I thought I should share and hope whoever reads and loves SA draws strength from it. What makes you love your country?

Why do I love South Africa?

I love her for the perfection of her days
The crisp Karoo morning
The Joburg winter noon
The late summer Cape Town sunset
The star-filled Free State night
I love her for her people
For our warm smiles
For our resilience
For our I-am-because-we-are
I love her because she delights my senses

Highveld thunderbolts
Jacarandas in bloom
Sunday braais
African sun,
Icy sea
I love her raw power, her intensity, her strength

I love her because of how she makes me feel
Sometimes angry, sometimes joyous
Sometimes fearful, sometimes love-filled
Sometimes frustrated, sometimes hopeful

Always aliveI love her because she intrigues me
And challenges me
The Chinese have a curse: “May you live in interesting times”
I see it as a blessing
I love her because she helps me keep things in perspective
By reminding me how privileged I am

Every dayI love her for being a microcosm of the world
A world in one country
For what we can teach the world
About compromise
And sharing
And forgiveness
And tolerance
And hope

I love her because she’s imperfect
And full of opportunity
And potential unfulfilled
I love her because she has come so far
And has so much further to go
And whether we ever get there
Will all depend on us

I love her because she’s been so good to me
And she inspires me to return the favour
I love her because she’s my country
No matter whatI love her because she’s my home
And where my soul is at rest

By Ian Macdonald



What of the daughters? Who is to protect them when their mothers are too weak and terrified to stand up for them? Could it be love that blinds these mothers from seeing the monsters who sleep next to them at night? Is it helplessness? Are they co-conspirators in such crimes?

What of the children born out of such violations? Born to witness violence, ugliness and weakness? Should such fathers be called animals? But what animal rapes? Do animals rape each other? Should they growl and take offence on being equated to rapists?

How many are they? These things in the form of men? These things with inhuman thoughts and plots for their own flesh and blood? What have the girls done wrong to deserve such heavy punishment?

These are the questions that came to mind when I read that yet another man and his son have been busy raping their own flesh and blood for decades. It is nauseating to read these stories that are far stranger than the fiction we use to make sense our realities. It churns my stomach, it is beyond sick.

Reading “A Mercy” by Toni Morrison

I am reading and trying to understand “A Mercy” by Toni Morrison. There seems to be layer after layer of meaning that is illusive in this narrative. It’s always the case with Morrison’s works of genious. I find myself reading ten pages and having to go back again to see if I missed something. Slavery without racism or is it is without? There is a Portugese trader who sells Angolans, a young slave girl’s hunger for love and approval, and a freed black blacksmith who confidently looks at Europeans in the eyes. It seems to me race still plays a large part although Morrison maintains a point of departure from race in this novel. It is a fascinating but complicated read. So far I like the character of Lina the most because she seems to be very clear when it comes to why she has chosen to stay out of the misery of belonging to some man. She did once but what she learnt was her own limits. She says: “I will walk behind. I will clean up after. I will not be thrashed. No” Perhaps when I finally get to the end of it, I will have gained some understanding. I should be done soon because after that I am keen to get to the “Lost Colours of the Chameleon”