A tribute to a lady called Tebogo and all the women of Africa who share her spirit………
I don’t like to point out what is on the outside of people. I am far more interested in what lies beneath skin tone. But today, I need to express my deep admiration for the incredible women of colour of South Africa whom I get to meet. Every time I connect with you and witness your passion, commitment and spirit of excellence I long to be just a little like you. I want to spend time in your presence. Your spirit ignites something inside of me and I just want to be where you are, watching you step into the hard-won opportunities that you grasp with awed zeal.
Your imagination and sense of possibility astound me. I want to tell you that you are a profound credit to those who fought so hard for your freedom; not just those whose names will be immortalised forever as struggle heroes, but to your mums and dads, grandparents, teachers and mentors. I honour the miners, domestic workers, township dwellers, rural housewives, nurses and gardeners - those who in the darkest days of our heritage were determined to prepare you for a better day, who fought daily battles for your future, who gave you everything they had and took their lack and fashioned character in you – taught you courage, dignity, self-respect, diligence, belief, hope, endurance, compassion, wisdom and faith.
Please don’t be offended when I say that I envy your journey. I envy you for what I see within you; your resilience, your determination, your defiant stand against fear. I envy your overcoming spirit, your sense of community, your generosity, your grace, your elegance and your poise. I envy your knowledge of who you are at your core and your sense of ownership over your destiny. I love that you have discovered and become what no one can steal from you. I am so honoured to live among you, so grateful that I get to watch you emerge as leaders and champions of tomorrow.
I want to work with you so you will rub off on me. I want to serve you so I can learn from you. I want my children to know yours and to be challenged and stretched by them. I want to tell my grandchildren stories about you and see them partner with yours to build an amazing future. I want to thank you for inspiring hope in me. I want to watch you ascend to leadership and influence on the shoulders of those you are raising around you. I want to marvel at the living masterpieces of your lives and to believe in the world you will birth.