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A while ago we saw the rainbow dance above us. It moved majestically as the colours arranged themselves in a spectrum difficult to describe. We stretched our necks and looked above. Some said the rainbow belonged to a short man with an annoying laugh and a dreadful purple robe. He called us a rainbow.
It was hard to believe, it still is.
Privilege, power, poverty and perversion – denial of these is sometimes endemic. Like the clouds, these stand in the shadow of the rainbow. Now, the rainbow has ceased to dance. We look up the azure sky hoping that the rainbow will dance again. Dance to the tune of a nation troubled with the sounds of silent but noticeable war and anger.
The rainbow tries to dance but it’s feet are heavy; it’s body is weighed down. Weighed down by the mess it sees from the sky above – weighed down by our imprudence.
It tries to move gracefully but instead, it remains still.
The rainbow ceased to dance when it witnessed the tragedy of the books undelivered to it’s children. Moving became difficult. Everyone spoke out and wrote but still, Angie was without angst and the children of the rainbow remained without books.
The rainbow ceased to dance merrily when men were gunned down on the fields of Marikana for their pittance. The police shot, the men shot and blame games were played under the watch of the rainbow. Weeks later, women were also shot, injured and a few died.
The rainbow now weeps.
In Lenasia the rainbow left a trail of tears when the houses of it’s children were demolished last week. Some said ‘Look at this, Sophiatown and District 6 all over again’. The colours that carve the beautiful spectrum are scattered. Scattered everywhere – from the dusty streets of Khayelitsha; the farming fields of De Doorns; to the high gates in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
It’s tears fall on us all. It looks from high with questions unanswered and dreams betrayed. The rainbow’s ligaments are torn. Now, the rainbow feels the pain everywhere, it tries to move but it can’t. The rainbow wants to dance.
It woefully watches it’s children go about their affairs – unabated by the cries around them – ignorant of a possibility that this does not have to be their reality. It hears of this great meeting that will be convened next month and the accompanying frenzy- slates, nominations and forces, forces of change?
The rainbow now quietly crawls on it’s knees and puts it’s hand out for reach.
It has not forgotten the majestic splendor of the dance of 1994. The laughter of the games it’s children played in 1996 and 2010. These are all the memories of the rainbow. It remembers these not with dim-witted nostalgia but with a renewed possibility to mend the rainbow. To mend the broken bones and heal it’s torn ligaments.
Soon, the rainbow will heal and dance again.
But, before the rainbow can dance again it needs to heal. It needs to mend the broken bones in government departments that cripple it with inefficiency and contempt for the poor. It needs to look at the torn ligaments in it’s body-politic. The lack of tolerance permeating our political space, the posturing antics our politicians exchange with one another carelessly, the ignorance of the men in big suits with big pockets and more importantly, the lethargy of our people.
When the rainbow heals, it will dance. And when it dances again, we will look up to the sky with wonder in our eyes. Our deeds will carve that beautiful spectrum we know. And when the rainbow dances we will join in rhythm and move with it. Our steps will not always be elaborate, the music may not always be jubilant; but we will dance.
We will to dance with the fractured rainbow and it will heal.
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