In 2014, a Sunday Times article uncovered that one-third of all South Africans have mental illnesses – 75% of them will not get any help… More than 17 million people in South Africa are dealing with depression, substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — illnesses that round out the top five mental health diagnoses, according to the Mental Health Federation of South Africa. (Click here to view report)
Debt, broken marriages and families, crime, poverty, gender violence, sexual violence, religion, civil wars and unrest, and fake news are among numerous elements that have contributed monstrously to the mental health problems in our times. The Internet and social media then have amplified the mental health problems. What was a struggle in private has now become a public secret. The rising number of teen suicides is evidence that things have spiralled out of control. We are no longer in control of our lives, algorithms are.
You ought to have seen me six or seven years back. I was stoic, tense, efficient and “wise”. Wise (quote unquote) on the grounds that it was untested learning. I knew a lot since I read a great deal. I was so glad on the off-chance that you discovered I was serious and focused. Goodness man, I went to heaven when I heard that. I cherished it when somebody said to me, “You are so wise and savvy for your age”. Goodness, I cherished that. That was music to my ears.
I had a sharp, noisy and snide chuckle. Be that as it may, it wasn’t genuine delight. I snickered to give the feeling that I was keen on what somebody was stating despite the fact that I was absent in the discussion. My sharp, boisterous and mocking snicker was an act – an act learnt from motivational books, speakers and classes that instructed what I expected to do to pick up companions and impact individuals. You know those, right? Continue reading “How grace filled my life with joy”
Have you ever wronged someone, asked for forgiveness, but still felt something wasn’t right? Yes, you wronged that person. Yes, you repented and asked for forgiveness. Yes, at least in your mind you think the air has been cleared and that you could begin with a clean slate. But something still feels off. You still feel itchy about the whole situation. You try to shake it off, but it won’t go away.
Many times in my marriage, I have wronged Jenny, bigly. When I asked her for forgiveness, she graciously forgave me. However, I’ve always been left with the feeling that her forgiveness wasn’t enough – I didn’t do enough to warrant her forgiveness. I check her body language to see whether the forgiveness is real and usually look at her face to see whether she is still angry with me.
I have just finished reading Trevor Noah’s autobiographical non-fiction book — Born a Crime and Other Stories released in South Africa by Pan Macmillan in 2017.
The book is about his experiences as a mixed child growing up in South Africa — a child of a white European father and black African mother. As his book title suggests, he was born a crime because his white European father and black African mother were in a relationship that was not sanctioned by the apartheid government. However, his parents the renegades that they were, decided to break the law, did the unthinkable, and thus he was born.
In his book, he narrates to us details of his upbringing and his views on race, love, parenting, religion, language, poverty, culture and tradition, masculinity, violence against women etc. He weaves these themes through the many stories he shares in his book.
My best story is early on in the book. The story centers on his poo incident and the ensuing chaos it brought to his family and the community in Soweto. (Pgs. 50-57) I laughed myself dry.
The stories about his mother are extraordinary. She had to make tough choices in order to live and thrive in a society that did not rate women at all. Her quest to have a child because she wanted something to love and something that would love her unconditionally. (Pg. 91) Her estrangement from her family and raising a mixed child on her own. Her subsequent marriage to a man who abused her in spite of the sacrifices she made for him. And her undying faith in God is beyond extraordinary.
If you love Trevor Noah’s comedy, then you will love his book. You should get a copy.
Does the gospel (the good news of who Jesus is and what he has done for us) have a response to the many issues he poses in his book?