Saturday, 17 November 2012

One World, Different Realities

Her liver-spotted hands clinched the burgundy passport as she walked down the aisle, looking for her seat. Her attachment to the booklet issued by her ‘Britannic Majesty’ said a lot about her identity.
She had flamed-coloured hair and an oblong face, and wore a jet-black coat that nearly swept the floor.

Her voice, when she spoke, was firm and slightly imperious. Her accent was nebulous:  it couldn’t be traced to a specific region.

Maggie* was her name, and she originated from Zimbabwee  as she pronounced it, which during her time there was known as South Rhodesia.
 In her recollections about South Rhodesia some thirty-something years ago, she spoke fondly about the opulent luxury that surrounded her life. Life was good before the onset of independence. White farmers went about their business peaceably; pitching Zimbabwe as the breadbasket of southern Africa. The black population was less prosperous, but they bore no grudges. Black and white lived side by side in harmony…or so she imagined.

In a latter narration, she admitted that crossing the border to South Africa and witnessing apartheid upfront came as a shock. She had never been exposed to such realities.
If you have ever read Peter Abraham’s ‘Tell Freedom’, you will get a crystal view of everyday life under the apartheid rule. The reality of ‘European only’ lavatories, ‘European only’ spaces, beaches, restaurants, residential areas, schools…the list goes and on and on.

The labels no longer exist, but the realities do. And the variant realities are not restricted to Southern Africa, or the developing world.It bites everywhere – Europe, America, Australia.

Analysts claim discourses on poverty are no longer the in-thing. The hot potato is now income inequality. 
More working class and middle class people are out of pocket  due to soaring taxes, energy bills, utility bills, insurance payments, living costs; they are neck deep in payments to ensure a living. While the super-rich are getting richer by the minute.

The system supports and maintains the status quo; and I'm not just talking about capitalism; even socialist and communist-style economies suffer the same inequalities.Whether it is America, China, Britain, Russia or South Africa, the gap between the super-rich and others grows wider day by day.

I often ask myself: Is it realistic to try to bridge the gap between the super-rich and others?  Can a fair level of equality ever be achieved? The answer that keeps coming to me is, until we formulate a new system that spells out a more balanced equation, there will always be the thriving super-rich and the rest. There will always be those living in decadent luxury, and those surviving by the skin of their teeth.

Realistically, there will be no new formula. Equality will remain nothing but a myth that we strive towards. We will always live in one world but have vastly different realities. It's up to us to accept the reality or fight to join the premier league.


  1. Welcome back Fresh Angle, missed your inspiring comments a lot. On the question of social and economic inequality, your statement "The system supports the status quo" hits the nail on the head. And indeed such inequalities are not limited to certain geographic regions or political systems.
    On thee other hand it is possible that by just letting people on the other side have a glimpse of the reality on this side, action can be stirred up that will institute changes that support equal distribution of wealth/resources on a continual basis.

    As the year 2012 runs to a close, I am suggesting to all that come into contact with this website to send in a picture, short article, or recording about a reality that you will like the world to know about, but which they can easily miss. I'll set the ball rolling on this site next week with the write-up "Did you know that...?" It contrasts the life of an employee in an oil firm and a self employed carpenter. See you then.

  2. Dlaw!! It's so nice to see your comment. Welcome back to Fresh Angle. Honestly, I don't think people on the other side could care less about what's happening on the less rosy side.

    I love your suggestion - it's absolutely great. I'll start something off soonest.

    Many thanks.

  3. All actors on both sides (the rich and the poor) are afflicted with one common problem: indifference! Even the less influential are not going to do anything more than groan, except when dire circumstances force them to take action to change the status quo. It is easier to stick with things the way they are than to try and bring about the smallest change. The lesson I am picking up is that I need to adopt some personal changes this Christmas that will make me really uncomfortable! Uncomfortable being interpreted as positive personal changes in my daily/weekly resume that to me are mind blowing. So I invite anyone who wishes to partner with me in doing this and say "Welcome to a really out of normal December!"

  4. Dlaw, that's a salient point. One way or the other, we all play according to the rules consciously or subconsciously.

    But sometimes, even when people want to make a difference, they don't know how to go about affecting change. And also, they count the cost and decide it's not worth it.

    Great - best wishes with your 'out of normal December'.