Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Surrender Adventure of a Life Time-SOUTH AFRICA pt 1 "The Help"

South African time. It's the same as "Fiesta time", "Island Time". "No worries man" time. But no matter the time, Jane Simmons of Unity Worldwide Headquarters in Lee's Summit, MO, Maura Fallon of Unity of the Hills in Austin, Texas, Executive Director of the Light Center in Baldwin, Kansas Robin Goff and I (let's just say "World Traveler) had the most amazing time together just being a presence of light during our trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

Time was an element that became an ongoing topic. As our schedule was being created on the fly which danced around planned events that had a scheduled start and ending time, it was humorous to see ourselves try to navigate or organize ANYTHING.

Race and color is an issue here in similar and yet non-similar ways as you find in the United States. In fact my first 24 hours the issue of race and culture was almost a throw back in time.

On the plane ride from London to Cape Town, I watched the movie "The Help". Now as I share this part of the story I trust my "white" friends will understand I only speak in these terms from a cultural understanding perspective.

In any case, my friends who happen to be white that saw the movie "The Help" were very excited to share with me their experience seeing it. When I would tell them I had not seen it many had the response "OMG you must see this movie". Many wanted me to see the movie and tell them what I thought. With a few of them I shared  that the information depicted in the movie about segregation in the south (in reality the conditions of "The Help" were also in states far north of the Mason/Dixon line) were not new to me AND I would likely see it at some point.

Both my grandmothers were "The Help" in Wichita and Atchison, Kansas. I grew up hearing the stories they had of working for "whites". My mother has absolutely no desire to see the movie it all. But, I did watch the in flight movie and it was indeed very good, very real, and told the story with a sense of humor. One of the things depicted were the buses that dropped the black maids off in the white neighborhoods to go to work.

Jane and I stayed  at a Bed and Breakfast in a predominately white suburb called Constantia. Martene, the first person we met (she picked us up from the airport in her "backie" or pick up truck) is the owner of the  B&B. She moved to South Africa from France 25 years ago and for obvious reasons (the land, its beauty, its peacefulness) just decided to stay and has had no desire to return to her native country.

The next person we met was founder of the Novalis Ubuntu Institute  Ralph Shepard. A lovely man who I adore. His passion for social and cultural activism in healing the divide between black and white through spiritual enlightenment is a model for the world. We also met his wife Anna Lisa who (I believe) was born in South Africa making her what is called (again I believe) Afrikans (as opposed to African). She is delightful and passionate in the same regard as her husband. (CLIP)

Ralph and AnnaLisa are also members of a worldwide spiritual organization called Emissaries of Divine Light that focuses on spiritual awakening, transformation, and leadership. They live in an area of Constantia where many Emissaries of Divine Light live. The houses are nestled inside a botanical garden. Every Tuesday the members get together to sing. Not to practice for some upcoming event or to practice at all-they simply spend this time in communion with one another through the spiritual practice of singing. AMAZING.

Since we arrived on Tuesday Robin, Jane and I participated in the sing-a-long. We all shared songs we'd like to sing and because I was the resident "professional" they definitely were looking forward to what I would add. We did my song  The Universe is Calling and Send My Love (by Karen Drucker). It felt like I had gone back in time like an English colonial period. The experience of gathering around the piano to sing was like a Charles Dickens novel.. We were indeed "jolly" and I felt warmly welcomed and appreciated. At that moment it was evident (in terms of race), we had clearly moved forward in time.

The next day my first order of business was to get an asthma inhaler. Little did I realize (until the pharmacist informed me) that Cape Town has the largest number of botanical gardens in the world (thus my asthmatic episode which I have not had for almost 10 years). After inhaling the over the counter (only given by prescription in the US and cost about $18) Albuterol that cost me $4 US, I felt much better.

As I walked out of the mall I saw a bus full of black women getting off a bus, purse in tow, flat shows, walking slowly to the houses of where they would be the maids in the homes of a predominately white neighborhood. Walking back to Martene's I looked no different than these women. I could have easily been considered by people driving by as "The Help".

I have no reason to believe that the maids going to work in Constantia, experience the same racist views of many of the white women depicted in the movie. The racial make up of Black and White is the exact opposite as the United States. Whites in South Africa make up 12% of the countries population and Blacks make up 12% of US population. There are also several racial distinctions that you don't see in the US. There are Whites, Blacks and Coloureds. Coloureds are people of color that cannot be directly connected with a "tribe" such as Zulu or Xhosa (pronounced Ko-sa).

I'm thankful that I hold the belief that there is no "time" and that as I become more spiritually aware, transform, and practice a sense of "self-leadership and governance" that I am responsible for my perceptions and how I see the world. This trip to South Africa and particularly within the first 24 hours of my stay I could see the importance of having an expanded view of the world, appreciating its transformations, honoring "what is" and at the same time recognizing the up most importance of acceptance, non-judgment, and most importantly unconditional love for self and others.


  1. Wonderful insights, Bukeka. I can only imagine the magic of singing The Universe Is Calling in that setting. I love the idea of gathering once a week to sing for the joy of it. Glad that you and Jane are back home safely. Can't wait to hear from Jane about your adventures.

  2. Monica and I have been studying a spiritual discipline called Attunement for many years. It originated with the Emmisaries of Divine Light in Loveland Colorado. Small world indeed Bukeka. :-) I wonder if you also met a woman named Louise Broomberg? Emissary friend of ours who lives there.

    We also know Robin and have taken classes and stayed at the Light Center. You certainly traveled in excellent company!

    Thanks for sharing your stories and perspectives. We look forward to more!