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Crucify not our Elderly

Lazola Pambo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of South Africa.

Two men playing chess

Crucify not our Elderly

I remember there was a time that I thought I knew everything. I also remember a self-arrogant mindless time, where my say was the only way.

Now that I have outlived my younger days, I understand what it is to be matured. It is not by age but rather one’s actions towards how you treat your fellow human beings and how you also respect yourself.

I must admit that for me to know such a concept was by virtue of learning it strictly from my elders. You know, sometimes it terrifies me to say this truth. When one has reached a stage of being regarded as ‘old’ in society, often their wisdom or rather advice is taken lightly, especially by upcoming young breeds.

We often rebuke our elders at times and blow a vocal trumpet: that they do not understand and are preachy ‘blah-blah-blah’.

Look, on a serious note. Yes, elders at times make their mistakes and nobody is saying that they are perfect, but it is important to acknowledge that they have lived life more than us. Are we not supposed to at least be respectful of that?

When I came up with the concept of writing “The Africa I Know,”-it was primarily rooted on the quest to acquire enlightenment from my elders.

I for one cannot surely know Africa without the guidance from my elders, whose forefathers, have also guided them to spread their wings in the embodiment of being. I am also at fault many of times, whereby, I tend to not believe the honesty my elders say, which is wrong of me.

One day I know that I will also have grey hairs of wisdom and if I am still alive in fifty years from now, how awkward will the next generation look at me? Now over the past few years, I have decided to be more patient and keep my ears open to the lessons from my elders. I may never have a privilege to hear them utter their wisdom to me again: so it’s best I take heed.

I know many who are reading this will have their own self-doubts about trusting elders in society because many have performed atrocities to the young at heart. My dear friends, that is also a cause for concern without a doubt, but we should never outcast all elders in the frame mind of the universe. Should we do so: we are only burdening ourselves even more because, we will never get to examine the journey of where we come from and where we are seeking to go!

Another thing that we should take note, is that once upon a time, the very same elders that you and I are acquainted with: were once children or rather teenagers at some point in their lives. I do not know who came up with the concept of thinking that our elders just came into being as elders.

I find it funny that most people would think in such a way. In fact; it often lies on the case of immaturity when other human beings live to crucify their fellow man. So let’s step away from the hatred and focus on love.

The blissful miraculous concept of love is one attribute that I have learned from many of my elders that I have bumped heads with. I mean imagine this for a moment. You meet someone for the first time and they take kindly to your existence as if you were their own son or daughter.

Such unconditional devotion does not necessarily make the person crazy. I believe it is when you have lived life and seen plenty of crazy things that one can stop for a brief moment and be grateful.

The one thing that I also highly respect from my elders is that they are able to tell you without fear or favor when you are in the wrong. Now, that definitely takes more than guts. It is like revealing your organs and saying: “Hey, listen here. I have a heart too, and I understand what you going through”.

For example; it is rare to be corrected by your peers when you still a young person. Sometimes, the joy to them is witnessing you fall into the depths of hell and possibly never returning back to your real self.

If there is one lesson that we can take from our elders with grace; it is the lesson of being there for each other as young people and taking a stance when one of us is in the wrong instead of laying back.

It has always been a privilege for me to be blessed with caring parents, who would choose to have a ‘sit-down’ with me instead of a fist fight in order to iron things out whenever I was in the wrong.

What every African and European family needs today, is a united conversation of what went wrong and how can we fix it. When brutality like domestic violence occurs in the household: it does not solve the problem, but rather it makes it even worse.

Elders also have the duty to be leaders within the household instead of being martyrs. Obviously, we cannot detach from the fact that there are elders, who act in a responsible manner and that has to be applauded.

For we as the young, have mimicked your speech from the time when we were babies and even now when we are beginning to grow up, we still plagiarize your good behavior.

What I would love to share is not just lessons from the elders but gratitude to you my elders. I am a reflection of you and vice-versa is the case.

Thank you wholeheartedly for taking care of me when there seemed to be nobody in the world, who had the care or the audacity to treat me as a united equal front of a fellow human being.

Never mind the fact that the years have gone by and you have lived your life. You had a glorious life and that is what matters the most. You walked the walk and talked the talk.

As cliché as this may sound but it is the miraculous tide of life. You had children of your own but you still took care of children that were not your flesh and blood. In fact, you knew that it was not even a task but a spiritual duty to be a fellow to your fellow human being.

My elders in every walk of life on God’s extraordinary planet: here I am as a son of yours in kindness and not speaking in tongues.

Wherever the road may lead you now: may it continue to be a pleasant road that overtakes fear and doubt, hence, in the back of my mind, yes, I do fear to lose you, but I am also grateful that I had the privilege of being with you.

As the world unfolds, I am reminded by one elder of mine, who is no longer in the physical realm but in the spiritual. He once said to me: “Careful my son, in whatever you say to your fellow brother or sister.

Words can be sweet but at the same time they can be sour. Always try your level best to do what is good and be kind to others without faking it.”

I will never forget the day I heard these words. It brought two emotions in my hemisphere. One of shock and one of shedding tears.

Sometimes, we are not cautious enough about the actions that we bring unto others, yet we want the good things to arrive our way. We often say, that life is a mystery, but is this well-known phrase a fact upon how we treat one another?

The journey of life continues. Why should we not be in glee about it? So much abundance in the air and so much fulfilment in front of us at this moment. Indeed, we want things to make us happy. We do it on a daily basis. We want this and that: pin-pointing it with gratification, feeling entitled to it.

In the end, we have each other for we are created as one. Rise, my fellow human beings and take that stride to your neighbor. Take it not as a task but as what is embedded in you, to be what you have been created to be. Our elders have run their race, and they shall continue to do so.

© 2022 Lazola Pambo

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