Not too much far back in the history of music, an English singer and song-writer, John Lennon, gave a beautiful rendition on imagination and titled the song, “Imagine”. To imagine is to picture some non-existing, envisage, envision and visualise something in the outer distance. As former President Thabo Mbeki would say, it is to “see through the eye of the mind”. This is the experience that Lennon most probably went through as he penned down the lyrics of this song.
As you read this piece today, allow yourself to be led by the same spirit of “imagination” in order to emerge with a South Africa most of us yearn for. But before you start, deal with the reality that not all is well in this world which includes our country South Africa and the African continent.
In dissecting our modern life in anticipation of a “better life for all”, just to borrow from ANC’s rhetoric lexicon, let us be like Lennon and imagine a society that has no beginning and no end – a society that only lives for today without any recognition for those who have gone before us and those that are yet to come. Imagine life started and ended up with us. Indeed there are times when we deplete the resources of this world through greed and self-aggrandisement as though there wouldn’t be any tomorrow. We handle the resources with so much disdain to the extent that we don’t care about the children of our children’s children who would come to need it in as much as we need it today. We loot and eat all as long as our egos are satisfied.
Imagine there were no borders in-between South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia. Imagine there were no borders to define where Africa starts and ends. Would there be reason for xenophobia or afro-phobia? Imagine there were no religions and politics and business. Imagine a world where no one was working for another – a world without slaves, garden-boys and baledi/bafepi – where everyone worked their gardens and farms, where everyone took care of their own children, where no one owned anything while others owned nothing. Would there be reason to kill or to die at the whims of others who may be more powerful that the others made weak by the powerful? Will there be peace in the world?
In this imagination, there would not have been Colonialism and Apartheid, Anglo-Boer war, neither Sandlwana, Mfecane, Sharpeville Massacre, June 16 uprisings, Boipatong Massacre, Marikana Massacre, World War I and II, Israel/Palestine Conflict, Syrian uprisings, Vietnam War, Communism and Capitalism and many other isms, including those that are discriminatory and full of prejudice like racism, sexism and so on.
Lennon’s conclusion is that:
“Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”.
This is a pain experience of a world gone wrong…very wrong where leaders and those governed by greed have no imagination of a peace. They actually imagine “nothing”.