Sifiso Mkhonto


I like thinking outside of the box. By stepping outside the box, says the educator John Demartini, you always discover something you didn’t know, and it humbles you. While some might think they know more, there is always more to know. I confess that I am not a good activist – yet there are two powers in the world, said Napoleon Bonaparte, ‘sabre and mind.’ I choose the mind.

I was born in 1995, in the township of Mamelodi in South Africa. Created by the apartheid government in 1953, Mamelodi’s characteristic, small square houses have in many cases been enlarged in time, while large shanty-towns have sprung up on the fringes. A rugged mountain forms a backdrop to the township, the yearly scene of African initiation rites.

I take pride in my birthplace, Mamelodi the birthplace of some jazz legends and soccer stars – and the home of Solomon Mahlangu, who was executed as an anti-apartheid operative. On the way to the gallows, he reportedly said, ‘Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the fight. My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Aluta continua.’ Privileged to live in Cape Town now, which Sir Francis Drake referred to as ‘the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth’, it is my range for running with friends.

My thinking is tempered by a reminder of the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, ‘People who devote themselves to studying something often believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.’ The world of ideas is bigger than that. Above all, God himself cannot be contained.

2 comments:

Martin Cohen said...

Thank you for telling us a bit more about yourself, Sifiso - and of course for your various contributions - all with this distinctive political flavour. (On democracy, reform, equality...) Your final comment on writers who believe they have found 'the key', reminds me of something the Danish philosopher, humourist and great eccentric, Søren Kierkegaard, wrote:

"The System is almost finished, or at least under construction, and will be finished by next Sunday.”

As you say, such thinkers are failing to 'step outside' their self-imposed boxes.

sifiso mkhonto said...

Thank you Martin and Thomas for the opportunity. It is truly a pleasure to write for and share on PI.

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