A Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Whenever you go upstairs to the business end of my house near to my family planning rooms (bed rooms).You will go past a painting on the left of the stairs……..What is difficult about this painting is that, one gets so overwhelmed by the sense of anticipation and danger as you approach the top of the wooden stairs that you miss the beauty of the painting. In fact, by the time you get to the top of the stairs, the painting is too close, a meter and a half close to you that you do not appreciate it at all.
In order to appreciate it, you have to move past it and find a park bench that is positioned strategically opposite to the painting on the far left of the top floor. This bench gives one a command post like felling, of the top floor. This is where you can sit to appreciate in a calm way the entire family planning unit with all it different corners and curves nooks and crannies. In other words the bath, dresser and private sections of the house. In fact one of the rooms is written ‘Private’.
NOW. From that advantage point of this park bench you will then see the true magic of this painting.
At first glance, it looks like a photograph then a painting then a photograph, and it is in this confusion that its true beauty emerges. Yes it depicts a period in the 50’s in New York, so that gives you a perspective of a time in history. Then you can clearly notice mist, and the figure of James Dean in there tells you that it was cold and either in the morning or evening. Helenwein the painter simply titled it ‘A Boulevard of broken Dreams’.
It is a beautiful picture or painting if you like. Depending on what you see.
Now you all know that James Dean was an actor, who never realised his true potential but reached iconic status in the league of Ernesto ‘CHE’ Guevara. A man who symbolised ‘Revolution’. Dean on the other hand symbolised ‘Free Spirit’. His death, while speeding in a car was a testimony to how he lived.
Anyway, the symbolism of this painting takes me back to 1994 .On the 27th of April, voting Day. Vusi Zwane my number one accused ‘Close Friend’, and I are running around the township to check out how the voting in going. Remember we were also very excited with the anticipation to cast our first vote. So from the Mandela House in Vilakazi Street, we move up past Nambita to the back of the Maponya intersection. We then decide not to vote at the AME Church but at a school right behind it four streets away. At the school we are ashier in to vote by non- other than Lerato Mbele who now hosts Africa Business report on British Broadcasting Corporation. A young Volunteer then.
So after voting, we drive around the township as self-appointed monitors to check if everything is in order. We end up later in Yeoville to see blacks and whites voting for the first time together. My Bosch Brick Cell phone did not have a camera and I never thought in my wildest dreams that my phone will have a camera and I had left my camera at home. Darn, so I missed all those pretty pictured that would be going with this story and of course it was a memorable day.
The birth of the new South Africa. You all know about the classical dilemma of birth. Is it at inception or at the birth of the baby after nine months? Or somewhere in between?
Well, in our case, we did not have to wait that long .The counting moved smoothly and today we are the darling of the world when it comes to electoral conduct. By the time the inauguration of our beloved president Mandela came on the 10th of May 1994. Everybody in the world was calling me and Vusi for the invitation to the Union Buildings. I had already committed myself to the Ugandan delegation and please do not ask me how. I also had to find their AIRLINE Parking at OR Tambo which I did successfully. Now I hate bureaucrats of most countries because they think that the Sun shines from the face of their Bosses Whoever they are. One of them put so much pressure on me to guarantee his President Front row in the Union Buildings amphitheatre………I got so fed up and said ‘lady, I can get you inn but I cannot guarantee you front row’. And all your security will have to leave their guns outside the red Zone. Imagine some security guard from Egypt with a fully loaded Gun next to Gadhafi and Yasser Arafat.
So Vusi left with the ‘Winnie’ Group and I was left playing host to un-appreciative Africans. I later began to understand that to some of them this was a once in a lifetime experience and I was going to see Mandela next week and next month at the Rugby World Cup. Or at the Mandela House in Soweto for tea from time to time. Even at Shell house most Mondays. So I understood later. And we South Africans take this for Granted.
Well, a new Nation was born that day, A BOULEVARD OF DREAMS was then open. I was so hopeful about South Africa and I felt on top of the world. The Reconstruction and Development Plan was the new Buzz word. Our constitution was being crafted to great expectation and by the time it landed. It did not disappoint. The whole world nodded hail South Africa, Hail Mandela. Remember we had a bloodless Revolution to be admired by all. The people of Northern Ireland, South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East came to South Africa for answers. We were the new Hope of the WORLD. We were the stuff that Dreams are made off.
With four Nobel Prize winners in Mandela, Tutu, Luthuli and de Klerk we were It.
By the time the Rugby World cup hit Ellis Park, and ‘Bafana Bafana’ took the Africa Cup, South Africa was the darling of the world.
We were still innocent then and did not know Corruption.
Our dreams were everywhere and somehow we lived them. I could feel it anywhere in the world I went.
Now we have the National Development Plan which in my view is a nice document with no specifics. It is like a plan written on a piece of paper with a beginning and an end at the corner of the page with some crossing streets here and there and come bends and curves and nothing else but an arrow going somewhere
You can see that it is a map but does not show you were the treasure is.
It is at this point that you realise that in the last 21 years we were entering:
A BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS!
Mac Donald Temane
‘Dad These Children Cannot Prey’