Michael and I watched the movie Black Panther this week. When I first saw the trailer, it looked too much like an action movie for my tastes, so I wasn’t keen. But then I began to notice a number of comments, discussions and articles on the movie - why it was worth seeing and why it was so much more than just an action film. So we went. And it was a great movie. And it was also so much more. Within the plot (which definitely was action-packed) was some very thought-provoking commentary on the way things are and ‘what-ifs’ about the way things could be. In this movie, it is a third-world African country that holds the power to rule and control the world, but chooses to keep it’s mineral resources, weapons and technology a secret from the rest of the world.
I had recently finished reading the Naomi Alderman book, ‘The Power’ which is set somewhere in the future, in a time when women have all the power (political and physical) and men live in vulnerability and uncertainty. Like the movie, this book turns things upside down, making the reader think deeply about the human condition and why things are as they are. Both the movie and the book have challenged me to consider the narratives and stories that have shaped my perspectives.
And I have been wrestling with this in light of the discussion we are having (or should be having) as a country at the moment around the issue of land. Conversations around issues like land are never simple, or easy, but they are necessary. Not because we have a solution, but because of the work that happens in us when we acknowledge our own perspectives and the stories that have informed the way we think, and listen to someone else’s.
I recently read an article, written for a national newspaper by a member of our Church, which ended with the invitation to all South Africans to offer suggestions and ideas about how to get South Africa working. I loved the invitation to dialogue, and the promise to listen. Because when we listen to other perspectives, and find a space to share our own, we are all given the opportunity to acknowledge the way things are as well as to dream about what-could-be. Are you listening, thinking, talking, dreaming, challenging and being challenged? If you are, I’d love to hear more about it!
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