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WIN­NING LET­TER From cor­rupt to clean

In the Au­gust is­sue, Suzy writes about the won­der­ful time she had in Por­tu­gal. We worked at the SA em­bassy some years ago so this brought back fond mem­o­ries.

There are many par­al­lels be­tween Por­tu­gal and SA. Their na­tional pas­times are also food and sport. Every re­gion also has its spe­cial­i­ties – the clams and pork Suzy raves about are from the Alen­tejo area, which is sim­i­lar to the Ka­roo. Every feast has its sig­na­ture dishes. For in­stance, at Christ­mas we had Bolo Rei, a cake filled with lucky trin­kets.

Other ‘pas­times’ we have in com­mon are pol­i­tics and road­works. What we can learn from them is that be­ing in­volved in all mat­ters of state counts. You are en­ti­tled to fight for clean gov­er­nance. As Suzy says, they went from cor­rupt to clean and are flour­ish­ing now. Get­ting rid of the rot was the se­cret; restor­ing trust re­vives the econ­omy, which cre­ates jobs. In a work­ing democ­racy all should be in­volved. Al­bie Sachs said we are all branches of the same tree and should grow to­gether to flour­ish.

Jeanette Sny­man

Ed: Get­ting rid of the rot is def­i­nitely the se­cret to Por­tu­gal’s suc­cess, and it re­quires every­one to get in­volved. It can be done!

Jobs on the line

You’ve never given re­trench­ment a thought – un­til you be­come its next vic­tim. As you leave your ship and take the walk of shame into a sea of un­cer­tainty, you don’t re­alise what the long, tir­ing jour­ney will bring.

You start tread­ing wa­ter and feel you can make it; you just need to find an­other ves­sel to get back to se­cu­rity. But your con­fi­dence is short-lived as the waves of fear start knock­ing you: fear of re­jec­tion, of not be­ing good enough, of change. Just when you think you won’t make it, the waves re­treat and you can catch your breath.

There must be a ship some­where, maybe a boat, some­thing to take you to safety. But the more you tread wa­ter, the more your en­ergy lev­els wane. Your emo­tions are as un­sta­ble as the waves... hope, be­lief, de­spair.

Then, out of nowhere, a boat! You scram­ble aboard. You can breathe again. And with this, comes a new lease of life: I will make it to safety. Maybe not as fast, but I’ll make it.

Some­times you have to travel back­wards to learn what you failed to learn in your se­cure com­pla­cency: like not tak­ing any­thing for granted, hu­mil­ity – there’s noth­ing like fi­nan­cial in­se­cu­rity to hum­ble you. We’re all trav­el­ling this jour­ney, some in a cruise ship, others in a tug­boat.

Lee Maz

Ed: You’re so right – thank you for putting it into per­spec­tive.

(Don’t) mind the gap

Un­like the women in the ar­ti­cle on re­la­tion­ships be­tween older women and younger men (July 2017), I am much younger than my spouse, and we aren’t both­ered by so­ci­etal norms and views on this. We are taught to be­lieve we should as­so­ci­ate only with our own age group, but we need to see the big­ger pic­ture: it’s about two peo­ple find­ing a mid­dle way and grow­ing with each other. Let’s choose our part­ners, whether older or younger, ac­cord­ing to what works best for us.

Magda Ann Liede­man-Vaas

Ed: Re­la­tion­ships can be tricky – if it works for you both, there should be no rea­son to ques­tion it.

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