One of the most interesting things about the rising of the sun from the east is that it grants an opportunity to complete tasks which might have been left unattended to previously. When the sun rises for the first time in a new year, there seems to be a certain palpable feeling of hope and renewal displayed on the faces of people. I attribute this feeling to the fact that whether we acknowledge or disregard it, a new year brings with it infinite possibilities. The Oxford dictionary describes the word possibility as the state of being possible or (degree) of likelihood. As the year begins it’s not unusual to hear people publicly announcing that he/she has taken a resolution to, for instance, eat a lot more healthier, to stop smoking, do a lot less cheating and so forth. All these resolutions are, in most cases, adopted at the infancy of a new year because at that particular period the majority of people are still optimistic and in a jovial mood. But a few months down the line the rigidness with which the resolutions were adopted and upheld begin to wither when they are exposed to the vulgar experiences, which seem to characterize our daily reality. And unfortunately, like in the previous years, old habits which were denounced in January ascend and assume their positions at the throne of monotony.
Amongst a plethora of reasons that exist as to why people are unable to adhere to their resolutions or are unable to take on challenges they have always wanted to conquer is because there is a of lack of self belief. We, as people generally do not comprehend the power behind the phrase: anything is possible and perhaps to quote from Adidas’ motto: impossible is nothing and the reason for that is we think that extra ordinary deeds can’t be accomplished by people as prosaic as us and that all we can do is that which as has been ‘designated’ to us. And obviously the kind of thinking of inadequacy and self pity will be an insipid contribution in the course of trying to break the boundaries of familiarity. The ‘it’s impossible’ syndrome that has arrested and sentenced a lot of people to the prison of inferiority expresses itself in many forms. Some of the ways in which the ‘it’s impossible’ syndrome plays itself out is through socio economic and living standards of people. Because it is almost a given that people from privileged stratus of society are more prone to aspire to have more faith in their abilities, simply because they have less problems as far as worrying about where the next meal, shelter and where food is going to come from. And an undeniable fact is that people, who have to make stubborn ends meet, will have little time spent on philosophizing about the possibilities many things beyond the ordinary, because they are faced with an almost impossible task of gathering necessities.
When we are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge, we should pause and ask ourselves, who decides as to the impossibility of a task and what informs such a conclusion? Once we are able to arrive at logically thought out answer, it is at that point that we will realize that at the heart of constrains and limitations lies a test to measure the currency of our resilience and ability to defy a rooted experience of failure and impossibility and make it favorable and submissive to our desire. If we realize that, then we will see that it’s through abnormal actions that history is made and fresher ways of living and indeed dying are discovered. History is decorated with paragons who, through their life times, have and continue to be indicative to us that anything is possible. Lance Armstrong, the most recognizable cyclist in the world, was in 1996 diagnosed with nonseminomatous testicular cancer. When the cancer was discovered it had already spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. But he did not let his condition derail him from competing in arguably the most prestigious cycling tournament in the world, the Tour de France.
He went on to win the tournament in succession from 1999 until 2005 and by so doing he carved his name into cycling’s history books. Another remarkable story is of one Ricardo Izsecson dos Santos Leile, who is affectionately known as Kaka to the footballing world, is an immensely talented Brazilian soccer maestro whose career was nearly brought to halt at the tender age of 18. He suffered a spinal fracture as a result of a swimming pool incident and could not use his legs for a certain period of time, but he defied the injury and he attributes his recovery to the wonders made possible by God. Since then he has gone on to represent his country in two FIFA world cups in Korea/Japan in 2002(won gold medal) and Germany in 2006 respectively. He also contributed to his club AC Milan’s victory of the 2007 Uefa Champions League tournament, beating Liverpool 2-1 in Athens. In the same 2007 he was voted Uefa, Ballon d’or and FIFA world player of the year. Perhaps his ability to raise above his impediments is the reason Adidas decided to add him to their ‘impossible is nothing’ campaign. In 1804, on an island ruled by France which is today known as Haiti, a rebellion ensued. Africans who had been enslaved there, staged a revolution under the leadership of Toussaint Loverture and defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and his mighty army and therefore doing what had always thought to be impossible. Haiti became only the second free republic in the western hemisphere, the first being the United State of America.
To a lot of young black females graduating from an institution of higher learning is a normal act that does not warrant for society’s ‘eye brows’ to be raised in amazement, but it was not always so. In fact one has to go back 103 years to see what raised that society’s ‘eye brows’. That was when Charlotte Maxeke, born 1939-1974, became the first black female from South Africa to obtain a degree. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University, Colorado in the USA. She came to South Africa and became active in anti pass laws of the early 1900s and she was instrumental in form of the Bantu Women’s League which later became ANCWL. Mrs Maxeke never let her gender reduce her to a by stander and by so doing she paved a way for generations of women who have learned to do it for themselves and advance their betterment without seeking validation and affirmation from their male counter parts. Supreme Court of Appeal judge, Edwin Cameron, is a role model for many people especially as far as the struggle against HIV/Aids is concerned worldwide. Having been living with aids since 1986, he was the first public figure to go public with his status and shocked a lot of people. He cites the stoning of Gugu Dhlamini, a KwaZulu Natal woman who was killed by member of her community for disclosing her status on radio, as the turning point which led to him publicizing is health status. He is also a staunch activist for the recognition of gay and lesbian rights in South Africa and has contributed a lot of literature as far as that cause is concerned and his most well known book is his critically acclaimed Witness to Aids.
His tireless efforts have giving a voice to people living and affected by HIV/Aids even at the judicial levels of our country. Judge Cameron was recently interviewed for a post in the Constitutional Court, but at the writing of this article President Motlanthe had not pronounced on his appointment. The achievement of Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, father to the late Bo Moseneke, is one that exemplifies the utmost stoicism. Justice Moseneke was arrested and sentenced to Robben Island after the Sharpville Massacre of 1960. He was in his teens when he was jailed, which prompted him to write his matric examination on the island and further enrolled for a law degree through the University of South Africa. After his release, he became a lawyer for many people who found themselves at loggerheads with the Apartheid regime. The Justice’s dedication to his profession of law has seen him being honored by being appointed as deputy Chief Justice. Since Chief Justice Pius Langa will be retiring next year it is generally expected that Justice Moseneke will fill that vacancy, but the president is left with the final decision on that regard. Mr Moseneke’s deeds have served as inspirational to many young people not to give up in their to develop themselves in the face adversity.
The moment we inculcate in to our minds the idea that anything behind us or in our past can not be influenced and begin to realize that we can only temper and manipulate that which lies before us and to achieve the ends that we seek the better we will be. It is at that point that the wheel of individual and indeed the society will start to shift at a pace that would be inspired by our comprehension of the phrase: anything is possible. The aforementioned examples are of people who have and continue to relentlessly beat the odds that are thrown their way. The underlying theme in all of these stories is the understanding by these individuals that anything is possible if one is willing to perspire in order to inspire. And there are many people who are not in the limelight who do extra ordinary deeds in order to have a positive impact on people in their immediate vicinity and try to galvanize them to do the same. Boundaries exist because they have to be pushed to such an extent that the elasticity of their resilience is strained to the highest degree and eventually snaps. What lies beyond impossibility is an eternity of infinite possibilities, a place where renegades who go against the grain of comfort, security and normality in order to be reference points to those who succeed them and make it known that impossible is nothing. It is such people whose deeds are chiseled into history’s memory. HAPPY NEW YEAR…