March 28


the butterfly dilemma

Hello All

I am sure everyone knows the story of the butterfly, or to be more specific, the caterpillar turning into the butterfly. Just in case you never heard it yet, let me summarize it quickly.

Let’s say you happen to come across a butterfly emerging from the cocoon and see it struggling to emerge. You decide to help it and give it a pull. It comes out of the cocoon, but you then realise that the butterfly does not fly away and even looks deformed since its wings don’t fully open. You think maybe it just is that way, or maybe you were the one that did that to it. Second one would be correct, you did it to the butterfly.

Butterflies need that pressure and force when exiting the cocoon even though it looks difficult for them. It forces the necessary stuff needed to go where it needs to go. Not really rocket science today hey.
So why am I talking about this……

I have met a lot and spoken to many foreigners, especially Americans. When they hear you come from Africa (as they would put it) they suddenly come alive. They seem to have a really warped perception of what life is like here. Well we in South Africa are not really living in the wild, maybe somewhere in Africa people do live like that, but it is by choice. Anyway getting back to the point.

Most countries in the world have a really sympathetic tone when they think or discuss Africa. Everyone wants to help Africa. Now back to my butterfly story. Maybe we as Africa are at that stage of the caterpillar emerging as the butterfly. The unrest and violence, pressure and force, is needed to emerge and become what we are meant to be. Every other country has had that process sometimes without intervention.

I know our tendency as humans is to jump in and help, but what I am asking is… After all the “help” people have given the different people of Africa, has it changed Africa?

Maybe we need to “leave the butterfly to emerge” and simply see what comes out.

Sometimes we do it in our personal lives too, we try to help what does not need our help and end up causing more harm than good.

I hope we develop the wisdom to recognise where others are, to help or not help accordingly.



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