In black communities it is easy to perceive religion as the most high belief or faith of all.
As an observer and someone who believes in what I believe, I think our beliefs divide us sometimes to a point of no return.
Last week was Easter and we all know what that means to Christians, even to non-believers.
For me, Easter week was a test of faith. Do I go to church or do I attend all sporting activities that happen during the weekend? But I did not sweat too much over where to go. I attended soccer tournaments because I believe that sport creates more bonds than any other activity (arguably). I know my father is tossing and turning in his grave to read what I have just said.
Remember it was not only Passover but Ramadaan as well. Let me put more soccer in the mix. Every year, these different exhibitions offered another perspective, one that will stay with me for a very long time if not forever.
Let me start by saying, after a two-year absence of fans on the fields due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was an honour for me to attend youth tournaments, one being the Bayhill Premier Cup, arguably the biggest youth soccer tournament.
Secondly, it was the new baby, the under-21s Mayambela Foundation Community Cup. This is where my energy was focused this past weekend.
But being a journalist, there was more invitations to go to, even in church.
I had to honour a few invitations and thanks to the type of job I do, I don’t see it as work. Hear it from me, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do something I’ve always loved, mixing with people. In this kind of job, you never switch off, but I always enjoy the moment.
But I wouldn’t recommend it to my children though. It needs no faint-hearted individuals. It is so challenging with no time to rest.
Anyway, about Easter I felt like I was living the dream at my age. I went to the Bayhill and took some punches from the security personnel who made it difficult for me to enter the premises. But thanks to the brains behind the tournament, PJ Williams, who rescued me. Not forgetting our Vukani sports editor Fuad Esack who was also very helpful.
I’ve managed to watch young people showing their God-given talent. Strangely, I have noticed that plenty of my friends lost their faith, they never went to the churches – I blame the pandemic for that.
But one reason is that, fans have not been to the fields for a very long time, so he has to mix with real people. In my wildest of dreams, I couldn’t imagine one day that he would not go to church. It happened this Easter.
One shared that the life of religion could be disappointing. I am not going to expand on what he said about religion. I am putting myself and this newspaper into trouble. But I can share that his reason was that church people are fakes compared to soccer fans. I am not sure of the righteousness of that. But I know with soccer there’s common interest.
My observation this year was that, whether you are a church-goer or soccer lover, we all have human interests at heart. The pandemic was cruel to us all. It was difficult and tough to meet on big occasions. Only politicians could meet and give us some funny reasons. Another observation is that beliefs and faith divide us. When the world can be so cruel and unjust, we still fuel hatred amongst us.
The return to the stadiums meant a lot to a lot of people. The numbers attending churches was a massive boost for God-fearing people. But I feel and wish that one day, our beliefs would not divorce us from each other.
I am looking forward to a day when the Bayhill and the Mayambela tournament are opened by a prayer or duas from different faiths. I could hear the saying, dream on dreamer. That is truly my dream.
But I want to express my gratitude to the organisers of all tournaments that I was at, including the one in Mandalay. The organisation was not 100 percent perfect but it was nearly there.
I was seething when the security at the Bayhill would not allow an ambulance to come in because there was no accreditation for the event. I was pissed when I showed my PSL accreditation and was not allowed. But I realised and know that common sense does not grow in every garden. I could take the fact that I am not allowed because the accreditation I had was that of the PSL, but not allowing the ambulance was stupid in many ways.
But again, thanks to PJ for coming forward. The Bayhill has been there for more than two decades, such little mistakes should not be allowed, come next year, God willing.
The Mayambela tournaments should now up their socks. The glitches they had should serve as a lesson. Again, it was an experience to be with people again on such a big occasion.
May this pandemic leave us alone now. Please don’t divide us, unite us.