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James Markham

Routines that make you stationary despite your constant movement. Empty moments that let you wonder. Safety nets that become barriers. None of that can be found in South Africa. Whether sharing in the vibrant township community or greeting new people in the heart of Cape Town, everyone has a passion for life. This outlook and perspective on life has been an eye opening experience, encouraging me to look at how much more there is; each moment is such a gift. I have, through seeing the resourceful and imaginative people in townships, learnt that each item, moment and person is of great value and can enhance your life if you are only willing to embrace it. At home routines are easily formed and scarcely broken. Days pass, each the same as the last and moments fade into one. With blinkers on, life seems like an ongoing tunnel- coming here has taught me to remove those blinkers revealing gold dust I couldn’t previously see through my narrow outlook. Each and every person is a wealth of knowledge, joy, love and possibly waiting to be shared.

A moment I will never forget was seeing the look on the nursery teacher’s face as she watched her class play and develop. The love and warmth positively radiated from her. Seeing that even in this everyday moment there was so much beauty was precious. Her relaxed yet authoritative aura transcended schedules and lesson plans, and encouraged teaching and living with a passion for life. I believe that the western world has lost the relaxed passion that South Africa shows so well- the ability to love the little things and live in the moment.

Nelson Mandela wisely said ‘Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.’  I believe this to be immensely powerful and prevalent in the small part of South Africa that I have been privileged to see, each person has shown kindness, warmth and passion to the people around them without any bitterness or regret.

I have seen passion in hanging laundry, collecting younger siblings from school and simply saying hello. It might be a small task but with the drive and love these people carry a large impact is created. Having now seen and experienced this passion for life I am eager to see and implement the impact outside of South Africa. For not only handcrafted souvenirs to travel home with me but a passion for life that will travel like wildfire, spreading in my island community and then outwards into our shared world. Seeing the bright and joyous passion for life in South Africa has given me a drive to see the world on fire with passion, a flame that will never die. Embrace each moment, light your fire and bring out your passion for life!

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