The Helderberg Harbour

Our hearts harbour our borders and it is the heart that is most treacherous of all.

Ants are pretty damn spectacular beings - the way they can carry many times their weight, their fiercely loyal mentality, their drive to protect the colony at all costs! They're smart too - have you seen how they get into the most secure sugar tin or watched them build an ant raft to float on liquid? One or two may be lost at first but after a quick regrouping the rest are perfectly safe piling on top of the those 'spanning the surface', all taking turns at being at the bottom.

An ant raft on top of a half full glass of Coke

Their sense of community encompasses such traits as sacrifice and hard work for the good of the colony, collegiality - slogging it out together - and as we all know, ferreting to find the best possible food source for their colony!

The Helderberg area is known for its tremendous contrasts, both in nature and in its people - the richest per capita area in the country yet Somerset West has the fewest beds for the homeless and displaced, who flock our streets and storm water pipes for shelter. Time and again we read of appeals for clothes or food, for toiletries - a block of soap or a box of Omo - and hearts open and give. We see a little guy from an underprivileged school online and hear he has no warm school clothes and the community open their arms and wallets, their cupboards and GIVE. Another day a soup kitchen appeals for help and the ingredients just arrive or we hear Hospice is cycling and we pledge and GIVE!

Then we turn to Facebook and Twitter, we actually LISTEN to conversations at parties and restaurants, and these shining hearts get drowned in a cacophony of critique and in-fighting, of negative and shear trolling. We see the rules we made, those arbitrarily assigned classifications of behaviours and actions, those decisions fundamentally devoid of reason that categorize individuals to either THIS group or THAT clique, that have been passed down through generations without any real claim to objectivity... and we just accept as we perpetuate.

Our boundaries, those we place between us and 'them', those we just accept as the 'way things are', create divides and boundaries where objectively no real boundaries or borders exists. In our imagination they're there - and since we all ascribe to pretty much the same imagined idea of society, we teach our children and they teach theirs. But in effect, these boundaries between people break communities into isolated shards of what could be an amazing mosaic, into tribes of customs and cultures, of thinkers and tinkers, believers and upholders.

So what demarcates the Helderberg Community? Is it the roads? The mountains? What about churches or the mosques, the haves and the have-nots? Or the shopping centers and the schools? Our hearts betray us. Our hearts harbour our borders and it is the heart that is most treacherous of all. It is the heart that holds on to that which makes 'the other' separate from our 'us', it is the heart that for no particular reason decides when something is do-able, think-able, consider-able, post-able or not, and the heart that makes our actions follow in the footsteps of the past.

So what if, by some bizarre turn of events, ants get to voice their observations of the human condition, of the community of humans sharing their habitat in the Helderberg... Would OUR lofty - if somewhat irritational - comments of their communities, their loyalty and protection of each other, their collegiality and ingenuity, be mirrored in their statements of us? Or are we better than instinct-driven-brainless ants able to achieve far more?

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