Category Archives: Sifiso Mtshali

All of Sifiso Mtshali’s Articles

Hymn To 2nd Corinthians 5:17

Author: Sifiso Mtshali

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (NIV)

 

Night and day, both night and day

In constant flight, there remained

Fleeing ills and hurt, hunger and strife

Torsos battered by the unforgiving world

Which charred us within, enslaving our souls

As we stand against each other, mankind divided

By diseases tormented, by envy chased

Our bodies delicacies to the consuming earth

As in a wayward path, blinded we went

By illusions consumed and by reason misguided

Today we rejoice!

He comes, our Savior hailed

Who is daily reborn in our hearts

He makes us wise, kind, and meek

Salvaging us from that dreaded pit

Where no peace down there reached

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Until He came bearing good and light

Who unto us is renewed with glory

Those old imperfections are all done away

See us reborn with everything anew

Renewed and strong in greatness draped

Steadfast read and from our sacred scrolls

Alive with Him who from the heavens came

To make us new and love us without measure

Making us new while the old is gone away

Developing & Instilling Healthy Habits In Our Children

Author: Sifiso Mtshali

We live in a world where we constantly rush to meet our daily goals. Amidst the chaos, we seek the answer to the ever-present question “How do we incorporate healthy eating habits in our busy schedules?” In an effort to catch up with our fast paced lives, it is easy to opt for those easily accessible (but oftentimes bad for us) “Grab-N-Go” meals.

It is not only bad for us but also bad for those around us.

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I have created a list with eight points that can really help people develop healthy eating habits at their own pace. These points are also simple enough that can be applied in our lives and the lives of others.

  • Keep fruits at home readily available in the areas you spend a lot of time in. We tend to consume food that is within our vicinity, healthy or not.
  • There is nothing wrong with a burger or pizza occasionally. Just remember to eat comfort foods in moderation.
  • Add more healthy foods to your grocery list because what we buy influences how and what we eat. Buy consciously.
  • Keep track of your spending by eliminating unnecessary food that adds no value to your health (e.g. chocolates, fizzy drinks, fatty foods). Work on lowering your consumption of these items.
  • Make a daily habit of throwing at least two vegetables in your meal preparation.
  • A common saying is “The more we know, the better we do”. This is very true. We are often misled by television commercials that give us incorrect information. Do your research by checking nutritional information on each purchased food product. Remain aware of your consumption practices.
  • Spend eating time together. Our influence stretches beyond us. Children look up to their parents who in turn must set a good example.  
  • Teach and talk about the benefits of healthy eating. We do not simply follow a set example blindly and the same applies to children. Inform, show, and teach.

The Beauty of My South African Community

Author: Sifiso Mtshali

It’s October and in South Africa, it is the time for all things bright! Flowers and trees are blooming and we are able to walk around in our tees and shorts. It is a good time for all. When I read the writing prompt for this month, I began to wonder: “What makes people identify with a specific place?”

I soon began to wonder what makes me South African. I live in a very small, close-knit community; one that I believe is the best in the whole world. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating but I do love it. I hope that once you have read my list of ten things I love about my community, you will be able to agree that it is indeed the best!

 

  1. Metonymy. We love metonymy so much; you would think we invented it. It is common to hear someone in our community talk about “the municipality” even though they are referring to the “refuse removal employees”. Another example would be people referring to “Young suits” when they really meant “aspiring entrepreneurs”.
  2. Synecdoche (i.e. talking about one whole thing, when you really mean part of it). It is also common to hear residents say things like “We won!” when they really meant the local football team won their match.  
  3. Very close knit. We all know one another in our community almost as if we were an extended family.
  4. Good ol’ days. Everyone speaks of the good old days but what does that really mean?. To the aging barber down the road, it reminds him of his young, money chasing days. To others, it means just that – the good old days.
  5. Storytellers. Our community is made up of many storytellers. It is instinctive for us to sit under a tree and listen to yet another story that begins with “Have you heard about this one…”
  6. Small melting pot. Though racial discrimination is becoming prevalent in many cultures worldwide, it is a blessing that it is not a problem in our community. Our neighborhood is composed of aging Britons, 3rd generation Afrikaans, Pakistanis’, and many others living together harmoniously. We are not a utopia, we do butt heads every now and again, but it helps to cement what we have in common rather than what differentiates us.  
  7. More than just a piece of land. We are more than just different people occupying a piece of land. Instead, we are bound by a strong sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. When one lacks, we all do, and when one is successful, it is celebrated. We believe in the phrase “One for all and all for one”.  
  8. Symbolic. We are a symbol of something unfinished and unknown. No one really knows the origins of our community. Everyone has their own version of our “history”. You could describe us as a story left unfinished, an origin open for discussion or even simply classical.
  9. Different, yet the same. People with different trades, backgrounds and skillsets reside in our community, from the street merchants to the farmers. We are all bound together by the hope of making it in life by achieving our individual potentials. We are diverse yet all the same.
  10. A community of the old and new. You could consider us a blend of old and new generations. The new generation enjoys the fast-paced life, completely enjoying where they are in today’s world. The older generation keeps the law and order by balancing the scales effectively and wisely. We need each other.

 

We might not be the best to others but we are definitely unique and I am very proud of that!

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http://buzzsouthafrica.com

Going Back to Basics

Author: Sifiso Mtshali

I am writing this piece while sitting in the train station waiting to go home.

You can sense the urgency among the commuters as they drop their impatient not-so-subtle hints. One old man is flipping through the newspaper while another young lad is tapping his feet rhythmically awaiting his ride home. To my right, a clearly exhausted woman lazily zips and unzips her bag staring into the distance. You can tell her mind is already at home. Behind me, some youngsters are humming a popular tune, off-key but decent. Where am I? I am hunched over my laptop typing away and waiting just like everyone else, for this train that is 15 minutes late.

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“Time!” I think to myself. It must be divine in its very nature. It determines who does what and when. Everyone waiting for the train wishes they were somewhere else, yet Master Time decides differently. So for now, we wait. Regardless of whether the time is short or long, we simply must wait.

After a long period of waiting, the train finally arrives, fully packed of course. We all rush in to fill the tiny openings in the sea of tightly pressed human bodies. Some push to get off while others push to get off. Out of nowhere, a young man appears grabbing everything he can get a grip on. He has lightning speed, darting eyes, and fingers that glide from pocket to pocket – stealing. It is is difficult for the commuters to do anything given their space situation. Chasing after him means taking the risk to leave behind their valuables on the train.

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Just as the train begins to move, the commuters grab the young thug and pull him up. Eureka! He is captured!  I will not tell you what happens afterwards because it is obvious but I began to think. It is scary how we can change into savages: wild, uncontrollable, vicious, cold and brutal beings. It started with a slap across the face and escalated from there. Everyone wanted to seek revenge on him. Everyone was baying for his blood behaving like vultures circling a carcass. Kicking and punching. Slapping and prodding. I wanted to join them. After all, this man did steal from us! However, I just could not do it. As bad as his choices were, he was still human. What would beating a man to a pulp really solve? What made us any different from him? Was it really worth it?

I just stood there and watched. Helpless.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then communication is far mightier than physical torture. I strongly believe that God purposefully created humans with the ability to reason. Nothing beats talking things through. When we beat up a man for stealing from us without attempting to understand the motivation behind his behavior, that is a problem. We are no different from him. When someone commits something that goes against what we consider normal – we should not seek revenge.

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Rather, we should sit down with the person, talk to them and try to help them understand why their actions are wrong. Communication builds, informs, encourages, and changes perceptions. Above all else, it is more effective in solving the ills we see daily. I could have easily taken part in beating up this young man for stealing but I just could not do it. I do not believe God created us to be violent against each other but instead to mediate situations transparently and honestly. When we brutally attack a man for stealing replaceable belongings, what are we really saying? That violence is the answer? That material things are worth more than human life? People make the world go round, not material things or money.

Using torture to punish those who we consider criminals might look like justice but is it?

Where do we draw the line between revenge, justice, and outward brutality?

On the other hand, can we act as a collective in our society and do what is just because it is just? Even taking it a step further and doing the right thing because we love doing it?

Ah! The grey areas of our lives. One can only wonder…