My vreugdes en frustrasies

A - Z (2018)

#AtoZchallenge (2018) X is for feeling Xerophytic

My theme for this challenge is “feelings” of a sexagenarian and the influence of social media.

My tema vir hierdie uitdaging is “gevoelens” van ‘n sestig-plusser en die invloed van sosiale media.

English (Afrikaans below):

Xerophytic – adapted to a xeric (or dry) environment; “cacti are xerophytic plants”; “xerophytic adaptations” (xeric – being deficient in moisture; “deserts provide xeric environments”).

Today we celebrate Freedom Day in South Africa to commemorate the first post-apartheid elections held on 27 April 1994. The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group, including foreign citizens permanently resident in South Africa were allowed to vote. Source: Wikipedia.

Over the past 24 years, the people of the Rainbow Nation have been learning to live in a radically changed political environment. There were some rocky patches to negotiate, dry spells to overcome, both figuratively and literally speaking (South Africa is still staggering from the effect of a severe drought). This path has not been easy, tempers have flared and harsh words have been spoken in the past, mostly on social media, yes, but also in public gatherings.

The role of social media: So how is this relevant to cacti? Have you ever felt the sting of a cactus thorn? Worse still, have you ever landed ass over teakettle in a cactus bush? Then you will know exactly how it feels to open up a social media page and experience the sting of racial slur on these platforms. Then, on the other hand, have you ever seen a cactus in full bloom? Molded by dry desert climates, these plants don’t require much care or water and can survive extreme weather conditions. On top of this, they surprise us with the most beautiful flowers, even in the toughest conditions. Whenever I look at a flowering cactus, the word that pops up in my mind is “perseverance” and this is why I chose this emoji for today: 😣

My hope for South Africa on this day is that our nation will persevere and bloom.


The pictures below, taken in 2009 and 2010, are of a cactus plant that my eldest son bought for me with the birthday money he received when he turned eleven. That was 28 years ago and the little 3-inch high plant has grown to an enormous size.

Afrikaans:

Xerofytiese – aangepas by ‘n xeriese (of droë) omgewing; “kaktusse is xerofitiese plante”; “xerofytiese aanpassings” (xeric – tekort aan vog; “woestyne voorsien xeriese omgewings”).

Vandag vier ons Vryheidsdag in Suid-Afrika om die eerste na-apartheidsverkiesings wat op 27 April 1994 gehou is, te herdenk. Die verkiesing was die eerste nie-rassige nasionale verkiesing, waar alle stemgeregtigdes van 18 jaar en ouer van enige rassegroep, insluitend buitelandse burgers wat permanent inwoners in Suid-Afrika is, toegelaat was om te stem. Bron: Wikipedia.

Oor die afgelope 24 jaar het die mense van die Reënboognasie geleer om in ‘n radikaal veranderde politieke omgewing te leef. Daar was ‘n paar rotsagtige plekke om te deurkruis, droogtes om te oorkom, beide figuurlik en letterlik (Suid-Afrika ly tans nog onder die gevolge van ‘n ernstige droogte). Hierdie pad is nie maklik nie, die humeure het opgevlam en in die verlede is harde woorde laat val, meestal op sosiale media, ja, maar ook by openbare byeenkomste.

Die rol van sosiale media: Wat het dit te doen met kaktusse? Het jy al ooit die steek van ‘n kaktusdoring gevoel? Erger nog, het jy al ooit gat oor kop in ‘n kaktusbos geland? Dan sal jy presies weet hoe dit voel om ‘n sosiale media-bladsy oop te maak en die steek van rassisitiese uitsprake op hierdie platforms te ervaar. Dan, aan die ander kant, het jy al ooit ‘n kaktus in volle bloei gesien? Getemper deur ‘n droë woestynklimaat, benodig hierdie plante nie veel sorg of water nie en kan uiterste weersomstandighede oorleef. Boonop verras hulle ons met die mooiste blomme, selfs in die moeilikste omstandighede. Wanneer ek na ‘n blommende kaktus kyk, is die woord wat in my gedagtes verskyn, “volharding” en daarom het ek hierdie emoji vir vandag gekies: 😣

My hoop vir Suid-Afrika op hierdie dag is dat ons nasie sal volhard en bloei.


Die fotos hierbo, geneem in 2009 en 2010, is van ‘n kaktusplant wat my oudste seun vir my gekoop het met die verjaarsdaggeld wat hy ontvang het toe hy elf geword het. Dit was 28 jaar gelede en die klein 3-duim hoë plant het gegroei tot ‘n enorme grootte.

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28 Comments

  1. Vandag is jy ‘n kaktusplant 😊 Not to worry .hulle maak ook mooi blomme 😕

  2. Ha! I wondered what your response to X would be. As we age our skins become more ‘xeric’ and moisturiser becomes our best friend? A lovely new word for me!

  3. Die prentjie sê alles.

  4. Comment by post author

    HesterLeyNel

    Whahaha, this was not supposed to be published yet.I had a full day yesterday and decided to start preparing the post for today. Ah well, the cactus is out of the bag – I’ll just update during the day.

  5. O sommer so van die kaktus tot die blom…. die emoji 😄 is jy. Weet nie hoekom ek hom met jou gelink het nie… maar wanneer ek hom gebruik kom jy by my op.

  6. A wonderful response – well done! That cactus must be VERY precious.

  7. 🙂 Wishing you very a Happy Freedom Day

  8. Nilanjana Bose

    I absolutely love the metaphor you have used so effectively!

    As an Africa fan in general, (also a great fan of President Mandela) I remember following the 1990’s events in South Africa with much excitement. Happy Freedom Day!

  9. Hmmm….men as cactuses…an interesting approach, dear Hester. To be a cactus or not to be…that’s the question, anyhow!

  10. Was curious on what you would pick for X. This was a new word to me. 🙂

    And coming to social media relevance, i have blocked a lot of sites so that the news do not appear in my feeds. May not be totally relevant but I would prefer not be reading those targeting and raging posts. I consider then cactus and prefer to keep them away.

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