Slice of Life: I took a walk in my slippers

'I know, you must be thinking that it’s only slippers — but I beg to differ,' says social activist Bonolo Makgale (Madelene Cronjé)

'I know, you must be thinking that it’s only slippers — but I beg to differ,' says social activist Bonolo Makgale (Madelene Cronjé)

I put on my pair of black-and-red slippers and got into my car. When I got to the parking bay, I searched under my car seat for some shoes and I chanced on my red heels. My poor car is always full of books and shoes but hey, that’s the life I live — a life of books and heels.
I was hurriedly trying to put them on, then I thought: “Darling, I think you should keep your slippers on.” This was a first. I’ve always thought that I would be caught dead before I could ever, and I mean ever, be caught looking terrible.

I know, you must be thinking that it’s only slippers — but I beg to differ. To me, they somehow represented a huge disaster. So I finally decided that the issue here was not really the slippers. The real issue here was my obsession with always wanting to look good. When I’m not feeling so good and life goes crazy on me, I put on my best outfit and stunning heels in the hope that my outer appearance will somehow fight off the internal issue.

Our mothers are always telling us never to show the world what a mess we are. So at that moment, after debating intensely with myself, I decided to let go of my heels and comfortably walk around in my slippers and actually show the world the mess I felt like.

My slippers no longer represented a disaster. They stated that I was okay with the fact that, right now, I am a mess. My slippers became my celebration of the unforced rhythms of grace. They allowed me to surrender, and I don’t mean “give up” but rather “give over”. So I relinquish. — Bonolo Makgale, social activist doing her master’s in public policy at the Wits School of Governance, as told to Zaza Hlalethwa

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