UNdo (18.09.2012) 

Five years ago today, at roughly 08:00, I stood waiting outside the magistrate office. I would legally and otherwise bind myself to the picture of forever that I had carefully woven in my heart and mind. Today, I can’t commit to a celebration. So instead I will rabble in reflection below…

“That only happens in movies” they said. We defied their limited notions with a timeless kiss in the dirty streets of Johannesburg, while clinging to our pockets lest those who picked them, found them. Weeks later a meeting you would have with a familiar stranger would anger me and have me tuck my heart’s keys away lest YOU found them. But your eyes sparkled with ambition and your hands struck me with desire; I loosened my grasp.

My father said “dare not be unequally yoked, how then would you raise your children?”. He said this deeply simmering with delight at your wish to take my hand and make an honest woman of me. We lay excitedly gazing at the single pearl on my finger, speaking of what WOULD be. Rarely did we speak of what COULD be if we lost the keys we both had been entrusted with.

My diamond ring which pardoned the single pearl, after the familiar stranger made a mockery of it would be tainted still… My old lover would leave this earth. You asked me to mourn, maybe wishing that, that would wash the corners of my soul that you still hadn’t occupied. I could only dream of being called your wife. My tears were aimless. Was I mourning the one who was or what was predestined to be.

Before you watched me walk down the isle, fame, money and adoration found us. No, wait… It found you. I happily walked with you, sapphire and diamonds in hand. I had a piece of paper now that carried all the promises of “for better or worse, till death do us part”. This little piece of paper wrapped the keys inside of it and invited my mind to it’s warm abode. I became delusional. Your eyes never wandered and neither did mine, why worry about those would pry lustfully at my flesh and your status? Our cellphones carried no weight of passcodes. Our home reeked of pleasure and satisfaction. Our eyes glistening with promise. We have found what we were looking for in that timeless kiss on the dirty streets of Johannesburg.

I remember the first time I cussed at you. The first time I threw something at you. I remember how I broke the promise never to slumber in anger. See, we understood that heart’s stop beating in the mornings too. What we didn’t know was that the covenants of lovers had hearts too.

“In 5 years we will review this contract.” We laughed loudly.

I laugh now remembering the fourth. The fourth of six. Six years of analysing the colours in your eyes. Six year of birthdays and deaths, of humans and covenants too. I want to forget. The death of the colours in your eyes that painted my heart’s canvas.

Year seven pending year five, I bought a bucket of paint. Black. I poured it over my soul. It dripped. Down to my feet and left bare the lessons I HAD to learn from YOU, from LIFE, from LOVE, that were specially crafted FOR ME.

Love with no reservations. Love stupidly. Love completely. Love to death. Love beyond death. Love beyond pain. Love your scars. Love the flowers on the graves of your hand written happily ever afters. Love YOU first, after God. Love the journey. Love him. Love him despite. Love him inspite. Love prayer. Love commitment. Love recreation, rehabilitation, restoration. Love your children. Love their children. Love their joys. Love LOVE.

This piece of paper no longer holds my mind. This was no choice of mine. Life spat in my face often enough and entrenched it’s vile stench in my hands; Each time I dared to wipe my tears I would smell the struggle. The struggle to be who I promised to be while loving you. Loving us. Loving this. So my mind detached in search of cleaner spaces.

Almost eight and safely at five, I would only changed two things. The deaths of the beings we coloured in hopes of creating masterpieces.

The rest should stay the same. How else would I undo the knots of premature promises I made to you. How else would I learn to celebrate what has become at FIVE.


Chris Kairinos – Asaman 

Chris Kairinos meets with the Asaman group. A trader in Oil and Gold. This is what this 30 year old young man had to share 

  Could you tell us a bit about your childhood, where you grew up and your family

Typical Cypriot boy born in Benoni. I have 2 sisters and 1 brother. I am the youngest. My brother and eldest sister are half siblings, same father different mother. My mother and father divorced when I was 3-4 years old and I moved in with my mother and my younger sister to Edenvale where we were raised. My mother worked two jobs and my sister and I spent much time at home with our maid and with aunts and cousins. My father and eldest sister and brother emigrated to Cyprus when I was young so I often travelled to Cyprus to visit. My mother insisted on keeping close relationships with the whole family. I went to Edenglen primary and then moved to SAHETI for high school as my mother wanted to instill our Greek heritage as much as possible.

 Who were your male role models growing up and who do you still look up to today? And why? 

 My mother, the hardest worker I know to this day. She taught me that to be smart is one thing but without a strong work ethic to back intelligence you are nothing. She also taught me to be honest, humble and polite at all times. My uncle George. He has been a successful director at SasolChevron and an inspiration to the family. I draw much from his character when making decisions on work and family situations.

How would you define manhood? 

I suppose it is the coming of age  from being a boy to becoming a man. As a man you are often looked at to take the forefront in many family decisions and also in other social situations. This can be viewed as stereotypical but is very common in most cultures today. Manhood can also be looked at simply the transition of young and naïve to older and wise. Being able to take on responsibility and to make well thought out decisions.

Do you feel or think various cultural upbringings help shape the kind of man one becomes and is it always a positive thing? Please expand on this view

 Cultural upbringing certainly has an effect on how a boy’s thoughts are moulded as they mature. Sometimes it is taught that girls can only do certain things and guys other things, or more commonly that a boy has more responsibility than a girl within the family. You can agree to some extent that women can do some things better than men and vice versa, but it is never a question of importance or respect being based purely on sex. These traits most likely vary from culture to culture. Being Greek I can say that women are taught from a young age to assist with what is commonly associated with womanly functions. Cooking, cleaning, caring for father and brother and later husband etc. But they are too motivated to become successful in the fields they would like to pursue. Whether it be a doctor, engineer, banker, actress chef etc.

So yes, culture does have an impact on what type of a man is produced, not always positive but from my experiences within my own culture I can say it has been positive.

 What do you do on a professional level and are you fulfilled by your work? 

Commodities trader. I am fulfilled. I am challenged daily and very often need to learn more to overcome the challenges. I am responsible for my actions and need to face the consequences when I make the wrong decision and most definitely need to provide logical explanations for my behaviour.

 Do you wish to have children some day and what values would you wish to instill in them

Perhaps. I fear my choice is heavily influenced by the fact that the world already has too many people in it and despite my best efforts my children will be exposed to too much bad as a result. People have to increasingly fight for less available resources, I worry that they will never get to see the world like I did as a child.

 Please share some of your interests outside of the work space 

Friends and family are first on the list. Down time with those few that you care for really is chicken soup for the soul. Reading books that have nothing to do with my line of work and enjoying good movies. Currently enjoying navy based movies, fascinating to see what people at war put themselves through for their country.

Do you think friendship is a medium that can be used to engage on a positive level between men? Do you have any such friends and how do you help in each others progress/growth 

 I have had the same friends since high school, I am now 30 so that is quite a long time. Friends that you keep for a long time are sometimes more than family, they simply understand you better and don’t expect a certain behaviour from you. My network of friends is equivalent to a net, when one falls the net is there to catch them.

How was the experience of taking part in the Asaman campaign? 

It was interesting. I think to give some context as to who the campaign is aimed to help would be great and how it will be delivered to the targeted audience. Also would be good to see if it did help in anyway.

South Africa is blessed with diverse cultures and creeds. Each one possess value systems that promote good levels of morality. Asaman is happy to explore and share the lessons found in embracing our differences. 

  Asaman, strive to be strong and confident as your mind and body permits 

Photography by Aaron & Hur