when a foreigner visits south africa, they are taken to a game park and shown “the big five” a collection of animals noted for their danger when hunting them on foot. they check off the list of leopard, buffalo, lion, elephant and rhino one by one until satisfied that they have seen everything. no problem with that, except that we aren’t hunters. at all. it’s been illegal since the days of king shaka. so why would we rate the buffalo more valuable a sighting than the giraffe, or a zebra? i’ll take the floaty gaited grace of a giraffe over the grumpy, ugly buffalo any day but we still have this hangover from a time when men roamed south africa in search of trophies.
how often do we unknowingly drag the values of another era, another culture, or another world view into our life?
more and more i am evaluating my actions against my values and being increasingly intentional about establishing a lifestyle for my family that speaks of who we are and what we stand for.
my dad is here from canada for the holidays. we took him to umfolozi and let him take pictures of crows. kira eagerly helped us spot baby impalas and big sister giraffes. we marvelled over the lush green hills dotted with black-and-white striped foals. it was breathtaking and beautiful and since we were not trying to kill anything we cast aside the old list of must-sees and appreciated all that our eyes could behold.
we are not hunters, therefore we will not uphold hunting traditions. we are not going to conform to the culture around us for sheer lack of stopping to examine the motivations. we are christians but we’re not celebrating christmas in a blind presents-centric consumerism just because that’s the cultural norm. if you ask kira what we got her for christmas she’ll tell you her most valuable (and only) gifts: gampa from canada and baby zebras.