“Oneness” became my spirit of self-awareness that I’m black & proud youth bred in self-assurance yet, soaked with deep spiritual experience to venture into the unknown with confidence!
This is a special page for all “Oneness Charmdor 1979 B.E.A.T.S Group my introductory episode. I was blessed to be part of a group of very talented and amazing Witwatersrand Youth of 1979 a period in my life that became a milestone of my profound defining moment. It completely changed my entire perception about life and my consciousness was slightly illuminated.
How It All Began – My Short Story
My story begins in 1979 at zone 6 Baragwanath Hospital Taxi Rank to buy a local “World” not “The Star” newspaper since it was a newspaper for sophisticated business people. I needed to search for job opportunities and vacancies anyway and every-way possible since I was unemployed, seeking for an alternative, maybe a better bigger opportunity or challenge.
I will make more time to re-write this story, currently I just want to share my picturesque memorable little episodes the way my imagination remembers its vivid unfolding and yet unpredictable design.
When I first got to the newspaper stand in one of the shops at the rank, the paper was sold out i.e. “The World”was finished. Somehow! for some reason I ended up taking a bus to Orlando East to fetch my woman, so that we venture to town to do some shopping right in the heart of the Jozi’s CBD. I got off the bus stop in Orlando East and had this strange feeling that I must try find “today’s” newspaper by any means necessary nor matter what it will take me to get it! I wanted to read something so bad from from it – that it hurts for a day.
This feeling of anxiety kept bothering me heavily to a point of irritability and eventually I dropped the idea to ignore the significance of what the day might turn out be before the Sun went down. There is always mood swings and anxiety when you can’t find what you’re looking for. My state of intolerance and impatience haunted me for no apparent reason.
Good News Come when you least expect it:
Well – I got to my in-laws’ home and found out that my father in-law had already bought that newspaper, but it was not the “The World”, unfortunately he reads “The Star”. That was not good news for a moment for me. I needed to read about gossip and township jive and the blues or political intermittent events that kept us all on our feet – in the township about “The Struggle”. Regina Mundi came to mind there was little action taking place that week. As if trouble was simmering and waiting for the right moment before #@%$(&+ happens.
What was inside The Star became insignificantly unattractive to absorb any of my significant attention before the Sun hit midday. The paper was full of management senior positions and complicated industrial and technical vacancies reserved for whites “only”.
Anyway! I paged through the paper with my fingers racing through it as though my nerves had lost control of its connection to my body’s rhythmic heart-beat. Somehow I was jittery and nervous because my father in-law was sitting with me in the dinning room. I sensed him reading my thoughts and frustration. An unusual occurrence since I became a “Mkhwenyana” in that house-hold.
I lost track of time because I was fidgeting with this newspaper when accidentally I came across a full page where “BEATS” i.e. Business Equipment Association Training Scheme under Mr. Les Woods placed their student technical training advertisement. This was in collaboration with the CSIR and Wits University to invite “rookie” African youth to participate in a new technical skills development course sponsored by multinational corporations in the field of office automation.
There was little to write home about since this paper was perceived to be a liberal white minority industrialist paper. As I read through the details of the Ad slowly I began to relax and become a little more magnetized by the content in it. It got my attention. This attractive and amazing offer grabbed my full undivided attention until my spouse was ready – then we left for town i.e. Jozi.
Nevertheless! I responded to the invitation to apply and to take part in the BEATS program and wrote the entry level technical I.Q. test. This took place 7 days after the advert appeared in that weekly edition. Response from BEATS in respect to feedback regarding my tech-test results were very quiet and not forthcoming for nearly a month or so, I almost entirely forgot about it.
The rhythm of B.E.A.T.S kept the turn table of my music on
My woman and I where grocery shopping at OK Bazaar just off Rissik and Bree street near NBS building. NBS -Natal Building Society when I met Tizza. I remember very well when my wife said to me; “hey! that guys’ Afro hair is cool don’t you think?“. I said yes and when I turned around to look it was Tizza. She was pointing at Tizza and I knew Tizza because we met at Wits during the I.Q. and technical evaluation tests conducted on behalf of BEATS! (ja) we met at Wits earlier and recognized each other.
To my amazement Tizza saw me too but was not sure, and we stood and had a little chat about the outcomes of the event, when he broke his “Good-News” to me. He had already been accepted to attend the Charmdor BEATS Course. I was happy for him, but wondered why I did not get my results. He suggested I visit the BEATS offices which incidentally were not far from where we met. Their offices was on the 7th floor of NBS Building corner Rissik and Bree street. Is this a coincidence or what?
After our little shopping with my spouses we went past BEATS offices to investigate further and inquire about my Wits BEATS I.Q. results. Guess what! I had passed and was also assigned to attend the Chamdor BEATS training course, which was scheduled for 12 months intensive study program all expenses paid including accommodation and sundry. I was very elated and on cloud 9. Everything else changed- life for me took a different meaning and a complete 180 degrees turn.
In short – I qualified out of a 1,000 participating students and youth who wrote to find their new path and future in an era of our political uncertainty and turmoil, where everything was race related. The future was unpredictable in those days getting chosen to be part of such a destined life changing event its mind boggling to say the least.
I was among the top 100 successful students chosen for this program and that spoke volumes to my future journey and the impact it will have on my personal education and training goals. To embark, finish and complete the program by 1980. With nearly 60 students completing the program by that period we began our new internship for the practicals in 1981. Believe me, our trials and tribulation were just about to begin. Life was now taking control of our destiny and the race was on – there was no looking back.
Life’s Biggest Breaks Do Come To Pass
I had found what I was dreaming about – an opportunity to break from prejudice and routine jobs with monotonous offers that did not pay nor challenge my emotions or recognize my intellectual abilities and prowess. My heart was full of life and joyfully inspired to conquer adversity or fight my odds and battles. After all life is about how strong and resilient you’re and not what people think and place limit to what you can become. I knew I had wings and I wanted to fly – This chance was an open road with no boundaries to prove life is worth living. I got it and the rest was left in the pages of life to be kept as history in the archives of our memories.
The freedom to stand tall and be counted as a human being with dignity to assume your role in society and make a difference to your fellow men, follow blindly or lead with wisdom. To be counted in the book of existence that you are present in the classroom of life’s tough lessons. My journey was the best I could ever have imagined and would never have to trade it for anything.
Today I still feel the connection being “One” with the spirit of “Oneness”. May the Almighty God bless all those young men and women who walked this soil to emerge victorious after the dust in the battle fields subsided. I love you guys you rock and you were an invisible pillar of hope; that kept the beacon of light burning with unlimited possibilities while we forged our freedom in 1994. Now we are free it’s time to touch the sky!
Whats’ been your experience brothers “Oneness” was the experience for me! please let me know how you are let’s get together and touch base as we cruise and traverse the jungle of the future against our ordinary mortal combats of odd moments in our passing of the time capsule.
In memory of all our departed brothers I dedicate these songs to you: “Oneness” – is the experience embrace it to be exalted.
Below is my gallery of how best I remember Charmdor:
Click the image to expand the picture on light-box
Peace be with you my brothers!