The Feather-duster Man


Feather duster man

At one time the feather-duster-and-broom man was a slight phenomena in South Africa.  One would see him on almost every street corner.
Recently I was happy to spot another feather-duster-and-broom-man, and my thoughts turned to the economy.  Now here was a man who was trying to make a buck, despite the fact that he really had no hope of scratching a living out of selling feather dusters.   But that was not the point, or the reality of the situation.   He most likely lived on the few pence he made for the day, even if it was just paying for his transport to town to collect the dusters.   He had decided to grab at a chance to do an honest days ‘work’ – walking the streets and selling feather dusters, but in fact he was an entrepreneur,  he was creating a career – and one day that may well become the way of the future.

I find the Street People around us so interesting.

Car guard Urban
Meet a man called Urban, the friendly Car-guard,  at a local shopping centre.

There are the Car-guards at the shopping centre.   With a bit of organising, they work for a man, or company, who create opportunities for those who are unemployed.  Depending on the goodwill of the customers, whose cars they ‘guard’,  help unload the shopping trolley, courteously stop the traffic to let you out of your parking spot, and return the trolley to the shop, they can and do make a small survival living.   Most do it with a smile on their face, a polite greeting and a wave good-bye.    If you don’t have small change to give, some say,   ‘never mind next time’!

There are people who stand at the traffic lights, burnt by the sun, to beg for a penny or two.     There is a particular robot in the suburbs I ride through where a decent looking white lady, in a shoe-string top and trousers, stands unashamedly hoping for a bit of support from the passing traffic.
When I see her I often wonder what story she would tell, and why she does what she does to bring in a little finance.
Further into the inner city there are many scruffy looking young men, who, one can tell, have addiction problems.    My heart goes out to these young people.   What chance have they to make a decent life for themselves.   Life on the streets is hard, its a hell of its own.

Giving it some thought, I understand that there is a  strata in the art of making a living.
From the beggars at the street corners, to the feather duster man, the Car-guard, the Fruit and Veg Vendors, the Zimbabwe wire and bead weavers or  the African mamas that capture the tourist trade with their handcrafted talent  – these are those who have nanoscopic to miniscual to trickling to irregular  incomes – all trying to make a living and meet the high demands the economy makes to extract a pound of flesh from a half-loaf of bread needed to still hunger pains.
And although they may be on the bottom rung of the food chain, they form the bulk of the informal income, which if well conducted should be included in the greater scheme of the economy, with extra benefits and favour.


Fruit vendor SA



That is just the bottom end of the economic level of any one country.     For  Poverty is everywhere.    But all is not doom and gloom.  There are the middle and upper and higher echelons in our societies, (that are far removed from the street level) – and that make a good living, and a ridiculously rich living, (those who can buy a Claude Monet painting for over a million dollars !!)   Albeit a very beautiful painting, how can such a price be justified, I ask.
When I saw this on the global news, I said to my son, just hang on to my ‘ pencil artwork’ in enough years it may well be worth a foolish man’s fortune!

I disdain negativity.   But now and again, I despair of the future.   With every societal revolution beginning with the Industrial Revolution – the discovery of steam power, electricity and the then world-widening trade routes, to the Automotive Revolution,  the Sexual Revolution of the sixties, that loosened and cracked up our moral foundations, marking the place for the perversity and confusion to come,  to the current Information Technology that banishes all geographic and financial boundaries to the nether-sphere.  And now the foreseeable future of the A I  – Artificial Intelligence,  and, even more scary the possible self-annihilating age of the oncoming Quantum-Computer !

Rich Poor sign

And its all called  ‘Progress’.   There is no doubt that much benefit and convenience (the up-side)  have been derived from these discoveries in our history.    But when I look back over these man-made wonders,  intelligentsia and innovations  – and their out-workings,  I  see more people unemployed.   Is unemployment with its desegregation the malady of our times :  no work, no money, no future no hope – more poverty and despair, riding on its wake of drunkenness addictions and depression within our societies ?

Will the future hold more Street People, like the feather duster and broom man ?
But he has with him the tenacity to do an honest day’s work, with a dream of a better life.  He has hope, and that will carry him through to a better tomorrow.
So the next time you see him, consider buying a feather duster or broom,  even if you don’t need one,  you will be fuelling the future with hope !
Like poverty, dust is everywhere, and settles to grime if you don’t dust and sweep regularly.      Clean homes gather dust too !


Broom man
Mr Blessing Ngubane, creates hope for the future.

So support the entrepreneurs,  those ‘career creators’,  for one day, in the fast approaching robotic future,  (remember robots they don’t ask for wage increased, don’t need medical aid, don’t protest, or strike for rights, – they are the perfect employee !) …  who knows we may all have to become entrepreneurs with tenacity and hope in our hearts.

But don’t despair with me, keep in mind that the future is ultimately in God’s hands,  and He knows the end from the beginning, we just need to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to us, and to consider the poor and the needy among us.

Psalm 41: 1  Blessed is he who considers the poor,
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.


pink feather duster




The Day America Listened.

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It was my son, who said how wonderful it was that the Pope had made himself so visible in today’s world and how he influences the cause for the Poor and Needy.   So, when the TV announced that the Pope was going to address the American Congress I decided to sit on my couch to watch and listen to what the world’s most prominent leader had to say to America, the greatest nation on earth.

I was quite composed until I heard the slow gentleness of the Pope’s voice greet, and meet America, with the strong resonance to patriotism – for Americans love America ! There was a move in the spirit of the hearts who listened, as they all became very quiet, attentive and began listening to his every word.    And then I noticed the struggle
the man with the green tie was having to surpress his swelling tears, as he recognised the momentous moment in America’s history. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner appreciated the moment, the man, and the day America listened !Free-shipping-3pcs-lot-76mm-3-World-Map-Foam-ball-Earth-Globe-Stress-Relief-Ball-Atlas

It was then that tears began to flow down my cheeks as I saw a man touched by the Spirit of a holy man.  And if it were that I were not alone,  I would have howled, for it was those tears that gave me the surging hope…. that  man, as he listens to what is good, and gentle, and righteous, and moral,  is touched and moved to tears, even suppressed tears, declares that hope for Man is alive, and that God was watching, and listening too !

Surely such an address must have been written from the heart of the Pope, for it captured so ingeniously what he stood for, what he hoped for, what he subtly chastised for, without actually stating out loud the errors and contentious issues that the new modern society claim as their rights.  How subtly he addressed America on so many different levels, but never accusing or demeaning.   A lesson for politicians clamouring for power, to learn and to practice.
I for one, would love to be able to write with such subtilty and innuendoes, skirting yet penetrating the social issues of our times. To my mind it was a brilliant piece of writing, so graciously delivered to listening hearts.   It is only Love that can do that !

Even as a listening World, we should embrace much from his address to America for all the issues are global issues.  The Pope practises what he preaches, and his most endearing quality, to my mind is his refreshing humility, and his mindfulness of the preciousness of Life, and of the Poor.  This Pope may well leave the legacy of  bringing man back to our humanity. For in the race for fame prosperity and power we, on this side of the history scale, have for all intents and purposes, lost or misplaced our humanity.  All life matters, even that of the Earth, and we all need to respect the dignity of life; and each other.   A little humility will go a long way.

It was indeed a moment in our time, that may make for a better world, if we would just listen… and hear…. and do.

God bless America as she listens ! download (3)