Enviro Perspectives on Silence

A buffalo herd crossing the road.
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Nature's 4x4 Mowing machine

While watching a large herd of buffalo crossing the road near Orpen recently, I was impressed by the relative silence and degree of organisation among so many large animals. The name ?bovine? is often applied to someone we consider to be ?not too bright? - but this is certainly not the case with these magnificent creatures. Just before the rains, herds of buffalo gather in large aggregations in what can be described as ?nature's mowing machine?.

In such great numbers they can not afford to linger in areas where there is insufficient food. They seek out the valleys and vleis where there is still standing grass with enough nutrition. They keep on the move, eating what they can, trampling what they can?t, breaking up the soil surface with their many hooves and leaving behind a great amount of ?fertiliser?.

In this fashion they enhance new growth by opening up vegetation to light, provide a protective layer of litter, encourage water penetration and add essential nutrients. These aggregations break up into their smaller herds again at the onset of the rains. Most apparent, with the buffalo, was their almost silent communication, order, discipline, patience, self control and determination - in sharp contrast to the majority of human species.

As humans, we have ?lost the plot? to aimless hyper-activity accompanied by deafening and frustrating noise. The lack of direction in human progress is manifested by the beat of the occult and the screams of the lost, which passes for music.

This noise, encouraged by super-lost, communication authorities, across the airwaves of our TV and radio channels, contain messages of incitement to greed, hate, violence, and debauchery that are effectively leading to national destruction. Is this what the government authorities are determined to achieve - so that they can remain in power? Or are they so embroiled and gutless to be able to stop the rot?

The souls of the individual determine the attitude of the nation. Our indigenous music - of Mapfumo, Mambazo and such - is gentle, harmonious and satisfying - but the frustration of Africa combined with the drug-induced liberties of the west have resulted in an increasingly destructive and disturbing invitation to hopelessness.

Human advancement is linked to our ability to return to the quietness of nature. Where we can again hear God speaking and guiding our progress. Where our vocal abilities are restricted to specific emergency and necessary communication. Where we can be just as tough and resolute - but as quiet as - a buffalo. Then we will be really strong - with discipline and fortitude to secure a hopeful future.

Dave Rushworth



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