Valentine’s Day! I can hardly believe my ears.
“What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?” I inquire of the research assistants on our way to the field.
“No chocolates, no colourful cards from secret admirers, no gifts, no candlelight dinners?” I ask.
“It’s like SMS messaging,” they say.In Grade 3, my mother, who baked us a big batch of heart-shaped cookies covered with pink icing for Valentines Day, gave me and my two sibs a batch of her tasty creations to take to school for our Valentine party. I was so proud to be able to offer these delicious treats to my classmates that the following year I again offered her services to make the Valentine box and provide the cookies.
The first testing done of HIV/AIDS posters in rural
Then on Valentines Day evening, I am listening to my favourite “Late Night Date” with DJ Ronnie on Capital FM which comes out from
DJ Ronnie hosts a remarkable show. Not only does he provide sensitive and caring listening to people with real problems but his advice is practical and supportive. When for the most difficult cases, he accesses professional counselors to assist him, his own advice and manner are much superior to that of the so-called professionals he finds.
Among university faculty, admitting that you listen to DJ Ronnie is a bit like being caught reading People magazine or maybe even True Confessions at home. When I have extolled what I see as his virtues, I am met initially by disbelief followed by muted agreement, often shared appreciation and always followed by complicit laughter. I find DJ Ronnie a stellar example of how we can all assist people in trouble just by active listening and making sensible, non-judgmental responses to people in need.
So for Valentines Day, DJ Ronnie once again rises to the challenge. After listening to all the comments for and against, he composes a response. It is short, simple and delightful. He points out that Valentines Day is first and foremost a celebration of love. Love for our parents, our friends, our neighbours, each other. Love for partners and family. Surely he admonishes his listeners, Africans can celebrate love, certainly this is appropriate. And surely Africans want to take part in this world wide celebration of love. He challenges us as his listeners and as members of the global community to use Valentines Day as an opportunity to celebrate love for each other.
Hearing DJ Ronnie's seasoned defence of Valentines Day is my second valentine of the day. The first was an internet valentine from my sister which I was only able to partially open because the band width or line speed is so low. I have been threatening to call DJ Ronnie. My colleagues say I will need to have a fat problem to share with him as he doesn't deal with small stuff. I think instead I will send this belated thank you.