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Holding society and things by a thread; while the fire burns on both ends!


27 January 2020

I haven’t written these entries since the incident with the police…perhaps one day I will write about how debilitating and disheartening it is to be failed by your country at the point of service (justice or health) and worst of all, you understand the causes and reasons only too well and while sympathetic to the workers at the frontline, they are at that point the representatives of the system that is content by holding things by a thread consumed by a fire that is burning on both ends.

Perhaps I will not write about it because it is the everyday grammar of black life in South Africa and we should save ink for new stories while the history stubbornly over-inscribes and superimposes itself on the present and seemingly, if we continue as we are, on the future. From then till now, I have lived and lived out loud and Phurah’s presence has meant the world to me, appreciate and love this fellow trash from deep within and our bromance has been more lively than some of your marriages and relationships but we’re not there.

Of today, we tried for the umpteenth time to pack and clean stuff and it is clear that I’m a hoarder but I like to think of myself as an archivist. We then made our way, spent a bit of with Mam’Khawula, my favourite Member of Parliament in the history of South Africa. After a few good laughs with u-Ma, we did some admin then we set to visit Bhut Fura. We met brother Sbu Dikiza at the central station and had brief chats about his book selling business Botlhale and planned hiking activities starting from next month. Sbu doesn’t smile in pictures because he is a revolutionary and revolutionary apparently don’t smile in pictures till the land comes back. So clearly Phurah and I are sellouts and we’re okay with that. So as Sbu departs, in comes Oscar. Now Oscar is…okay so there are beautiful human beings and there are beings that put beauty onto humanity and that is who Oscar is. I absolutely love this man, respect him and admire him for so much as a thinker, a humanist and all round ethical person with sharp intellect. Gentle soul, loving, caring and knows how to take care of himself to be better for himself and others around him. I hadn’t seen him for what feels like forever. He was with his niece and showing her how to navigate Cape Town as she will be studying here.

There are uncles and then there’s Oscar, again, phenomenal person so an absolute blessing and treat to see him. On that same spot at the station, I am approached by an old comrade from the Congolese Society in South Africa. They want to host an event that is aimed at social cohesion and when I get more details, I will help with the publicity and it would be good to have a strong South African contingent as pan-africanism also means internationalism and that means solidarity.

Off we went to Tat’ uFura and we made a brief stop to fit tweed jackets in the Grand Parade. The persuasive salesperson kept reminding us: “fitting is free” so we fitted and we will make a turn in future to buy, which will not be free but then we get to take it home.

Finally we arrive at Tat’ uFura’s place and I am introduced to two lovely brothers doing important work in Drama and I reconnect with a dear sister and comrade from the days of the September National Imbizo (SNI), comrade Ngcwalisa. She makes jewelry in Cape Town and is a phenomenal musician from one of the most conscious bands in Cape Town, Soundz of the South.

The conversations were extremely rich covering a wide range from local music to relationshipping in the 21st century. We had to leave unfortunately to make it for the last taxi. On the way to the taxi rank, I was lucky again to bump into brother Simon Rakei, one of the most lucid minds in #RhodesMustFall and the only man to date who has better hair than mine.

We arrived at the taxi rank and immediately my fellow Rastas in brown suits (those who know will know) were targeting me to make sales of kinds of herbs and roots. As I am obviously a Rasta, I politely declined by saying I already have my supplier of all those good things and my non-purchase was understood to be rooted in loyalty.

We made it into the taxi with four seats left and they filled up pretty quickly. The music in the taxi is exactly what the doctor ordered, a mix of RnB songs to the fastest beats imaginable and one never knows if they are coming or going when listening to such music but fewer things give you a real experience of Cape Town better than that. I took a very important picture for parents who bring children on to the taxi and it’s a national rule, if they’re 3 and above, they pay full price.

So we got off the taxi quite far from the destination in order to get in some brisk walking as a compromise for the jog we had planned to do. The walk was 31 minutes and it was good for the heart. We made a stop to buy supplies for tomorrow, which is a writing day and if the weather permits, swimming, soccer and cooking.

For readings, I revisited parts of brother PJ Mofokeng’s book on Sankomota and this book is an achievement, nothing short of an inspiration of what cultural writings on music in this country could look like. Other readings for the day included a critical piece on Audre Lorde and another one on complicated legacies of Kobe Bryant. I liked both articles but I know more about Audre Lorde than I do about Kobe so I resonated more with it. The friend who sent me the piece hated it. I liked the piece and I said this to her:

“So I finished the piece. I don’t have a problem with it except for some really mean-spirited parts with a strong finger of resentment but positioned as critique. Overall, I do not have a problem with what I understand to be the objective of the article, which is to humanize a human being. We do get lost in idols because we’re often deprived of exemplary people.

You and I know brilliant people that many would come close to worshipping but we know their feet of clay. We have these same feet of clay and people who are a safe distance from us worship us too. I personally have no desire to be a role model and quite detest the imposed pressure it comes with it.”

This may as well hold for Kobe and his golden hands with feet of clay. I am singularly committed to appreciating complexity. My disdain for Moses figures is well-known amongst friends as I have personally resisted and continue resisting being a Moses of anything I am part of and I caution against this in all things. I live by a simple creed, eat chocolate and ice cream and allow humans to be human.

We are all complicated beings, the lenses through which to live life must see beyond good and evil or angels and demons because the same person who is a hero in one story is a villain in another and we live to make choices of how we remember those who mean(t) a lot to us. I above all else, choose love. Let me go brush my teeth (unlike some of you) and sleep.

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