I've often been struck by the aesthetic and cultural differences of Cape Town in comparison to other cities in South Africa. I've always had this love hate relationship with this sublime metropolis. I could stand for hours gazing up at Table Mountain as clouds spill over its sides. The sky seems to have its own peculiar shade of blue and the air always seems freshly swept leaving me breathing deep and sweet. The sounds of the ocean and the leisurely pace of life is alluring and frustrating if your trying to get anything done at a Joburg pace. My enchantment can last for quite sometime, but eventually I begin to miss the rhythm, culture, language and blackness of Johannesburg. I can find similarities in Cape Town, but it's such an effort and pulls too far away from the aesthetic magic that is the Mother City.
Two days ago I was snatched abruptly out of my cape dream, by the jarring exclusivity of Constantia Village. I guess it was too much for system to travel from the township of Kayaletshia to the upscale white suburb of Constantia. I was struck by the juxtaposition of a well maintained gardenesque spacious community with a cramped dusty jumble of dwellings. One felt like a place to live and the other like some place to survive. Upon arriving at the Constantia Village Mall with provided a divine air conditioned reprieve from the days oppressive heat I made a bee line for Kuai. I was in need of a fresh squeezed juice with a shot of wheat grass. Yeah I'm that guy who enjoys my urban suburban amenities. As I waited for my juice and a trout something or other wrap I decided to stroll over to the health food store next door. These places are like a liquor store to a wino for the pseudo health conscious. As I strolled I realized that I was on track for a head on collision with an older white woman. What usually happens in these cases is that at the last minute both parties swerve and share a moment o f connection. Sometimes it's a little laugh, a quick closed mouth smile or the flick of a nervous eye. In this case neither one of us swerved, but stood staring at each other merely inches apart. I could see and feel her expectation of me stepping aside, which didn't happen. I'm not sure if it was a bad day or a lifetime or privileged programming, but there we stood. I of course was fully reacting to the undercurrents of racism that often permeates such places. I know it was probably a bit childish of me, but every now and then one feels the need to have ones humanity acknowledged. After a few uncomfortable moments she shifted left and I shifted right and we began to move forward. It was that moment that I think my assertion of belonging became to much for her and she called me an "idiot"and I called her an "ass". I continued to my health shop utopia and was greeted by a Rastafari goddess who soothed my tension with stories of vegan and raw food deserts.
So, I've just finished my morning run. Look at me sounding like it's something I do everyday. I'm trying to get it in at least three days out of the week no matter what. There's a goal I'm working towards which I won't reveal until I've achieved it. I'm learning to manifest in silence. Sometimes when I talk about something too much the forward energy behind it disperses. Well the run is done and now I'm preparing for my 2nd workshop with TX PRODUCTIONS in Tembisa. The company is comprised of approximately 12 young men who range from 18-23. I'm excited and nervous. It's the first full on workshop I've conducted since finishing graduate school. I guess I'm also super protective about the growth of WE ARE HERE. It's like having a child that's trying to grow up. I've sacrificed and invested so much into this project/movement. During our 1st meeting with this group one of the young men asked, why I'm doing this work? Why am I doing WE ARE HERE? It took me by surprise. Of course I didn't show it! But I was thrown for a moment. No one had ever asked me that before. I told him because I have to.... If not me who. I'm passionate about helping men and boys of find whatever internal and external tools they can to shape and guide their lives. its essential work to grow stronger and healthier communities....and world.
I guess I'm nervous because I want to do good. I want to create space for transformation to happen. I want to have fun. But most of all I want us to discover the gift of possibility together. There's the last born people pleaser in me. So in a little while I'll connect with my co-facilitators and WE ARE HERE Ambassadors, Abel Mokwevho and Simphiwe Makapela to embark on a magnificent journey. We journey into the unknown and share laughs, theatre, hearts and knowledge with our brothers. We will be both eager students and caring teachers, the exchange goes both ways. I'll keep you posted and thanks for indulging my angst riddled self.
(artist +activist) uses his/her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression—by any medium necessary