So I went to the Cleveland police station, where about 1000 refugees are camped. My little battered Honda Ballade snaking its way around the streets trying to find the place. Stopped to ask a petrol attendant who eyed my carload of oranges and sullenly pointed the way. I had stopped off at the Fruit & Veg city to get some produce on my way to the dentist this morning. The parking attendent had the look. Like he's not going to tell you where he's from. the non-south african look. Like, the kind of person who probably gets stopped in the street and asked to say "Coke" (northerners pronounce it "Coki") He had the really really fucken scared look is what he had. I spoke to him but he didn't utter a word. Is this my paranoia now, or normal South African edginess. Everyone is checking everyone skeef.
He helped me pile my little car full - potatoes onions tomatoes pumpkins butternuts and 6 pockets of oranges for garnish. Jerseys and coats in the boot. After I unloaded them at the Cleveland station campsite I felt like I had thrown a chicken wing to a pride of starving lions, but hey. Pangono pangono. My work trip to the mines has been cancelled so I will have a bit more time on my hands this week to get stuck in a bit.
It feels better to be getting lost in Cleveland and delivering vegetables than swamping through facebook group outrage. It feels better to be asked by a Zimbabwean called Norman in cope-mode, "I hope you are praying for us...", than sifting through the newspapers for some sense. I can't remember who made the comment now, but it jumped out at me from one article when they were first discussing the possibility of "third-force" instigation. Someone said, with authority, "this is not just innocent violence." in other words its organised, but doesn't that just say it all? I guess he means that the "innocent" violence is the everyday stuff - you know, the stuff handed out to women who wear too short skirts at taxi ranks. This is something else. This is not innocent. This violence has lost its virginity.
My dentist is a chatty woman who is on the phone to half her neighbourhood while she waits for your mouth to go numb. She says that her son and his mates had borrowed her car and went to get Steers burgers. On the highway at dusk a man lurched in front of them on the road - his face was mangled and his white shirt was blood-soaked. They got the Fear. But he was most likely trying to get help, freshly beaten, running. They did the right thing, she says, not to stop.
In all the chewable debate about whys and wherefores, the most sensible comment to my mind so far was from Elinor Sisulu who said we really need to look at the issue of self love. That rings true for me. There's a stink in the air at the moment, whether its the coconut debate or the foreigner debate or the what happened to ubuntu debate. All this resentment, stewing on hatred that has been slowly distilled as its come down the generations. Fanon's children, grasping for sense, for truth, turning it all outward. We need to educate, yes. We need to police, yes. We needed Mbeki's solemn speech, despite the red velvet throne he was sitting on. (did anyone else find that really weird?) But I guess we need to learn to love ourselves better. Whitney was right after all.
So, on that note.
I had this dream. Is it interesting to read people's dreams? I have spectacular, techni-colour, cinematic dreams. Its a fantastic gift that I have always been blessed with. It's interesting to dream my dreams.
This from yesterday:
It seems there's a poetry festival, or a hip-hop event. Stacy is in the know, dressed in enviable gear and confident, script in hand. I want to try out too. When I get there its like Idols for a Harry Potter talent show. An interesting looking collection of people. I do this leap, like over a high jump pole (yes, I remember this feeling from high school - the absolute need to get over that pole undersliced by the absolute knowledge that I won't. Coz everyone's looking.) But wow - I can. My leap has turned into an ascent, a climb, like I can tread the upward slope of the air. They (the panel of judges) ask me to go down and pick up a stick from the ground. I do it with ease. I'm amazed at the control I have, swooping down like that and rising up again like I was a quidditch champion. But as quickly as I am amazed, I am also losing the ability. Self-consiousness knocks it out of me.
Now it's the Competition's turn. She looks like Shane from the L-word. She does a heartbreaking gothic rendition of the dying swan - her arms behind her in a black lace sling. So beautiful - not flying but dying.
I have to do it again but I can't. Damn. I want to do it as a sheep. That's what I want. A small clumsy sheep who can't do it. She just can't fly. I develop a whole sheep routine - its funny, and poignant. I think I'll get some laughs. But the judges are not convinced. Oh look, the panel includes Juanita. And she says, but hang on, we saw your control over the high jump earlier - don't pretend you can't do it, you can. So I say, I'm a sheep that wants to be a cloud. I'd love to leap and fly but I'm just not quite there yet. But maybe, just maybe, at some point, I will be able to soar...