Adventure Run Down One.Cape Town, Fall 2010
Well, I have been here for a little over a month. My perspective on things has been as dynamic as the cycles of nature; precipitating, collecting, raining, flowing, moving, morphing everything it touches and being morphed myself, in synchronicity.
Some conclusions: South Africa is a crazy place. One of my favorite words locals like to use to describe crazy mad intensely awesome times is ‘hectic.’ Everything is hectic here, but with the connotation of rocking out boundlessly. I like you see people walking around with bags of flour on their heads and people pushing shopping carts filled with wood on the highways and goats crossing the roads at the same time that you see skyscrapers and use the internet and watch current American movies and listen to electronic music with crazy pyrotechnics and light shows.
The way I’m going to structure this post is that I’m simply going to go through my written diary I’ve been keeping and pick out the gems worth mentioning.
Rocked out at the FIFA Fan Fest in Cape Town for the final match, went on a home stay in the Langa township, went on a tour of the Cape Peninsula and said oms on the mountain below the lighthouse and next to the ocean, started classes (Religion, Spirituality & Ecology, History of South Africa in the 20th Century, South African Political Thought, Environmental Management and Sustainable Development) went to a jazz show at UCT, enthusiastically supported the Western Cape rugby team at a game, saw a documentary at the local cinema called Mugabe & the White African (about Zimbabwe and all the madness going on there), joined the capoeira club, saw Inception, met the love of my life (my perfect match), saw a local comedy show, started volunteering with high school students in a township with a group called Inkanyezi, took a tour of Hout Bay, went back to Langa for lunch, explored Muizenberg, explored Kalk Bay, went to the Old Biscuit Mill Market, experienced National Women’s Day by getting a free surf lesson in the Indian Ocean, going to a flea market and discovering some cool local spots, gave blood, played soccer, joined the yoga club, started hanging out with local kids, found my favorite trance dance spot, saw Sir Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot, saw some live reggae, got a bicycle, met some great and serious cyclists, saw the Pitch Hikers at a trance party, went to Robben Island (466/64!), explored Camp’s Bay, became familiar with Obz, saw some suburbs, had an amazing time at Mzoli’s in the Guguletu township, received a Xhosa name (Nomatemba), discovered live music at Alma Café, some funky slap bass at Tagore’s, went to Lladondo, made some important connections, met some beautiful and stupendous friends and haven’t done the same thing twice.
For the first time in my life I can embrace what it means to be proud to be an American. I’m not generally an America-hater, but I do recognize the recklessness and greediness that have characterized the west’s treatment of the world. Still, though, now that I’m here, I can see that America has also given the world a lot of great culture that happens to be universally loved. There is so much diversity of culture here that I can’t help but think that it’s all just beautiful. One of the nicest moments was when I asked one person if he was of English descent and he shook his head and smiled and said, “We are all South Africans.” Very impressive.
So, I’ve done a lot. From here on out I think I will be writing more pointed essays etc. on how I’m finding things. Plus, pictures to follow tomorrow. (I must use the school computers, I’m already so low on internet!)
Here’s the sonnet I wrote while on home stay:
O afrika, god bless your people’s land.
from heart to limb, effuse your spirit now.
to you we owe the long lives we have spanned;
for history, it’s you who takes the bow.
One Sunlight hovers in a golden glow,
One Love dwells lively in the whole of space.
combined, the earthly being starts to grow,
revealing self and other, time and place.
in Afrika, diversity is real;
(it takes two turns to catch up with your eyes)
the Voices are what make your insides feel
the harmony beneath all else which lies.
Sing, Afrika, Sing and you will be heard –
The People need the truth that’s in your word
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