Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: November 2014

Kirstenbosch and The Soil

So, yesterday we celebrated our industrial theatre project’s wrap party at Kirstenbosch, watching The Soil. It was utterly fabulous, and the best way to hang out and enjoy the place, the music, each other and a whole new crowd of Capetonians. (Ntombi you were deeply missed, by the way).

I love The Soil. They are super talented, charming, sexy, hip, honest, funky, sassy and humble, and their music is pure genius.

But the true eye opener for me was how for many in the crowd this was their first time ever at Kirstenbosch. In my own group of 5 I was the only one who had ever been before. 4 gorgeous, professional, young people living in Cape Town who had never been to Kirstenbosch before. I know for sure that there were many others in the huge, predominantly black audience who were celebrating there for the first time ever.

This notion is bittersweet. Yay and kudos to The Soil for bringing this crowd there. It felt like a teeny floodgate had been opened. And, because I am going to be called on it I am going to over explain. I am not suggesting that black people don’t go to Kirstenbosch. I am reminded about how many black people have never been. And of course, this confirms again how the city is divided, both along racial and class lines.

This particular story has a happy ending, thanks to the new fans Kirstenbosch made, because of The Soil. (And only now do I laugh out loud! Kirstenbosch. The Soil. Bwahahahahaha!)

Racist Cape Town

I take every racist attack that happens in Cape Town so completely personally. I am white. I live in Cape Town. I am filled with equal parts of shame, embarrassment and disbelief every time a racist thing happens. And lately there have been many, really ugly ones.

I get horrified every time huge amounts of city money gets spent on something so clearly whitely focused, like the new ‘art’ that is being erected while police stations get closed down, or the bullshit Cape Town Fringe non-event, or the fucking pretentious ‘design capital 2014’, or the inaccessible and expensive tourist attractions that put the city on the map. Meanwhile clinics have no doctors and people still use portable toilets. Meanwhile most Capetonians have never been up Table Mountain, to Kirstenbosch, or on a wine route tour.

Yesterday a clearly mad, angry black man tried to run at my car, outside Penny Pinchers, while I was driving home. Once I got over the shock and fear, and pulled away, I tried to imagine his blind, white rage. How was he to know, this white person in her car, gave a shit? He certainly doesn’t experience the world that way. And I got embarrassed and shamed all over again.

This is not to say racism doesn’t live and breathe elsewhere. Of course it does, it’s just that it seems to be so comfortable and growing fat in Cape Town. And it means that it becomes harder and harder to defend, as a place to live. And it comes from places right under my nose.

Imagine my horror when I realised I actually knew the mother of someone on trial for one of these hideous incidents. She is an amazing, peace loving, forward thinking human being. You never can tell. There are racists among us.

It is with further deep shame that I acknowledge that one of my dogs is racist. Ok, he is sexist too, and doesn’t like men, but he definitely has a different response to black people. I don’t know why, or where it comes from.

This racist stuff is particularly stinky. It permeates. It is slimy and sneaky, creeping into unguarded homes, a friend of fear, an ally of ignorance, an advocate of privilege. I have to stop myself every time I get defensive of Cape Town, and want to run out the door and shout, “no, there are a lot of cool, white people, like me and my friends.”, because, let’s face it, who will believe me? And, honestly, why should they?

Confessions of a Childless delighter

I love my nieces and nephews. A lot. Even a little crazily. I love my godson deeply and loyally. I love my friends’ children passionately and with total commitment. But every now and then I have that deep and bubbly feeling of joy at being childless.

It is exam time at my friends’ houses. They are studying maths and biology, and spelling and science. Children are pale and panicked and angry and quiet. At my nephew’s house he gets ready for his exams and he is only 10. At my brother’s house the quiet conversations are attached to the guilt of not having registered a 10 month old in school yet. At another friend the babies are at school and naughty. Some friends have kids in matric (yes, yes, I know it’s not called that anymore), and the parents and kids are hollow eyed and crazed.

There are kids who need to learn to swim, and kids who need extra lessons. Kids who love drama and hate everything else. Kids who refuse to put on clothes, or take them off. There are kids who are being bullied and kids who are being ignored. Kids who don’t reach their potential and kids who just haven’t got any.

Right now I can hear Dylan from up the road shouting at his brother. Yesterday he was sick. I think it was nerves. Today he sounds fine. It is a loud and shrieking street game, post bath, where he and his brother and cousin are in pj’s and gowns. But soon he will go inside, to his mother and father, and granny. And I will forget about him entirely as I go about my stuff. I love it when he pops in to visit. I love going up country to see my family of little people. But I am so glad I don’t have them in my home.

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