Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: May 2017

The Death of Thembisile Yende

Dear Thembisile, the news of the discovery of your body, in your office, ten days after you went missing, has spread like wildfire all over media. You were not discovered in your own office for ten days, even after police and sniffer dogs searched the premises. It was claimed you didn’t report for work, but there your body was, locked in your office. It was claimed that you didn’t report for work but your car was in the parking lot. The CCTV cameras picked up your arrival, but suddenly, were switched off immediately after that. These are the terrible, inexplicable, scandalous details of your death and how you were utterly failed, but they are nothing compared to how you were failed while you were alive.

Media will scratch out a story, and it has begun already, about how you were being bullied at work, how your body was found in a plastic bag, how your family went to find you, how Eskom have backtracked on the story, how they claimed you committed suicide.

The truth is that you were young and alive and happy and you were murdered. I cannot begin to imagine your last moments. I cannot begin to understand or manage the horror of what you went through. And we will never really know why. Another woman has been murdered and your story is only exceptional because of its strangeness. I am heartbroken for you, and the loss of you.

The Counting of Murdered Girl Children

How do you count 19 girl children murdered?

How do you imagine their broken bodies

folded under beds

left on the side of the road

Bled out

Strangled

Raped

And tossed?

Tiny bones broken

Hairs pulled out of heads

Milk teeth in blue mouths.

Hands that should have held these children

shook them, took them, bled them, debreathed them.

How do you count to 19?

19 would be the number of goodnight kisses

19 would be the number of times a best song was sung

19 would be the number of the safest house

19 would be a birthday.

19 is not the right number for murdered girl children in the Western Cape since January 2017

 

 

The deadly whine of inaction

Did I promise to write something every day? Did I commit this to myself? Here is the danger. I have been stopping myself from writing because my thoughts turn political and I keep trying to gauge the temperature in the room for my own political voice. I have become self conscious, and awkward, strung between what’s politically correct (I mean that quite earnestly), rebellious, reactionary, very white, indulgent, racist, offensive, privileged and passive aggressive. I haven’t felt like I have had this problem before and and I need help to traverse it.

But. Why should anyone help me with this? It is nonsense compared to what is really going on. People are busy with life or death scenarios. NGO’s doing amazing work have no money at all. People are victims of crime and injustice and poverty and genuine lack of any kind of delivery of anything. Even my industry of theatre is its own battleground of no resources, corruption, egos and patriarchy, with terrible feelings and hurts and rages and helplessness.

So I am a little paralysed and useless. And even as I say that I hear my own navel gazing bullshit. I want to be part of some radical change and yet I have no idea how to initiate it. I am desperate for someone to whisper it into my ear, but I am suspicious of the who, and will criticise the how.

And all this has silenced my voice of indignation, of outrage, of ideology. When I woke up this morning though I saw a very particular trap. This is the design of politics right now. This place of corruption and capture, of shenanigans, greed, total lack of consequence and blatant criminality can only happen when there is no genuine push back. To expect it from other political parties is useless and naive. To expect it from the poorest and most suffering is wrong. To expect somebody else to help me find the way to do it is a waste of time, and a privilege I cannot afford.

I don’t know what I am going to do yet, but I am going to start by finding my voice, and then calling shit out.

Telling the time by the passing of animals

When I met Big Friendly for the second date, Gally, my gorgeous white Taiwanese refugee dog, put her paw firmly on his bejeaned leg and chose him for her own. In time Big Friendly was claimed by Pablo, my ancient cat, who demanded that he pour fresh water into his bowl and take him to drink, and Bayla, the oldest Taiwanese refugee dog, and my first heart dog. When I fell in love with Big Friendly it was partly because of and through my animals.

When Bayla died I was in Grahamstown, and it was Big friendly who had to witness and manage her passing. With Gally we were both there. We are still scarred and raw from the death of Annie, Chassie’s sister and most unusual beloved cat, who was run over in the road outside our house on the one occasion she ventured over the wall. That was about seven years ago.

We know dog walkers from Gally and Bayla’s time, who too have different animals attached to them. Our Linus and Frieda, well known in the neighbourhood and on Facebum as our most beloved pups, will soon be five.

Our nephews’ lives are marked in animal time too, with those that were there when they were born, now gone or leaving, and new ones coming into their lives to mark their transition into puberty and teenage-dom.

Megan’s Head, this blog, is like the historical record of these things, and if that is the only reason to keep it going it is a good one. Frieda’s delicious face stares back at us whenever we open it up.

If you are an animal person you will know how to tell the time with the passing of animals.

Reimagining Meganshead

I hate the idea of this blog fizzling out, but lately I have been struggling to commit to writing the thoughts in my head out, and down.

I don’t know why the world has become a ‘less to write about place’ for me, especially since there is so much going on, and I have such strong opinions about everything. I guess it’s because I am irritated by the strong and contentious opinions I see around me, from people who, in general, know very little about the topic at hand. So much so, I have become suspicious of every Facebum status update, and I keep checking the hoax sites for proof that the latest crime warning scam, or water purity concern, or WhatsApp neighbourhood watch group freak out (did you read the one about plastic bags tied in trees FFS?) are all bullshit.

Somehow this tiny form of the bigger picture of fake news has left me a little fearful of my own voice in a ‘do I dare?’ kind of way. I feel safer amongst the words of others.

But, I miss writing here. I love the space I have created here. I love this particular sound of my own voice. So, bear with me. I am busy reimagining the space. I think it is about to become a creative space again, and I am going to start with the challenge of writing something, even if it is just a tiny poem or paragraph or single thought, every single day for a month. I might also go back to some video stuff. Funny stuff. See you soon.

Death of a Girl

I knew you by the way you parked your car

And the hot little flame of resentment I felt

When I saw your black bumper messily outside the line

Of the kerb

On a weekend night when parking in our small road was a squeeze.

I saw the flash of your blue hair some days

And heard you and your boyfriend

Talk loudly and slam car doors at 4 in the morning.

I peeped through the window and spoke firmly to myself

That next time I would go out and give you both

A piece of my mind.

But when we came round the corner on Saturday afternoon

with the dogs on the backseat after a short park walk

And the road was blocked by a police van and ambulance

and the fire truck was waiting, too big to come up, at the bottom

The last thing I thought of was you.

I didn’t know which room was yours

In the student digs right next door.

But the minute I heard you had hanged yourself

I could picture it.

And now I can’t get it out of my mind.

I can’t get you out of my mind.

I can’t even remember your face

but I see the live faces of those you left

And I hope we will all do better.

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