Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: complaints dept (Page 1 of 24)

Open Letter to City of Cape Town regarding Cissie Gool House

This is an open letter to the City of Cape Town, mayor Dan Plato, the DA run municipal government of Cape Town, the ward councillors and developers with any agency around who gets to live where, when and how.

I live two blocks away from Cissie Gool House. I walk past every day when I walk the dogs. I know people who live there. What an amazing and almost miraculous thing has happened there over the last four years. A community of sidelined, separated, unseen, and needy people have done the unthinkable, in a building abandoned and left to decay. Children play. Washing hangs from makeshift lines. A veggie garden has sprung up.

I am not naive. I live in Woodstock. Petty crime, drugs, theft and even gangsterism are part of this neighbourhood. It always has been like that. Neighbours two houses up were bust for having a dagga farm behind closed doors. The police are ‘invited’ to my street on many weekend nights when the students’ parties get out of hand. We look out for each other. We know each other. We wave. Mostly. Those behind new high walls, not so much.

I know that people in streets close to Cissie Gool House have complained about noise, parties, fighting, drugs. Like me. It’s normal.

Law enforcement have been gathering for daily meetings at the park across the road from the main entrance to Cissie Gool. They are a ‘show of force’ and it is unsettling and nasty. I know that they are getting ready to evict the occupants. It is coming, I just don’t know when.

And every day my fantasy is exactly the same. Imagine if, instead of the bullying, violent evictions that will leave the building abandoned again, while those who represent the city pretend to be ham strung in the area of providing social and low cost housing in the city and close surrounds, the city sat down with the occupants and said, how can we make this a viable reality? How can we help you? Imagine. Imagine how much less the city would have to spend. Imagine how much less policed this would have to be. Imagine. Imagine people in the area bringing their children to Cissie Gool aftercare. Imagine people going to pick veg, or plant veg. Imagine going to the party instead of complaining about it. Imagine. Imagine spending the littlest amount possible to make Cissie Gool House an official low cost housing option, with those who already occupy it being part of the decision making process. Imagine. Imagine people living legally, close to where they work. Imagine people not having to leave their neighbourhood, after many were forced out of previous accommodation because of rampant gentrification and price hikes. Imagine solid community engagement. Imagine a solution instead of a fight. Imagine metro law enforcement sitting inside the fence. Protecting not harassing. Imagine something like District 6, but not being torn down. Imagine. This is our chance to do it differently.

I implore you ‘stakeholders’ to embrace, engage, discuss, be solutions driven. That is what I want from elected officials. Work for me. Work for us.

Woodstock resident

Megan Choritz

The Proper Death of SA Theatre

Last February, before we knew what was going to happen with COVID, I had a conversation with a theatre owner and friend about how I felt like my heart had twice been broken; one by my personal circumstances and one by theatre. I felt like I had suffered a theatre breakup and it had been devastating, messy, and deeply painful. I struggled to articulate it at the time, but what the breakup was about was me losing faith in my ability to carry on regardless. You need a seriously thick skin to do theatre. And my skin had ruptured.

Then COVID came and nailed closed the coffin for all theatre makers. While the restaurant and tourist industries were spoken about and bemoaned, the theatre makers, stage managers, theatres, directors, FOH teams were in their own tiny circle of hell and I couldn’t ever really figure out why theatre got so little attention.

The NAC and the department of Arse and Culture did, and continue to do, what they usually do. Mess up. Theatres that were dark have now closed permanently. The closing of The Fugard was announced earlier this week, with much sadness, and even anger. But who is fighting for theatre, and begging for it, and needing it, and wanting its resurrection?

I think it is only the theatre makers who want it to come back. And here sits the uncomfortable, hideous, miserable truth on a pointy rock that is its own hard place. Unless theatre goers; uninvolved, unconnected, true audiences passionately want, longingly yearn for, and are even prepared to lobby, fight and beg for the return of theatre, it really cannot, and won’t return from the dead.

Alcohol, yes. Cigarettes, yes. Restaurants and bars, yes. Theatre? Naah. Not so much.

Unfortunately, the desperation and totally illogical passion of theatre makers has obscured the most basic and obvious reality. The person in the street couldn’t give two Hamlets and half a farce for theatre.

In a weird way I am pleased my breakup with theatre happened a year ago, and I have been able to lick my wounds in the privacy of my own home. I will make theatre on demand, or not at all, from now on. And only if there is an audience who really wants it.

The Split

Yesterday, on my way back from an indefinitely shut SARS office I witnessed a line of people, going around the block, to the SASSA building. These people expressed in physical sloping, the unlikeliness of success. I saw a line of desperation. A line of hunger. A line of no future, just a bleak and terrifying present.

And while I was looking at this line I was listening to an economist on the radio talking about how the COVID pandemic was highlighting the importance of life insurance, and how we all need to be frightened into making the right investments. This white, educated, articulate man was talking as if the country was made up of people like him. Only people like him. Life insurance? There was no hint of irony in this man’s perspective. There was no vague nod to the fact that he was talking for and to the 1%. He spoke with the authority of pure blindness to the reality of our country and its suffering majority. And it was terrifying. Because in that moment I saw that hunger trumps decency, that crime is a desperate act, and that life can be not worth having. This is wrong. This is fundamentally, hideously wrong. This conversation should not be had on public radio at the same time that desperate people are queuing for R350 that they have already been told is not there for them.

We have to shift. We have to move. We have to transition. It is far too late. There is no more time. Life insurance? No. We need a new plan for the poor, the desperate, the unseen. And we need those who talk about life insurance to keep quiet for 5 minutes and listen.

Camps Bay Occupation

This is a one thought post. And, it is pretty much all in the name. Camps Bay. Everyone has weighed in with an opinion about the occupation of a luxury home in Camps Bay under false pretences, and most of that opinion is that these violators have broken the law, and been irresponsible, and are going to affect the tourism industry; all of which is actually true. What nobody is saying is that the obscene wealth and the flashing of it in areas like Camps Bay are an endless kick in the face to the poor and disenfranchised. End of.

Conspiracy

As a storyteller, an improvisor who revels in the world of make believe, an avid reader of fiction, a lover of sci-fi and speculative genres, I find myself drawn in to the ‘possibility’ of things in a ‘what if’ way. I have been caught off guard more than once by fake news, but on the whole I have been able to sniff it out with a hearty dose of cynicism and the basic tools of google fact checking. But the interwebz is a proper breeding ground for all sorts of tech viruses and people are either susceptible or desperate or a mixture of both. Not that I blame us. In our search for meaning beyond the random and terrifying, there is the dreadful paranoia that we are totally helpless and things are truly beyond our control.

Enter the conspiracy theories. Sometimes they may start off small; a theory may gather a few facts and half facts before picking up the front or back end of a wacky idea and before you know it it is a known truth that Chinese villagers have been mind controlled and have been swallowing bleach. Sometimes they just go huge;  there is no actual virus and governments have aligned and are killing off a percentage of the population (I wrote this before I watched the video below).

Sometimes these conspiracy theories leave the lips of politicians like Trump and his Republican potato heads and are dismissed by anyone with half a brain, because they know that Trump and his Trumpets literally cannot tell the difference between truth, data and facts and lies that they actually make up themselves! 

Sometimes a friend will say something as a Facebook status update and it will travel the pathways of gossip, find its way into a meme, get itself an official logo from the University of Blahblahblishblah, and then it is suddenly a ‘real and verified’ warning that needs to be shared by all WhatsApp groups forever.

Many of the conspiracy theories around COVID19, particularly the origin of it, carry dire warnings about the who, what where and how. And then there is this.

I was sent this today and I laughed out loud, read up about the guy, scoffed, went back and started watching. And got totally sucked in. Sucked in.

Now it is an hour later and my brain hurts. What do you think guys? I need help of the highest order.

 

Why I can’t watch theatre online

This is just me here. This is not a philosophy, or an instruction, or criticism. It is me. I don’t want to watch theatre online. I make exceptions for National Theatre Live productions because they are filmed brilliantly, even during live performances in front of an audience, and also, I will never get to see these productions live.

But if I can choose to watch stuff I am going to choose things that are made for screen. And there is so much to choose from. Series, films, doccies, music, animation, to name a few. And there is so much out there, by so many brilliant and even famous people.

I don’t enjoy watching recordings of live theatrical performances. They make me sad, and frustrated, and empty. They don’t do the performers and writers and directors and lighting designers any justice.

So I am going to wait until I can go back into a live theatre space. And then I am going to go back with a vengeance.

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