Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: complaints dept (Page 1 of 21)

This Racist Place

Calling Tumi Morake a racist is not just wrong, it is idiotic. It also smacks of the worst kind of arrogance and entitlement that certain white people are audacious enough to lay claim to. Honestly, Radio Jacaranda could do no better than clearing out their listenership, making them more representative. And who gives a fuck what those white, disgruntled racists listen to anyway?

I am disgusted that white people still take offence when POC try and unpack the hell on earth that was Apartheid, with no clue about how their pathetic mediocre selves have been advantaged into a whole category of entitlement just because of their skin colour.

I get hysterical when white people whitesplain their hurt feelings with not a single thought for the noise they are making at the wrong time and wrong place.

I get fucking furious when I accidentally read the comments and realise that most white people in South Africa are on a par with Donald Trump and his alt right nazi supporters.

Enough. Absolutely fucking enough. Stop them. Don’t give them space, airtime, breath. Enough.

Micro Street Wars

With the level of gang violence and murder in Ocean View, Kensington, and Lentegeur at the moment, I am struck by how differently I live. So close and yet totally removed. It is 7am and our front door is open to the street. I am lying in bed hearing people go to work, cats chasing each other on the roof across the road, and cars coming into town on Nelson Mandela Boulevard. Pigeons, seagulls, Egyptian geese and Hadedas all compete to be the loudest and rudest. Soon the construction workers, building the ugly little development on what was an empty plot/dumping ground in our street, will arrive. It has been amazing watching three double storey semis go up so fast. It has also been a joy to listen to this small building crew. They seem to laugh all the time.

But yesterday I was in a micro war. Remember the old man across the road who got his council friends to paint yellow lines in the road outside our house? And then a year later and a front page splash on The Daily Voice helped to get it removed. I haven’t spoken an actual word to him since. Well, Mr Hartley, that old man, was shouting yesterday when I came home in the afternoon. Someone had parked an enormous 4×4 in front of his driveway.

I have been sick, so I came straight inside, but was aware of his growing hysteria for almost an hour. I couldn’t stand it anymore and decided to go and see if I could help. Two houses down from his house, a house has just been sold. It is a beautiful renovation; the trendy grey signposting it as exactly that. As I stood in the road wondering whose gold 4×4 it was I saw three people on the stoep of the sold house and I charged over. “Is that your car?” I shouted. “If you mean the 4×4 then yes, it is mine,” said the tiniest little woman. At which point I exploded, demanding that she not park in front of someone’s driveway. The man, the estate agent, decided to come to her defence, and told me that since she had apologised I should back off. Bad idea. Once she had moved her monster I shouted at her about our street, and how we look out for each other, and white privilege and respect. Her reply was that she had been chatting and didn’t notice that it was a driveway when she parked. My brain started hurting. How do you not notice a driveway? How do you not notice the growing hysterical shouts of an old man in the street? For an hour? I will tell you how. His driveway and his shouts were entirely invisible to this woman, because she doesn’t give a fuck. Not one single fuck.

I shouted “Excuse me!” to the estate agent man who was trying to sneak away. It took three times for him to hear me and stop. “Who are you talking to like that?” I demanded. He went straight into defence mode. “Don’t tell me to come to you!” “Are you mad? I came to you!” “I felt sorry for her,” he whined, “she apologised! What else do you want? Do you also want an apology?” “Yes.” “Ok, sorry then.” He scuttled away and climbed into his shitty little two door and sped off.

Suddenly Hartley and I are allies again. He thanked me as I stormed back into the house. Through the open door I could hear him. “Thank you mam. Thank you.” Until our cat is in his yard.

Statues

Big Friendly’s best joke ever is about the Greek man who, through hard work and sweat becomes very wealthy and builds his mom a mansion. He asks her if there is anything she wants and she replies “statues”. He spares not an inch of space and covers the outside with concrete statues, the inside with marble statues, and even the carpark with iron horses. Then he asks her what she thinks and she says, “it’s lovely but where’s my statues?” He is confused and waves his hand the length and breadth of the landscape. She says, “no, man”, putting her thumb to her ear, and pinky to her mouth, “I want is-tat-you?”

As a kid I remember being bored out of my mind by statues. They were always a dull grey colour and the eyes were always terrible, blank and scary. Horses looked wrong, and the men (I don’t remember seeing any women) gave off a sense of power over things that irritated the natural rebel in me. As I got older I found the aesthetic of statues dull. They were the water colour still lives of the sculpture world.

But it was the years and years of attending the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and seeing the 1820 Settlers Family sculpture protruding from the aloes, and decorating the dust alongside that huge 1820 Settler Monument (that apparently celebrates the arrival of English to the area – the irony) that alerted me to the singularity of history that monuments like statues portray. Here, an intrepid British family look out at the land they are about to make their home. They are just off the ship, in their British best. He, in huge top hat, holds books, while the girl child looks up adoringly at mother and father. What a gorgeous family.

And the message was (and still is) that they were coming to where nobody was. All the people that were actually there, in that place, were (and still are) invisible. As if they didn’t exist. They did not count as humans; as people.

Now imagine being a Xhosa person from exactly that place. Imagine seeing this distortion of history every single day of your life. Imagine looking at that representation of a family who stole the place of your family, your ancestors, your birthright. And, for one moment, imagine how that person would feel when you defend the right of that statue to be there, above the right of the one that isn’t there.

Here’s the deal. As far as I am concerned, there is only one way to keep statues that offend, tell half histories, and hurt, and that is to build, right next to them, the other side, the alternative vision, the silent voice. That is not going to happen. So, let’s tear them down.

Room with a View

I was away for the weekend, on a beautiful, celebratory trip for a friend’s 50th. We were in the Drakensberg, at a spot I have never been to before. It was also a group of 11 women, which is something I have never done before, and it was magnificent.

One of the most special parts of the space/place was the view from my bed out through huge windows over a special part of the dam. I saw the sun set behind the hills, and I woke to the morning star reflected in the water. I saw the pink sunrise turn orange and then pale yellow as Crowned Cranes fought with Plovers for the island. I heard and saw the massive Spurwing Goose, swim, dive and even take flight, and I watched the zebra from my front door. I had a live-and-let-live agreement with the family of rock pigeons sharing my balcony and even stopped frightening the two stodgy adolescents of the group. And I saw the elusive and much spoken about but hardly seen otter, twice. It was a room with a view. A whole new world for me.

When I came home late last night Big Friendly caught me up with what had happened while I was away, and one of the things we chatted about was that he had seen my brother, who was visiting Cape Town while I was away. He mentioned how my brother had said that if he hadn’t heard, from us, that there was a serious drought in Cape Town he would never have known. And when Big Friendly’s sister was here for a few weeks, she saw no sign of water awareness at her Waterfront hotel either. And this is really problematic for me. It means that visitors to our city have no idea of the extent of the problem, and are not prompted to do anything about it. It’s true. There is nothing about the drought at the airport, or in hotel literature, or in public bathrooms. There is nothing about it in the B&B’s and they are not telling their guests. We can do better Cape Town. We have to.

Advertising makes me cringe

Is it just me? I can’t watch, or listen to adverts without cringing. Because BigFriendly and I cancelled DSTV and we don’t have an aerial so we can’t see anything by SCAB or Etv, I mainly hear ads on the radio, or on the odd occasion that I watch live sport.

I cringe at the copy of ads. Who writes this utter garbage? Especially the below the line budget ones. Especially the ones ‘spoken’ by the company owner *coughHirschesappliances. There are the completely unbelievable scenarios of weird people demanding product to save the day *coughMantellisgoddamnedbiscuits and the equally hideous shlockfest of mum/dad and kid all innocent and then the car accident done in sound! for a funeral policy or some other insurance thing.

Then there are the fake French/American/kugel/coloured/Afrikaans accents that make me want to die, and characters that often have nothing to do with the product at all, like that weird Afrikaans intellectually challenged man who doesn’t know what a Vape is ffs.

But by far my worst ads are the ones that assume they understand the market, and sell ‘affordable’ retirement homes, in estates that can only be afforded by the top 0.02% of South Africans, and whose tone implies that this is everyone, and all people should be making sure they can do this. They make me so embarrassed. As do ‘affordable’ car ads for R700 000, or those overseas holidays we all deserve. And this on Cape Talk Radio or 702.

There are the black Africa voices that sell wild, untamed nature to rich white people, the camp Netlorist guy who embarrasses me every single time he promises that flowers or chocolates are stylish, and fashion forward and can fix anything. There are the celebrity ad voices, like Nik Rabinowitz selling insurance and making us all paranoid about our future, and there are those ‘half ads’ read by the talk show hosts than aren’t even complete sentences, written for reading. And you can hear John Maytham tearing his hair out every time he has to read about tiles, or affordable Jaguar cars, or sales at a hardware store.

I have lost my thick skin for ads. Lies. Sies.

 

A last word on the ‘comments’

One of the niggling things that has been bouncing around in my mind is a picture of  the kind of white South African who has tons of opinion about the how and why of protest.

In the comments there is the voice of outrage about how these people burn stuff, and destroy stuff, as if they should somehow know better. In the comments, people judge from a position of superiority, as if the commentator is somehow above this savagery. Their tone is, if only these people were more civilised in their protest we would have more sympathy for them, but, how can they expect our sympathy if they burn/stone/destroy what little they have?

If I were to visualise this person I would see this man that I once saw at the Gardens Centre. He was shouting at the man who was putting change into the parking ticket machine. This first man was in his late forties, and he was fat, with his boep hanging over his belt. He had food stains on his shirt, and crumbs on the wiggling hairs of his moustache. His voice was whiny and breathy. His car keys jostled in his hand and his overflowing bags of Woolies groceries lay at his feet. He was terribly inconvenienced, this man, who wasn’t able to use this particular machine at this particular time to pay for his parking. And he was bullying a man who would never, in all his whole life own a car, let alone park one, or drive one. This man, who was shouting felt entirely superior and worth more.

As I turned away in disgust I thought about how deeply unjust this country was, that allowed this man, in all his mediocre failing, to be more than, worth more than anyone of colour. All he was was born into it. He hadn’t earned a single fragment of the privilege he tossed about. He hadn’t even made good on his huge and outrageous starting advantage. He was a giant blob who in any other circumstance would have swept the car park, or moved the trolleys. And yet here he was, and he was an alarm bell, a flashing neon light, an advert for how even the most miserable and mediocre among us are better off than the black majority who won’t be let out of the starting blocks.

So when that ‘civilised’ voice makes its ugly appearance in the comments section, I see that man. And I imagine the protesters seeing that man drive past them, or watch from his balcony. And, to be honest, it makes even me want to go and burn shit.

 

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