Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

The Whiteness of Being

I don’t even know how to write this. I am going to piss off many who will say, “So what?” I am going to be the critical voice, the moaner, the killjoy, the maker of the mountain that shouldn’t even be a molehill. And still.

This afternoon two friends and I went to the Christ Church in Constantia for one of their monthly music concerts. They’re even called The Christ Church Concerts. I have never been before, but I am on the mailing list, and this one I really wanted to go to.¬†Franz Liszt performed by Christopher Duigan. I have loved Liszt since I was a child, influenced by my father, who would play the rhapsodies loudly on our record player and I would dance.

Before I say anything else, I must say how lovely and beautiful and familiar and fun and delicious the music and the pianist were. Christopher Duigan is cute and charming and humble, and then he plays his heart out and his fingers fly. I loved it. And, that should be the point. Of course it should.

But something started niggling and I couldn’t let it go. My maths is shit, but I estimated that there were at least 350 of us there, in the lovely church. Tickets were an affordable R100. But there was not one, single person of colour amongst us. Not one.

What planet was I on? How was this possible? How could it be that I was in a crowd that size and there were only white people in the room? How was it possible that for all these people this was absolutely, totally normal? Whites only.

This is possible in Cape Town. No, this is accepted as normal in Cape Town. And it shook me to the core.

When we got up to leave we were some of the last; a recently divorced and well oiled lady was telling us more of her story. Then I noticed a team of coloured and black men enter the church. They had come to stack and move the chairs.

Megan to Cape Town. We have a problem.

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6 Comments

  1. Barbara Fans Ferguson

    I don’t know what to say. It is a shame. The rhetoric here under Trump is disturbing. He is blowing outof proportion the fact that land is being repatriated.

    We are at a point where brown skinned people who are citizens are having their birth certificate’s challenge and they are denying entrance nto the U S.

    Megan I am glad you are such a wonderful voice for all things good and bad. I regret not growing up with you.

  2. Thank you for letting us know what it is like there. And for those who don’t know, Barbara is family.

  3. My latest mantra on this one is in a country where white people make up less than nine percent of the population a gathering of that proportion feels less like a meeting and more like a secret society.

    All white spaces all white shmaces. Enough already.
    Off with all of our heads.

    Thanks for writing this.

  4. Carol Bertram

    Megan, i go to many of Chris Duigan’s concerts in Pmb which are always wonderful. The audience is the same. Mostly old and white! The Midlands Literary Festival this weekend was similar, with a little bit more diversity. Is it because only white, older people read and listen to classical music? I don’t know how we change this…

  5. I thinkit is a dangerous and problematic notion that black people do not listen to, love and attend classical music events. Even the smattering of middle class black people at the City Hall for CPO events is testimony to that. No. We are divided.

  6. I think it is a dangerous and problematic notion that black people do not listen to, love and attend classical music events. Even the smattering of middle class black people at the City Hall for CPO events is testimony to that. No. We are divided.

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