Wish I had an atlas with me. A big paper world atlas. One whose pages I could write on—latitudes and longitudes; countries left to visit on the African continent; degrees from here to there.
It is 9614 miles to Albuquerque from Johannesburg.
Crazy cawing flocks of birds are flying overhead. It’s spring, where are they coming from, going to? Are they crows?
I am still feeling discombobulated about being here. Thought it would change once I played tourist with family. But it hasn’t. Feels like Laura should be staying here. And Cathy just a street or so over at a place managed by our perfect hostess Ann. Where we could stop by to chat with some other Dance Umbrella aficionados. And I want to be looking forward to Gregory or Faustin or Hafiz or Neli or Desire or Boyzie or Panaibra or Vincent or more and new work and ideas. Okay okay I know this is just a passing moment. Over when I leave for Botswana. But just now…in Joburg…
Enough then with the sentimental…
Yesterday we were tourists, me revisiting places I’ve been one or more times, but also sites where it is good to go to be reminded of what happens in the world for worse and for better. My family for the first time. They are smart moral people willing to pay attention. For my grandchildren who will soon, with their cohorts, run the world it is supremely important to know these things.
Apartheid Museum, Mandela’s House, Hector Pieterson Memorial—all tributes to the struggle against apartheid. And a lengthy jaunt and lunch in Soweto. There is such pride in Soweto. It is quite inspiring actually to think of where it began and how, every year, there are more successes in claiming it as an authentic and important city, one to be reckoned with. I wonder when the first white families will move in—would that be the ultimate sign of the past being past or doesn’t it matter. According to our driver/guide who lives in Soweto that moment has not come although of course there are white spouses and partners of local residents.
We drove past the millionaires’ houses and the middle-class houses and only briefly by the shanties. Still there. Shrinking? Expanding? Most of the people we’ve talked to do not have good feelings about where things are going now. The owner of the company that our hotel works with as drivers and guides is not at all optimistic about where Malema is headed with this new party…Freedom something or the other. Isn’t it the case that so many of the crazies stick the word ‘freedom’ in the names and verbiage of their groupings? And it feels like there is just general bafflement about Zuma—I don’t know that of course, it’s just that people don’t seem to love OR hate him.
The family is off on a scenic bus tour of Johannesburg which I am skipping only because, in the course of four or five previous visits, it seems that I must have been to or by most parts of town. And I feel like being here in my sun-filled warm familiar room all alone for a few hours.
Thinking is hard for me to pursue with people around. Not sure what deep and profound things I must think about but maybe something will pop up!
Possibly I will be inspired to write a detailed report about lunch at Lucky Bean later on. A greeting to those of you who read this and wish you too were at a Lucky Bean lunch today.