OUR City of Tshwane’ Honorable Mayor Kgosientso Ramogkopa together with his entourage responsible for Finance, Policing, Health Care and Human Settlement were featured on Power FM’s Power Perspective hosted by Onkgopotse JJ Tabane on the evening of 25 April around 22:00. Although the round table was an opportunity for the listeners to hear reflections on our leaders successes and challenges that they have faced whilst carrying our their mandate of moving our city forward as per their portfolios, I waited in bated breath to hear about the fate of the city’s employees who face being homeless by 30 June 2016. There was no mention of this issue in the lively conversation that ensued as listeners called in to comment or twittered on the various issues tackled through the live ‘round table discussion’. As an employee of the City of Tshwane and directly affected by the selling of its properties I wondered how my other colleagues who occupy houses and flats of this beautiful city felt at the end of the discussion as they wrestled for sleep∇
In the land of the Bunched Hunched up people
Ï watched my smartphone fall a short distance from the study table one evening during its charging ritual. A few seconds before, wanting to check messages, I’d sort of pulled it by the charging cord and, as the law of gravity would have it, its weight pulled it off the connecting point. It ceremoniously met with the ceramic tiled floor and the Lumia 800 hurdled towards permanent lights out. Heartbroken and instantly sore to the core from the thud sound I heard when the phone hit the floor I expected the worst damage as I picked it up. I could make out a few things on the screen for the screen was damaged but surprisingly not cracked… but the main buttons of Home, Confirm and Return were not responsive to my frantic fingerings. Something more in this harsh ordeal was that I could swear the screen was dying out for a dark purplish lava lamp like goo moved in slomo to blot out the screen. Bought for novelty’s sake than to fit in with the populace, this was a phone whose battery was non-removable; it possessed only two slots, one for charging and the other for the micro-sim. And now jammed into its spacious memory were important keys to my daily activities by way of a calendar, social media networking platforms, private documents, photos of where I have been or what interest me as well as an extensive address book of my contacts. A sad thought loomed in the background of this specter, I was being blurred out towards an erasure as the dark lava spread throughout the screen signaling the death of the device.
*a person who journeys to a holy place for religious reasons
IF there is anything that I find fascinating in this world next to writing is the insistence of religion, in any form upon our attention. Bluntly speaking, like writing, religion can manipulate thoughts of those who give it their attention. Religion like writing can be responsible to build within those committed to it ideals that are positive with the underlying motive of developing the broader aspect of the society within which it is rooted. Inversely it can be destructive to the minds of its devotees if its message is destructive and meant to hurt. All religions that I have come into contact with, never mind the platform of life’s inevitabilities unto which they were conveyed to me, preach peace and love (and cunningly covertly, when the adherent goes deeper, – they also teach prosperity; which is a conundrum, for me, when it is tied with money). Flawed are religions when they drunkenly proclaim to be more supreme, holy and gallant than ‘other’ religions that exist alongside them. But why do we need religion? I suppose because deep within our self there is this undeniable yearn to belong somewhere besides our family structures, added to this there are certain aspects of our lives that remain uncontrollable and unexplainable and we find solace in ‘religion’; for religion allay fears about the unexplained. Even one who has experienced apostasy can come to appreciate the power of religion as a hearth that rally the distraught towards a communal affinity of some sort. Religion is a sideshow if it does not epitomize the aspirations of a people its wants to attract, if it suffers this anomaly it remains outside of their experience of reality. Unfortunately we live at a time whereby religion has been commoditized.
*not known or familiar.*an unknown person or thing.
IN a world where it is easy to make new friends without meeting people in person, where business cards, at the brink of their extinction, are given out for their novelty’s sake to people who may never call you; In a world where the mobile phone has grown smarter from its former self wherein during its evolutionary journey to where it is today it had been used as a prop of multifarious progress, of which one of those uses was as a mirror, then quite recently evolving into a device capable of not only immortalizing its owner through a selfie situation quirky of indulgence but also to be a buffet sandwich of personal prime intel (psst, titbit – we ought to be jovial that there are undeniable signs that size-wise the device, having undergone loss of buttons, is taking a cul-de-sac to pay homage to its hefty ancestor). Now in this intricate plot of un-calculated fortunes – there lurks a dark force between people who know each other and perfect strangers, an in-between world, a world of the chippers blessed with the power to annoy all and sundry. Out of this quagmire rises persistent people whose main goal is to walk into our world and offer, without an invitation, an all out assault of stuff you don’t want.
I am writing this shortly before I turn 38. Let me give it to you in a straight line, I never feel any different on my birthday. But naturally like any other person I do reflect on the preceding year with some sweetness and bitterness. Besides, due to the fact that I am not a hermit there will be reminders in the morning that I am not alone in this journey we call life as close friends, family and colleagues heap happy birthday and a good year ahead wishes to me.
ARE we not like peacocks, naturally showy? The instant we become aware that people are keenly interested in us we hold the last card which we can choose to play or not play in the game of keeping up appearances in the coliseum of social affinities. At the outset we can reveal our true self as it is which is cost effective; this is playing the card, or we can play a bluff and pretend to be who we are not but later on reveal to those around us that we were pretending all along, that we wanted to see their reaction to our pseudo self or worse still, we can continue to pretend until kingdom comes. The latter scenario needs sustenance and gumption. Trouble is the truth always comes out. A card played is a card known.
Have you ever thought about what this word means against the backdrop of losing something dear to you or a loved one? The two, obviously, are not one and the same. If it is a material thing that you have lost chances are it can be replaced. Better still you can upgrade the ‘it’ to an even a newer version or a better ‘thing’. But for the mere fact that it is a thing it will always be obliterated by time even if you have fond memories of ‘it’. A day will come where someone will give you a hint that time is running out – you must get rid of that thing and get a newer version, both to fit in and to move with the times.
I sat on a bench in a park. A park I had no idea what its name was. I had walked around like an ant in an empty match stick box, boxed and trying to figure out how things had become dull and dark all of a sudden. Thinking about this metaphor as I looked at my empty palm up jittering hands a boyhood memory of an ant I once trapped in a match box flashed across the dark recess of my dull witted mind. Something burned in my heart, perhaps it was hope. Hope that I will spin myths again. Truth be told I was scared of sitting on my desk and looking at the blank pseudo white page of my computer trying to pen the next work. It has been fruitless months. I could not even bring myself to spin a haiku, blessed the Japanese’s inventiveness of contracting a potent saying in seventeen syllables. But this too has amount to nothing. I wondered whether this blockage of my wits had anything to do with my last stance on the cultural artifact we call art. That art, for it to be understood the society within which it is produced must be prepared to critique it, through pure viewing, through a dual critique – or viewing if you let me have that.