"tippy is best served busy"
…quote James van der Walt, who just launched his South African solar energy project “Solar Turtle.” Seriously. How cool are my friends? (By the way, if you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved, I can hook you up.)
I drink my coffee these days with rusks & milk-tarts, and occasionally koeksisters, while looking out at this ocean view:
…to the calls of hadedas, birds that are aptly named after the most ridiculous call I have ever heard.
Black Lives Matter—
South Africa is abuzz with political ferver…I watched the State of the Nation address, which is nothing at all like the USA version, State of the Union...I urge anyone who is interested to watch the whole thing, because it is insane. Party members talking over each other, breaking clear rules, getting thrown out of the room…but if you want just a taste, here is what I think was one of the defining moments. (Shoutout to Shaz Strauss for the link to the video.)
"I leave you with the words of Dante, who said, and I quote—that the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who retain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. Shame on you."
But more than anything, I’ve noticed that the only thing my South African friends want to talk about more than South African politics are American politics. With all of the Zuma Must Fall & Rhodes Must Fall & Fees Must Fall protests, I’ve had to explain more than once that yes, USA has riots too—peaceful protests that have turned violent and fiery, mostly due to the ineptitude and cruelty of the police…I remember Baltimore destroying itself from the inside out almost one year ago, not just in reaction to Freddie Gray, but something much bigger than that...generally, the frustration with the entire social economics of poor, urban America.
A common question asked here—do you support Trump? And when I say, no, Bernie Sanders...I usually get a high five. Some have even asked me about my opinions of DeRay McKesson running for the Mayor of Baltimore—wow, to be so far away from it all and be asked about the mayor elections of my hometown. Amazing.
I spent last night sipping wine with the Creative X fellows who work out of the most amazing gallery/studio space called ArtEC…discussing politics, of course, and practicing my Afrikaans, and painting together. This was my little contribution:
But I have made other friends as well. Like this lizard.
And this crab.
...And the members of the Port Elizabeth Circus Society, which have a first official meeting in our first official meeting spot this upcoming week!
Dusty, musty, ridiculous books—
Endless exciting projects are in the works.
I will be traveling to Cape Town the last half of March to perform and teach flow/fire arts. I am honored to be one of the teachers selected for the Rock Your Hoop workshop hosted by Hoop Flow Love! (Tickets can be purchased here!)
And there are even more fun adventures planned to attend Altered States and the Circles of Life Holiday Programme…even Afrikaburn...
Back at Paterson, I lectured my learners last week about self-fulfilling prophecies in The Merchant of Venice.
Chineze and I are also dreaming up library renovations, extracurricular lesson plans, recycling projects, field trips to see The Tempest, and YES PLEASE HOLD ON TO YOUR BOOKS because I am scheming up a way to get all of our unused books to Paterson High School! (By the way, undying gratitude for all my friends and family who sent me messages about books you intend to donate...like I said HANG ON TO THEM.)
Until then, please enjoy this collection of ridiculous book covers I have found in our dusty, musty library…just so you can see how badly my students could benefit from some fresh books…
Five years, five cities—
Something that cannot ever be overstated…more than anything…I am simply grateful. I realized recently that in the past five years, I have lived in five different cities.
Baltimore, Maryland. Cape Town, South Africa. New York, New York. Washington, DC. And Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
And in between, I have visited countless other countries: Greece, Hungary, Holland, Britain, Belgium, Botswana, Zimbabwe...I’ve eaten lobsters by candlelight in the middle of the French countryside, I’ve gotten a tattoo in Montreal, Canada, (and I was briefly within the Zambian border to bungee jump off Victoria Falls on midnight under the light of the full moon).
Maybe one day Charlotte James will take me on a tour of South America and teach me Spanish & Portuguese in the process (you trilingual goddess, you), and that I’ll perform across India with my dear friends Shaheen and Shouniez (who are there now doing incredible charity work), and that I'll see every place in between with my love, Lucas.
Love, light, & fire.