Everyone should read Siya Khumalo.
The politically correct answer to Steve Sidley’s question is, Of Course You Are, Silly! More tea and jam with those croissants?
But politically correct answers are like placebos for Ebola patients, plasters for gunshot wounds, or, to cite a more scandalous comparison, like 1994 rainbowism for apartheid’s aftermath.
While I liked Sidley’s article, I would have preferred one titled This Is What I, As A White Person, Am Prepared to Do About Structural Racism and Inequality. Or Why Aren’t More White Businessmen Concerned About Structural Racism and Inequality? Sidley has probably addressed these topics, but what surprises me how much traction this piece got.
But of course. The question conveniently implies we (black people) have the power to decide white people’s fate and were always ready to use it violently. It conveniently underplays how much economic power white people hold. So this is not about accountability; it’s about victimhood. I submit this is why its resonated.
It is glorified abdication of social…
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Outside the Orbit: clearing the shattered glass
The Orbit had its front window smashed on Friday night. Whether by protestors with a defined purpose (though it’s hard to fathom what), opportunistic demagogues and provocateurs, or a bunch of drunken thugs joining what they perceived to be the “fun”, it’s hard to know. All the vandalism has achieved is to rob musicians and service workers of a few days’ decent gigging, and a struggling club of resources.
During the mayhem, the Orbit still willingly sheltered students injured by or terrified of police weapons; it cares about its community. The attack has silenced for a while one of Joburg’s “small pockets of cool” (the phrase is tenorist Shabaka Hutchings’) – a place where the cultural discourse regularly runs counter to the prevailing smug complacency and abdication of responsibility.
The view from inside the Orbit as an SABC van burns outside
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Thanks to the flaneurs, the bricoleurs, the lovers of this little edifice. First post was HERE.
This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
(Thanks Debbie for this.)
From Aimless Love, Penguin Random House, 2014.
If you’re wondering why Fleurmach has been a bit quiet lately, it’s because I’m in Sweden and trying to write my dissertation.
I’m still posting plenty of links etc. on the Fleurmach Facebook page, so you might like to keep in touch there, too.