#moneypowersex: the blog

the online interactive zone that provides a space for the free-flow of words, images, thoughts, discussions, and ideas around the OpenForum 2012 theme, 'money, power, sex: the paradox of unequal growth.'

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Posts tagged "Cape Town"

It’s a long ride from the swanky swag of Cape Town’s Convention Centre to the gritty unaffectedness of the township of Philippi. We are in town for a conference on inequality. Thousands of words of analyses, mind-bending philosophies, but inequality doesn’t get much clearer than the trip to Philippi.

I am in the networking zone, surfing a sea of intellectual encounters, when I encounter Tunisian graffiti artist eL Seed. He’s carrying bags full of canisters, on his way to Philippi to do some street art. “We’re leaving right now, come!” eL Seed’s got this lightning-and-rainbows enthusiasm about his art. It’s contagious. I grab my bag.

The mood is edgy on the drive. The anti-gravitational thrill of sharing beauty, grounded by a discomfiting self-awareness steeped in the pungent scent of privilege, the space from which we operate. eL Seed is grappling with the contradiction. “Do you think they’ll be offended?” He asks me. “Like, who does this guy think he is, that he can just walk into our community and do his art?”

I want to say no. No, of course not, a thing of art is a thing of beauty, a gift from the heart is never misplaced. But who am I to say? We are bringing art and asking nothing in return except that most sacred incorporeal asset – personal space.

“I don’t know,” I tell him. “You’ve linked up with people in the hood; I think that’s the important thing… ?” The question mark. It lingers uncomfortably through the rest of the drive. The politics of ‘giving’ are not for the ‘giver’ to decide.

The township of Philippi was established as a residential zone by South Africa’s apartheid government in the 80s. It was one of the final mass relocations of black people to the distant outskirts of Cape Town. Three decades later, government policies have shifted, but foundational geopolitics remain cemented in the country’s economic and social architecture. The place we are going today used to be a rubble dump for the Philippi area. Now twenty thousand people call it home – Sweet Home, to be precise, is its name.

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Photo Journal: Cape Town, South Africa 2012 (by Ferrari Sheppard)

via ferrarisheppard

Water boils

Like

Black rage

In

African veins

Open boat

The endless waves

A desert          a prison

In themselves

Coastline shrinks

You stare unblinking

Through bruised and swollen eyes

Drink it in

As salt water

Slaps your face

Like the South African police

When they broke

Into your house

Arrested you

Beat you

In front of your children

Blood stains

Where they play

Coastline hazy

As mist

faces seen through tears

You struggle

With everything inside you

To cling to shore

Like you struggle

to cling to hope

The lingering taste of escape

Slapped out of your mouth

At you gape at the nothingness

That is everything

The ocean consumes Capetown

Sharks following

The wake of blood

Behind slave ships

Tears sweat blood sea water

Sting and bite

Your broken lips

Who can cross these waters

To reach you

Reach into cells

Mangy as street dogs?

They have turned

Even the sea

Against us

One last look

But home

Is

Specter

now

Forward

Backward

The island

A mutation

A prison

Built over a leper graveyard

Even the trees grow

Twisted

A symptom

Of the disease

Colonialism

Your ancestors’ land

Now your tomb

Your own arm

Turned against you as a weapon

Comrades who turn

Informers

Under the weight of torture

Guard towers

Menace the beach

This island

Is always watching

No visiting hours

No commissary

No yard time furlough family visits

Transfers possibility of early parole

Just hay pallets on cold freezing ground

Stripped of clothing              not dignity

Cells smaller than the kennels guards keep

            Guards who bite more brutally than the dogs

Crushing work in the lime quarry

Food unable to sustain life

Letters that never arrive

Voices that scream                never heard

Just damaged vocal chords no longer capable of speech

Decimated eyes no longer capable of tears

Faces so swollen parents no longer recognize children

They will do their absolute best

To crush you

Boot to bone

To break you

            Skin burst open

            Like budding flowers

To erase you

            Your history slaughtered by foreign tongue

You know

all of this

You know

they will try their absolute best

You know

they will not succeed

Can’t wait! 

Aerial view of Cape Town at Night, South Africa

Photo by Island Chic

via kilele

(via dynamicafrica)