Friday, September 16, 2011

Funky Friday

On a recent trip through Klerksdorp I stopped by to see Ridwana the teenage daughter of my cousin, Nazli.

Those of you who read here know I think that Ridwana is the most beautiful girl in the world.  In being and deed.  Trust me on this one.

AnyHowze, we were sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Ridwana's dad to arrive for lunch when I asked her how the most beautiful girl in the world could be living in one of the ugliest towns in South Africa.

Ridwana looked at me and smiled gently and said: "I don't know Uncle Ridwan you will have to ask my dad."

I did not ask her dad of course.  I know why she lives there just like I know why my moms has never left the dustbowl town by the hole.

As I drove on toward Kimberley I hoped that I did not offend Ridwana's parents by declaring Klerksdorp an ugly town.  But it is so.  Trust me on this too :0)

But then a lot of places in South Africa are butt ugly.  The infrastructure is crumbling and just about everywhere looks like a really old and dirty pair of hand-me-down shoes that just does not fit anymore.

When you escape the towns and cities the beauty of the land becomes apparent.  South Africa is, in fact, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

What is butt ugly is how we have developed a large part of it into the Frankenstein of post-colonialism with its characteristic inferiority complex.

The sad part is that so many think it is supposed to be like that.  Yesterday I watched workers from the local municipality cut down indigenous cacti so they could grow lawn in its place. 

The grass (lawn) is adornment of the colonial mindset.  It is the official accoutrement of colonialized development and a marker of 'civilization' for the shackled.

Grass/lawn will take lots of water and need constant attention as it interferes with the ecosystem that the cacti thrive in.

This cutting down of what is natural for what is a constructed artificiality is a metaphor for our inferiority.  We want to be something else.  That something else must look like the West and make us feel light in our dark skins.

In the too-hot summer months to come there will be no rainfall in Kimberley but the grass/lawn will be dutifully manicured while thousands upon thousands of poor black folk have no access to clean running water.

But never mind this is the 'equality' of development.  If you don't have running water you can always buy bottled water.  (If they don't have bread give 'em cake or better yet, a Big Mac!)

I know Ridwana will remain beautiful forever but I am worried about the ugly that surrounds her - and that is none of her fault or her parents.

Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world
Could you be
It's plain to see you're the reason that God made a girl
Oh, yes you are

And if the stars ever fell one by one from the sky
I know Mars could not be, uh, too far behind
Cuz baby this kind of beauty has got no reason to ever be shy
Cuz honey this kind of beauty is the kind that comes from inside


Ps. Yeah I think you are beautiful too. A veritable queen in a castle.  Geez ;0)

Pss. Oh Anisa, as you start your new life by the sea may all your dreams come true.  Thank you for being the kind of family I respect and luv.

If you having trouble with your expensive Vodacom 3G connection like I am (or Nashua Mobile) and you want to hear this beautiful cut without the video then go here.

If you living in a country where internet access is no hassle then send my ass a one-way ticket (I prefer Kenya by the way).



Erica said...

Ridwana will fare just fine. What's important is that she has parents who can instill the importance of an education and presence of knowing who she is and where she came from.

Girls need firm foundations and I'm sure she has that and more.

Kweli said...

Wait, did I read that right, Ridwan? Internet no hassle in K e n y a (spelled out)? Maybe it's getting better, who know?

I hear you on this development business. Nairobi is, after all, a very bad imitation of London. This is not to say that London isn't a horrible imitation of itself, but let's not psychoanalyze today.

I hope you are well, brother.

Ridwan said...

You right Erica. She will do great but stuff around her is likely to remain butt ugly :0)

But I hear you of course.


Ridwan said...

Hey Kweli when I was in Nairobi and in Lamu for a month I did not experience any internet access problems for one minute.

And the speeds were simply way ahead of rainbow delusion.

I expect that it is different in the rural areas of Kenya but cell phone reception was excellent where we met with indigenous groups (far from towns/cities).

Access was also more affordable by far than it is here in SA. I was told that internet access/speeds have improved a lot in the last two or more years.

But your point is taken on the "no hassle" part. It is still about having the means to be online in the so called developing world (Kenya is not an exception).

In India it is just amazing how easy it is to get online and use your cell phone even for international calls.

The government in SA wants to keep telecoms the expensive cow that it is because it is about cash/revenue.


pserean said...

Gosh Ridi- you picked up on the Only nice song of Prince's.
Wow. I'm tottering....



Happy Belated Birthday, Erica!

Erica said...

Thank you Pserean.


Ridwan said...

Mmmm P. why you gotta go there and do so with a compliment too :0)

Prince has a grip of great songs but this is my favorite.

"Nothing compares to you" (he wrote it and his version is so much better than that once bald woman).

"Let's go crazy" is 80s fare extraordinaire and so is "1999".

I will admit that Prince grew on me through the years and even in the 'symbol' time I was not entirely on board.

But on the whole Purple Rain was a phenomenal album.

Oh oh don't forget "You got the Look" with Sheena Easton and he wrote and produced "Manic Monday" by the Bangles which should appeal to your (dis)like of Mondays :0)

Set that all aside - the man dumped Carmen Electra - that alone makes him a legend :0)

Peace P.


Nolwazi said...

Why are my aunt-in-law and I the only ones out of you, Miss P and the rest of the world who KNOW Prince is gay? My aunt-in-law Pretty quite eloquently calls him "Princess Prince". LOL:) OH MY GOSH THAT CRACKS ME UP ALL THE TIME!!

Ridwan, I never would've even thought of lawns and colonialism as correlating. Thank you for enlightening me. It's much appreciated.

Would your people freak out if you put up a pic of the pretty Ridwana for us? Many blessings to the pretty girl, God help her in God-forsaken Ventersdorp or Klerksdorp or Hellsdorp! God help us all in God-forsaken North-West Province dorpies!

Miss P, have you ever been this side? I've asked Erica to please come to South Africa but I aint bringing her here! There's no water here and the men's bladders explode on any building, tree or human being they happen to be around.

Eish South Africa- the urinary post-apartheid Rainbow Nation leader of the African Agenda...neh...

Ridwan said...

Hola Nolwazi:

"South Africa- the urinary post-apartheid Rainbow Nation"

This is damn near genius. Captures it all in a sense.

I thought about putting up a picture of Ridwana and then someone wrote in to say that she thought we were making fun of "hot nikabi babes" and P. fielded that one and pointed out we were not.

I explained to Ridwana and her folks that this blog gets a ton of racist and anti-Muslim hate mail on the regular and I thought it not right to expose Ridwana to that (or their innocent family too).

We live in a messed up world as you know and it is important that we protect our loved ones and our integrity.

Aaaahhh damn. It is sooo too late for me to go anonymous now - just google Ridwan and whammo - it is me.

Thanks for your comment.


Nolwazi said...

Copy that my brotha, I totally understand. You right too. The world is not safe.

I think you should wear a bulletproof vest while you blog...I wear one when I log on to your spot.

Peace to you Ridwan:)