Friday, October 12, 2012

Worn to the Bone in this Spaza Shop Reality

You know when you get to that point in a bad relationship, be it a friendship or more, and you know in your heart that you have just about had enough and can't go any further?

Well that is the feeling that courses through my being at this moment.

My resolve to exist in South Africa is about worn to the bone.

Somewhere in a too long flight back to South Africa last week it struck me strange that all I could think of was leaving the delusion for good, again.

I literally sat through hours of wondering how to make sense of a reality that was irrevocably getting the best of me.

Last night I returned to Kimberley to attend the opening of an exhibition on Chief Albert Luthuli at the McGregor Museum.

Hardly anyone showed except for a few staff and museum board members.

No one in the ruling party thought it important in an election year to honor the memory of a past president of their organization and the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The exhibition is a traveling one and it belongs to the Nelson Mandela Museum  which is located in Mandela's birthplace, the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

What struck me strange was that no one expected anyone in the ruling party to attend even though just weeks ago President Zuma stood in the same museum talking loudly about decolonizing museums throughout South Africa.

Is an exhibition on the life of one of the greatest minds in the African National Congress not a decolonizing moment?

I guess not.

The problem with this Spaza shop country is that it represents an historical farce for all the reasons I have opined on here in the 6 or more years that this blog has stood.

Spaza shop meaning informal/makeshift shop.
The tragedy of that farce is that the ideas that Luthuli stood for has been covered by an incessant greed for money and power that pays little attention to the substance of what decolonizing means.

I mentioned the call for a decolonization of museums by the president last night to a respected colleague who said: "That speech was written for him.  He has forgotten it by now."

The indifference of this comment is a broad characterization of what most South Africans think and feel about the delusional rainbow.

So why then did I reach the end of my tether today you may ask.

Well it has nothing to do with the exhibition or the museum but rather an incident that happened in a mall parking lot just minutes ago.

I was walking to my car when a young coloured man almost ran me over in his haste to get past me into an exit lane.

For a split moment my mind flashed back to a recent conversation Kim and I had about the courtesy of most Portland drivers.

This fool was not courteous.  He saw me put my being in front of him and the exit and he gunned his car in my direction, breaking the law, but getting ahead of me and, thereby, securing for himself one of the metaphorical three slices of stale bread left in all of South Africa.

It is usual here, this narrow grab at anything without consideration for your fellow being.  It is a well worn habit that won't just disappear with dreams of a new and humane space.

We are as I have said countless times before, a pretend nation of uncouth wannabees; a Spaza reality.

There is very little redeeming value left in the spirit that was supposed to make us more than our vicious past.

We are a vicious present.

Nothing more.  Even Desmond Tutu will be hard pressed to disagree with me.

This Spaza shop country has got the best of me.

I give up and will be suing the Dutch government for stealing my ancestors from what is now Malaysia.

I want reparations and a return to my ancestral grounds or just about anywhere else other than this crock.

Picture Credit


Pstonie said...

Is the TSA doing happy endings now? :D

Ridwan said...

Hi Pstonie:

I have absolutely nothing untoward to report about my overall experience with TSA.

I expected closer scrutiny but was proved wrong.

So yeah, that may be described as a happy ending of sorts. :0)


Kweli said...

Ah, time to abandon the not-so-post apartheid state and move to the proudly Fascist state: Kenya.

That idiot almost ran you over just because he wanted to beat you to the "next neoliberal I'm-Lovin-McDonalds leve?" What a loser.

Say hello to Fatima in the dustbowl.

Kimberly Pillon said...

Today the rain hasn't stopped, it is pooling by the curbs and it is difficult to see pedestrians.

Tonight, I drove with awareness at each crossing making sure I was able to see people wanting to cross.

Not everyone stops in Portland for you, the other night my Mom was getting out of the car when a guy tried to pass and almost clipped her. She hit his window with her hand and he yelled at her to not hit his car.
Go figure, how pissed would he be if had hit her and her body dented his car. F'R!

I fear that many people the world over are people are all vying for a piece of whatever. They all believe they are due something.

And yet, you can go for a walk down a street in Portland on a beautiful September night and three cars will stop so you can cross the street.

Hope is alive!

Ridwan said...

Hi Kweli:

I will say hi to the moms from you for sure.

Yesterday she reminded me that there are no rules of the road that are sacrosanct in SA.

She said a few weeks ago a similar incident happened to her as she tried to cross from a parking lot to a grocery store.

"The idiot could care less that I'm a senior citizen or a woman. He wanted his way over everything else. That was all that mattered," she said to me.

We cannot be kind to each other in SA because everyone is reaching for the 'next level' as you say.

It is a curious symptom of lingering dysfunction here in the delusion.

A kind of "biggie size" mentality that allows the peasants and other a semblance of power.

If I had the occasion I could have asked the driver if he wanted to "biggie size" his rude and illegal behavior by backing up and trying to run me over.

I have been watching the noise from Kenya and like you I am saddened by the creeping authoritarianism and ass kissing of the empire.

What the hell hey?

You would think that both Kenyans and South Africans would be so scarred by the past to just know better.

So where to then?

Malaysia won't want me. They made that clear after the end of apartheid - Malays have no right of return.

India may take me on a permanent visa if I can find the $1000.

So I am stuck here on the blog where I choose to live ;0)

Maybe I should take a page from DD's favorite personality, the Guru, and smoke funny cigarettes to alleviate my alienation from meaning.


Be well up there Kweli.

Peace boet,

Ridwan said...

Hi Kim:

I remember that beautiful Portland night and even remember the fourth car that stopped for us to cross from one corner to the next.

But I also remember a woman who told me to take my bicycle and ride on the sidewalk and not on the roads when she backed up into me at a street light in 2004.

Now you asking yourself why was he riding a bicycle?

Ummm, I was trying to cross train, geez :0)

I cussed her ass out and she looked at me like I was gonna kill her.

But for the most part drivers are courteous as you say.

I am just happy that your mom was not hurt. It happens.

Most road fatalities in SA are pedestrians. They don't count the animals who suffer the worst by far.

In India it is hard to discern courtesy in the mayhem so I hardly crossed roads or walked anywhere.

But in Kimberley it should be different. It is a small town where you can get to the airport lounge to your lounge in 15 minutes or so.

Why are folks in such a rush?

It is the madness of pretend (Spaza) freedom me thinks :0)

Enjoy the rain - we have a day of dust and some more heat on tap.


Kweli said...

Actually, Ridwan, when you were here we should have conferenced on your book about alienation.

I got tons of experience with that here in the Beast, as I'm sure you do.

Hello there, Kim.

Oh, and where is DD? We could all just hang out here haha.

Ridwan said...

Kweli I will be back in PDX sooner than later boet - we should talk more for sure.

You can meet me at a place called The Hilt somewhere close to Alberta and 20th - I aim to be part of the movement to further gentrify Northeast PDX :0)


Kimberly Pillon said...

Hi Kweli!

When Ridwan returns we should have dinner again. I really enjoy that evening, even though you checked out early.

My Costco experience today was crazy. Those people will run you over with their supersized carts.

I am too polite for that store.


Kweli said...

Two years ago Costco considered selling coffins/caskets. Can you imagine that, people!

Buy your months long supply of Tylenol, and while you're at it we have a buy one get one free offer on the coffins!

Every time I go to Costco I get a little depressed. I kid you not. I think it's those SUV shopping carts.