A DAY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Living in SA is tricky business. Whatever comforts you have, however carefree you might be, something always reminds you that there’s someone out there having a shit life and you must know about it. At almost every robot someone will accost you to ask for money, to pray and dance and clown around for a round metal gesture holding a board so that if you can’t hear him, you can read him. Every day I’m forced to say No No No No No don’t clean my windshield or no it’s fine don’t carry my bags into the car or no thank you I already have a charger, but I bought snakes and ladders from you last month, no I don’t like grapes thank you, I’d support if you had bananas, sorry man I don’t need a pen today, no mama I dont have 50c for your child. The last time I gave you R2 and the wind blew under your blanket to reveal a log on your back instead of your baby. I’m still mad at you for that. Sorry baba I can’t buy homeless talk today, I have to tip the petrol guy. Sorry little girl, I want to help your father but I need to buy bread with this R10. I have to look at you because you are human, I have to acknowledge your presence but do you realize that you saw me yesterday and the day before and 365 days before that? Sometimes I’m a defenseless mood and spare R2 or R5 or a piece of fruit or a sandwich and for a moment, it doesn’t feel like shit. That feeling only lasts until the next robot where the head shake and the shape of the word sorry or askies through the glass becomes the only interaction between you and a man, a woman, a boy and girl whose choreographed dance of hunger is seamless. Coming home offers a relief until the next day. But tonight a woman just buzzed my door and begged and begged and begged for anything, from my kitchen, from my wardrobe, from my heart. I am defeated. I don’t want to become the creature that privilege makes out of people, but the nature of the city, especially a South African city does not allow for the principles of Ubuntu to survive a full day out in these streets.

// Comments (1)
  • Zethu says:

    Or for me, people who think that when you give once you should always give them something. I gave you clothes last month when I spring cleaned my closet so I must find more clothes to give to you this month. I was kind enough to give you my fries from McDonalds last week (which I shouldn’t have bought in the first place) so every time I come to get my synthetic food I must give away my fries again…It’s tiring. And invasive.

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