It is morning and April and I sit in autumn at table outside my hotel room.
Cape Town disappears behind us, behind cliffs that peer to the sea, holiday sandy coves full of beach umbrellas and boogie boards, windy mountain passes, ostrich farms, and the wide open Karoo Desert. Cape Town disappears behind us, a string of interviews and meetings that pulled legend and history out from its dusty corners and made clear the details and realities of the Grassroots Newspaper and the Community Arts Project. We met fabulous people. From a fancy art studio situated in an old warehouse converted to spaces for artists to the ahrd one living room of a Cape Town township fought for by women who refused to be relinquished to shacks. Cape Town breaths fire, dancing around mountain ranges and spilling to beaches that were once for whites only.
We did an superb job in Cape Town. We sniffed and scrambled getting appointments with people who were essential to both the Grassroots Newspaper and the Community Arts Project. We met people who referred us to others. People were extremely gracious and agreed to meet us often with little notice. I am proud of the breadth of people we spoke with and the range of perspectives we collected. Our days were long. Sometimes we were interviewing for six or seven hours a day. My understanding of how these two amazing resources were organized, worked together, and built a fierce network has definitely sharpened in its focus.
It is living here, staying in homes that are grand and quiet full of art and books and tiled bathrooms, driving past corragated metal shack towns, dense and bustling, wash lines bright and blowing, lines of people along the highways looking for a ride. I feel the breath of those who have come before me, and I see how truly complex and conversely simple the task of pushing for a justice and equality becomes.
It is holiday and big cars stuffed with suitcases and families pile into rest stops, ice cream cones drip, drip, dripping. Large families over fed and proud smelling familiar, reminding me of U.S. holiday highways.
The wind blows in this desert resort town. It is Saturday two weeks have passed. Blue sky and birds croo. We saw half a dozen rainbows yesterday in the rain that fell in sheets in the distance. I think before coming here I had a somewhat simplified understanding of the struggle. The ANC was good, everyone involved in the struggle was united and clarity of purpose dissolved the small dramas that seem to invade human life. All these myths have been dispelled, initially this was disheartening, but as we have listened and talked with organizers and artists, i glean a different truth. The tasks before us, the task of social and economic revolution seems less daunting. Listening, it has been reaffirming to hear personal narratives about how believing in self determination, collective organizing, media and media training, strategic commitment to purpose and tasks, willingness to work within the complexities of various view point, and compassion people were able to end apartheid rule.
Cape Town. I leave this city with a much clearer grasp of the Community Arts Project Media Division how it came to be, what principals drove it, how it organized itself, and how access to those resource affected people. Oh I have met my heroes and soul mates.
We will post pictures upon our return.