I’ve spent the twenty-four hours following the release of the Marikana Report sitting and reading it, making reader’s notes as I go, as a service to those who won’t have the time to spend going through the 600-page document. So having taken a massive nap since, I want to just share a couple of thoughts on it
When you travel long enough, and you meet enough people, you’ll eventually come across a properly unrecorded myth. A story that people in an area know and which might have existed for a time in the national historical memory, but has nevertheless since retreated into obscurity. There’s a story about the concrete thrones of Idi Amin that structured the antics below. And it’s a myth of that sort.
Monuments exist, perhaps, to enable modern day pilgrims. Their attempts to live – to make real – the dreams of books and films and images. There’s a power to that. To the smiles and emotional work of a thousand people beneath a giant iron colossus made real. Arrived, in a sense, at the end of journeys planned, saved for, and with varying difficulty realised.
“So that the generation to come might know, the children, yet to be born, that they too may rise and declare to their children.”
– Psalm 78:6
Sometimes I return to writing out of inspiration, sometimes out of need, and sometimes through an indirect kick in the pants. Despite my dereliction, I had a post half-written in a journal somewhere, because I love how writing by hand slows the process of thinking about structure and cadence. Enough to make writing so much smoother. But that post is still mostly crap. And so you get this.
There was a blog once, that I used to follow (and still occasionally return to, hoping for an update), written by the first person I’d ever really encountered who had decided to live a life that meant something beyond accumulation. The first real, actual human being who asked the two questions “what do I believe” and “how do I live those beliefs”, and properly dedicated her life to bringing them together in an ever-imperfect, but ever-better dance.
Rap music in a Gottingen Subways outlet. The old kind of rap. The kind to stir a heart into resolute anger at the world and its injustices. At the institutions that deny liberty and call the result Normal. Fair. The kind of rap that no Subways would have dared to play in the 90’s, but can laugh at now. Humiliate through tinny takeaway speakers. Like the immigration official that’s taken a liking to Bob Marley, or the corporate cat who enjoys Alanis Morisette and Shirley Manson.
The river that connects Siem Riep to Phnom Penh is one of the few – possibly the only – that seasonally changes direction, depending on which end of it is being rained on at any given moment. Or so Lonely Planet told me the time. Jumping between the two cities that afternoon – now years Read More …
Truth be told, I blame Kerouac. Later on, Dana Snyman had a hand in it too, but mostly, originally, it was Kerouac’s fault.
[Journal Extract, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2011] In Dispatches, Michael Herr titles his first chapter ‘Inhale’, and his last ‘Exhale’. I’ve been thinking about that writing tactic a lot lately. The notion that this – all of it – is like some coiled spring or compression/decompression cycle. That it can only be made sense of Read More …