meat, fear and segregation

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The soul travels by horseback. In this age of flight that means -while I have arrived in Cape Town a few days ago- my soul has barely made it across the strait of Gibraltar, galloping on the rocky beaches of Morocco and starting the long trek into the African continent. Do I envy my soul or does it envy me? It has been missing out on comfortable airplane seats and complimentary bags of nuts, also, I think it might have enjoyed the annoying looks of compassion when I informed the 2 American girls on a Christian mission to Tanzania in the seats next to me of my hedonistic tendecies to do illegal substanses and dance to rave music. Ah, well…

Last night we had a braai. Delicious dead animals in copious amounts were devoured with our very South African guests. 3 entire chickens, lamb chops, 2 meter pork sausages, filled with cheese and bacon. I thought I would prepare a salad, and while cutting tomatoes our host comes into the kitchen and curiously asks why I am doing a woman’s job. I answer I quite enjoy the meditative aspect of cutting vegatables. Later he shows me his work-out room. A tiny room crammed full of medieval-looking torture devices. A blackboard showed his progress. He had used names from the tv show Spartacus to name his work-out days. Today was Krixus-day.

A story during dinner: A South African restaurant offers a 1 kilogram steak. If you eat it whole, you get another one for free. A man enters the restaurant and successfully eats both steaks. Afterwards the concerned waiter asks him if he would like to have a salad or something to balance out his diet. The man answers: “If I wanted a salad, I would order a chicken.”

During the drive back we nearly drive into a township. Our driver freaks out, and quickly makes a u-turn. I feel fear. At every “robot”, every dark street, every time a black man gets close to us. I hate myself for it but i can’t help it. Have I been conditioned by our white South African hosts? How much of this fear is imagined and how much is actually true? How many stories of burglaries or murders does it take to permanently instill a feeling of insecurity?

I remember reading about racism, how it’s an onion: at its core fear, around it layers of anger, and finally a skin of habits and rituals.

A fact: In white communities there is 1 policeman for every 11 people, in townships 1 in 50.

Nelson Mandela is in a vegetative state.


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