Another Friday night’s outdoor drinking at the Sandton News Cafe was interrupted by the cries of a young street entrepreneur in dated ANC t-shirt who approached the guys sitting next to me with a unique offer.
Man: “Sorry to bother you, but would anybody like to buy roses or a sculpture?”
He was holding a dozen of almost dead roses and a coil of bent brass wire, from which it seemed the sculpture could have been made.
Man: “Look, I won’t mess you about, I’m homeless, right? And rather than standing at the traffic lights begging or whatever, I thought I’d try offering something in return. This is what I do. I sell roses and sculptures. Does anybody want one in return for a donation?”
I wondered if perhaps I actually did have someone to buy roses for, while worrying that someone might try and say something clever that would make the whole situation worse. Luckily no one did, and he moved to the group behind.
Before he had finished his sales pitch to the assembled drinkers, in unison they shouted, “No thanks.”
It was then that one of the group, rather than taking a refuge in their collective response, felt compelled to justify his refusal.
Drinking man: “Actually, you wouldn’t believe this, but I’m actually begging myself. I’ve left my wallet… all my cards in the office… so I actually don’t have any money.”
Roses man: “if you want something, maybe someone could lend you some money.”
Drinking man’s friend: (sensing an opportunity to humiliate him) “Yeah, I’ll lend you some money. How many roses did you have in mind?”
Roses man: “Yeah, how many?”
Drinking man: “Well I’m not actually… actually I don’t have anyone to buy roses for at the moment…oh that’s my phone.”
He made a bad job of pretending to take a phone call and started walking away. There was widespread laughter, especially from the roses man, as he marched out of sight.
Young black slaves with beautiful dark skin,
Violated by white masters again and again.
They had white women to whom they were publicly wed.
But they preferred to rape black women in the slave shed.
A painful history we all want to forget,
But we can’t because of the children born of it.
Their hues range from black to white,
With hair sometimes straight and other times tight.
Evidence of a crime and justice never received.
Centuries have passed and yes, we still grieve.
But we must love the black rainbow that we have become.
We are the original hue-mans and should unite as one.
From the middle passage to every denied civil right,
We make the best of our trying plight.
But brainwashed to hate our African origin,
We began to hate our beautiful black skin.
From European standards of beauty to the paper bag test,
We have been encouraged to take part in a self-hate fest.
Now is the time to stop this genocidal game.
God loves us all and we should do the same.
A young black girl wanted to be fine.
She bought hazel contact lens and now she’s blind.
Some black women put glue in their hair,
To hold long straight weaves that blow in the air.
We shouldn’t do destructive things like that.
We are a beautiful people and that’s a fact.
Sisters and brothers we must love our natural state.
We must love the black rainbow and stop all the hate.
– Victoria Rowels
Only a few hours old
Nothing yet stale, nothing has mold
No longer sellable we are told
Only problem…it might be cold
No longer of worth, to you at least
Too millions, this would be a feast
How many at your hands have deceased
Who cares right? Your profits have increased
Alone, your “spoils” could stop a million hunger pains
As all nutritional value remains
Your family images obviously feigned
Stand there…defend your corporate chains
Think of all the people you could feed
To the dumpster, instead of shelters & families in need.
Blatant markers of your greed
While millions daily, for food, have to plead
Thousands spent insuring your next product is a “smash”
Your sickness spreading like an incurable rash
Security around your sacred trash
All that matters, bottom line…cash
We all know you`re corporate whores
Cheap “collectable” crap for sale in every store
Selfishness seeping from every pore
How would you “spin it” if a starving child died on your floor?
Expensive ads in our faces everyday
“Billions served” proudly displayed
Your concerns…how much your mascots weighed
Where`s the sign for how many died of hunger today?
The Activists Writing Collective
That the Midrand KFC is an outlet for single women is news to no one. But at 8 p.m on a weekday evening you’d think they’d be home watching Generations. Not a bit. No sooner had I paid for my Streetwise Two plus an extra piece than an obese woman spotting gym gear rolled in and announced, “I need to charge my phone please.” I assumed she was a regular customer – she had the figure for it. But the look of shock on the faces of the staff said this was a new one, even for them. There was silence which the woman exploited to further her case. “I was talking to my mom”, she said, “when my battery died.” “This is KFC,” said the Xhosa trainee cashier. “Please! It’s an emergency, “ said the woman. Woman: (noticing a phone charger in a wall socket) “For only 5 minutes, please. Cashier: (aware that the proximity of the charger undermined her position) “I can’t do it, I will lose my job. Ask the manager.” The manager had been at the back talking on a landline the whole time. He could see exactly what was happening and was in no hurry to get involved. To her credit the woman waited a full five minutes for him to hang up. Woman: (suddenly sounding calm) “Sorry sir I need to charge my phone for a few minutes.” Manager: (surrendering the moral high ground) I can’t do that. You need to buy something first. Here’s our special.” Woman: (annoyed) “I need to buy something first before you help me with a charger?” There was no response. Then another customer on the queue, also overweight, whispered, “She’s got a chip on her shoulder.” The woman looked at this customer as though she might, quite literally, eat him for breakfast, and walked out. Idiots, I thought. You’ve lost your biggest customer there.
You know you’re getting older when you only get invited to parties where every woman has a man (or act like they have) and there’s food. It was at a do like this, where the host had taken the trouble of laying down the snacks, that the following exchange between two men who had obviously come here solely to be fed, took place.
Man 1: (evidently the more socially enthusiastic and attention seeking of the pair) “Of course I’ve been to Cape Town.”
Man 2: (staring at his plate) “Where in Cape Town”
Man 1: “I can’t remember for sure but its name starts with fish or something”
Man 2: “Fishoek”?
Man 1: (seizing the chance to act like a seasoned traveller) “Yes Fishoek. There’s this street in the city center, I forgot the name but it’s really long and gets very busy at night. Man, I’d never had so much fun. It’s club after club but my favourite was the one called Johannesburg. There, the girls are always in good mood to talk. They wank you off before you’ve uttered a word. It’s like you’re overseas in New York or something.“
The temperature of the room dropped and Man 2 froze mid-mouthing as though choked by the potato on his almost polished paper plate.
Man 2: (having crammed enough food into his mouth to absolve himself from fully responding) “Mmmhm?”
Man 1: (oblivious) “I scored a chick on my first night there my man. Easy.”
He looked around the room as if to continue the debate but everyone was fixated on the beers/plates.
Man 1: (moving towards the kitchen) “Anyone for a toothpick?”
No one responded.