18 May 2008

Thoughts and stuff from Cape Town

Sometimes good things just happen. They come out of the blue. Yesterday I was so privileged, honoured and happy to meet one of the great people of South Africa and indeed the whole world. Dr Mamphela Ramphele was giving a speech in a book shop in Cape Town to launch her new book Laying Ghosts to Rest: Dilemmas of the Transformation in South Africa. If you don't know who she is maybe you remember the name from the film Cry Freedom, a story of Steve Biko and Donald Woods; she was very close to Biko. Of course she was and is much much more than just an associate to one of the brightest revolutionary thinkers and activists that I have had pleasure to learn about but she herself is a revolutionary and academic in her own right. I was as pleased to meet her as I was few months back meeting Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, but of course this is not a competition. After hearing her speech I can't wait to read the book (which we got signed and even took the fan photos as I think I don't care about trying to be cool with this kind of people anymore; life's just too short for that). To me the most impressive thing in her speech was the call to action which especially academics sometimes forget and her passion for her country and continent. The passion and love that, amongst so many other things consist of not being afraid to criticise her own leaders. I have lot of respect for her no doubt.

Before meeting a living legend me and Amkelwa went to the cinema. We've been watching quite a lot of DVD's at home, but not going to cinema for which there's not really very good excuses as the tickets at the cinema nearby cost 25 Rands which is roughly two Euro or 1,5 British Pounds. We saw Zeitgeist. An interesting enough film covering issues around Christianity, 911 attacks and NWO (New World Order). OK, so it wasn't very focused. A kind of film that attempts to uncover all the evils of the world. The poster said that it's bound to change one's world view which I would disagree with since for me personally it had very little new ideas as I have been watching many similar films before and while I enjoy them, I am not sure why. They have a very pompous way to express these ideas in such a patronising way that I don't know why I bother. The only thing this way of portraying the truth reminds me of is the very news media these films so aggressively oppose. In all honesty I'd much rather hear the different stories and make up my mind. All of it is, I guess, a kind of feel good exercise of having inside knowledge and being righteous almost like a part of the chosen few who understand which is delusional if anything. In bigger picture I doubt that films like these have great impact on people by and large. I am really struggling to imagine that such films would preach to anyone but the already converted. The film was also visually displeasing and it gave me a headache. All that being said, I learned few new things and I am still waiting to hear the powers that be to prove films like this wrong. I doubt they care too much and since these films fail to call anyone to action in any way I doubt that they need to care either. They are kind of films that say we're all screwed, live with that. And so we live with that which is the reason I'm left to feel unmoved for now. The change that happens is almost as non-existent than if I joined the Save the rain forest-group in Facebook. Beat that feeling.

Back to the positive side of the fence. Guess who got tickets to see Chris Rock No Apologies tour next month in Cape Town? Yes, it's me! How exiting. Although I almost exclusively listen and enjoy British and Irish Comedy I still think that Chris Rock is a top comedian. As in top stand up comedian in the world. The reason I don't care too much about the South African comedy is that the punchline is almost always in vernacular. It's very funny but in a bit wrong way; merely as an idea I suppose. I listen and understand the build up, which is in English, and then miss the punchline more often than not. Well, my loss for not speaking the local language. I am glad I've got at least someone to translate to me.

As a last thought. I got my hands on the new Looptroop record Good Things and although in the first few listening times the electro sounds took an effort to get used to I do like it a lot. A really cool record all in all with a Bon Jovi cover Living on a Prayer included. That song leaves me so confused but I unashamedly like it and it got me thinking that all the catchy songs by artists I am ashamed to have in my collection should be remade by cool bands that I like. Wouldn't that be a beautiful world.

Amkelwa with Dr Ramphele