Sunday, May 28, 2006

KwaLanga

I really should've written of this before - I have been trying to find the right time when it occurred to me that there is no time like the present...

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to KwaLanga, the oldest township of Cape Town and the place of the sun, in 1995 when I'd transcended my personal crap and got to meet other true blue South Africans like 'Ta Fiks, Thoks and 'Ta Reg.

In fact this blog is really a dedication to 'Ta Fiks, Thoks and 'Ta Reg, because without them I would have been lost a long time ago.

'Ta Fiks was standing next to one of his best mates who was gunned down by the SAP on a march in KwaLanga. He left SA to join the armed struggle against apartheid when he was 16 years old. He was sent by the Pan African Congress (PAC) as an Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA) cadre for military training in Libya, only to find himself deployed in one of the most bizarre situations imaginable; Southern Lebanon, 1982.

Knowing that it was not his war, he and and a couple of other South Africans in the same situation, managed to escape to Greece only to be faced with the threat of being deported to South Africa where they would have faced certain death. An eleventh-hour intervention by the UN saved their lives by guaranteeing safe passage to Kenya, where 'Ta Fiks lived for 11 years. Trained as a fighter he became a cultural worker and brought that back to South Africa when he returned in the early-90's under an amnesty for APLA cadres.

That is the APLA of the slogan "One Settler One Bullet" - i.e. save ammunition when shooting white people, make every shot count.

I met 'Ta Fiks as he was dying of Aids, but I knew that he was always stronger than me - when I met him I realized that if I was just another stupid mlungu he wouldn't have given a fuck about me, but the most amazing thing was that 'Ta Fiks would have put himself on the line for me because I'd come so far as to meet him - technically he had sworn off white people a long time ago but he accepted me and my friend Rich in a way that went beyond the supposed boundaries. It wasn't without it's challenges. When you thought things were getting out of hand, which would happen often, 'Ta Fiks would just say "OK Now" and then put things into perspective, which is where the title of this blog comes from.

'Ta Fiks is dead now, but this blog carries his memory, and I hope it speaks for him too because he was the "terrorist" that wasn't if you know what I mean.... bad luck if you don't ...

'Ta Reg is also dead. 'Ta Reg never left really KwaLanga physically but he found certainly found a psychic route when someone at the publishing house that he worked at, slipped him some acid in the 60's. Regie was the kindest, most gentle person that I have ever met. He was also incredibly wise, an "Old Soul" and a great fan of the Beatles. I believe that 'Ta Reg, like 'Ta Fiks, are still very much with us and their guidance is here if we are willing to listen. Their life experiences were filled with so much pain that it is just not funny, but they took these difficulties in their stride and both of these men had a human compassion that is rare.

And bra Thoks, to who, as the originator of the saying: "Ok Now", I must say; Thank You. It must have been one evening together, when we all picked up on the phrase, which has stuck with me ever since. And to him I will also be indebted forever, for showing me an new path. Such is life, and hopefully we continue the learning process throughout, together.

The time that I spent in KwaLanga with 'Ta Fiks, Thoks and 'Ta Reg remains as the most special part of my life, where I learnt the most about the world I live in and myself. KwaLanga is one of the most important places on the planet to me, and is quite rightly known as the place of the sun.

In our African culture our ancestors are a vital component of our lives and I keep both Fikele and Regie close to my heart as two adoptive ancestors who are both my guides now as they were then.

Long live 'Ta Fiks and 'Ta Reg!

And even longer life to bra Thoks!

Mayibuye iAfrika! Return to Africa!

No comments: