caravane (nosundays) wrote in south_africa,

Johannesburg 2008

last Saturday was perhaps the most amazing summer Saturday that I had ever met in my life. thousands of colors exploded in the city of Johannesburg, the crime capital of the world, where nothing is safe from the buildings that could only by visited by certain races twenty years ago. people were finally free to express themselves, and no one would say you need to be fixed. Zoo Lake was crowded with colors that could have not meet each other in apartheid South Africa, children were running after dogs and men were holding signs that were screaming ‘two drinks away from men on men sex’ and I simply could not stop grinning. everything was perfect, nothing more was needed. I felt loved and accepted.

seven people left Swaziland for Johannesburg last Friday. we got a ride from our headmaster, and Eva’s card got almost stolen in the middle of the journey. we arrived to Hyde Park around nine, after six hours of driving, and we went to a café and decided that it was too expensive so we pretended that Andrew had an emergency at home and escaped. we went to a cinema, saw a film called Choke and it was absurd and strange and I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it. we tried to go to drink, but Hyde Park is far away from everything, everything is far away in Johannesburg and the taxi never showed up so we went to sleep. the following morning was going to be special, but I had no idea how amazingly stupefying it actually would be. again, I have never been happier than on Saturday.

the parade left Zoo Lake at 11, and it was huge. we stood for long time to see all the trucks and cars that were decorated and filled with dancers and drag queens and it never ended. I saw an Indian man in a sari, and I thought he was beautiful. a guy tried to gain my attention by yelling ‘hey Italian’ and when I realized that he was talking to me, he gave me a pamphlet about underwear-bar. I saw skyscrapers and Hillbrow tower from Rosebank, and even though they were far away, I witnessed them bowing and screaming thank you for freedom. Teletubbies were in the parade, and they were more adorable in real life than in the television. drag queen/maid cleaned me with her brush, told me that I was dirty and asked me if I will send the photo I took to her. I did not promise anything.

South Africa is one of those countries where everything could be colorful, but because it is struggling with its identity blending into a spectrum is almost impossible. when we take account its vulnerable history, one cannot blame South Africa (or Johannesburg) for being a ‘dangerously life-threatening’. however, when it came to Johannesburg Parade, everything suddenly erupted and it was fantastic to see that these people who speak Afrikaans or Zulu or Xhosa could be together finally after sixty years of harsh, extreme separation. South Africa simply cannot live without prejudices yet, a black man is scared of a white man and an Indian man would not marry a coloured girl. these are cliques between people, and they are still not solved, but when attending Johannesburg Pride, everything is gone. we are happy to be ourselves, we let our sorrows and grieves go, we are free to be with someone else without a fear of being shot by your dearest friend. I absolutely love South Africa, I adore it because it tries, it tries so hard when it could just stop trying and let white people to immigrate to Britain and Australia, let the rainbow nation become grayscale nation, but it does not wish to. the government perhaps, but certainly not the people who came to the parade last Saturday.

the Parade was so much better than Cape Town one if possible. over ten thousand people marching the streets of Johannesburg, the city that produces the highest rape rates and the most gold in the world. when we walked past houses and apartments, people were cheering for the people in the parade, people stood by the streets and were happy, ordinary black people (who are suppose to be the most conservative ones in South Africa) asked if they could have a rainbow flag or two and we gave them three and they were waived the flags like their whole life had changed. we blocked the major streets in Rosebank, we caused traffic jams and both happy & frustrated car horns were heard around the city because of our march. when you looked back, there was an impressive human mass behind you that did not seem to have an end and it was simply amazing to feel for a moment that this would never end, this story of ours that has never been written would continue to live forever. people screamed their lungs out, slogans such as ‘Love, not Hate’ were yelled across the city and it was simply perfect. I fell in love with everyone & everything in Johannesburg, the city of hope.

I felt infinite in Johannesburg.

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