Saturday afternoon, Johannesburg:
“I’m sitting here in Double Shot Coffee Shop, a delightfully earthy and arty place that sells all the right things, most notably: freshly roasted coffee from fair-trade sources. Most people that frequent this part of Braamfontein on a Saturday shows up in brand name outfits and have cash to burn. It’s starting to be the place to be: fancy, like Sandton with an air of relevance and ‘now’, since it borders that great suburbian other: the inner city. This part of Braamfontein is full of little posh pleasures, with Neighbourgoods Market the heart of the buzz.
I’m sitting at a wooden counter and through the large glass window I can observe and write. I see young Natalie, from Freedom Park, Soweto; she is with her friends, carrying large white papers husstling and begging for support of their drum majorettes. With monotonous regularity the same sequence repeats itself over and over: she asks, the trendy consumers decline… they are here for coffee and delightful little things. Natalie and her friends are neither delightful nor trendy enough to make a tourist brake a stride.
I’ve always maintained that guilt is a good thing, as long as it convicts instead of paralyse.
I leave my coffee and notebook for a minute and I go outside to write my name on the paper and add my financial contribution. It strikes me that of the six names on the paper the highest amount given was R3. As I write my name and give my R10 I’m happy to push from R3 to R10… Yet, as I write it feels like I’m writing a sorry note, apologising on behalf of all the obnoxious, rich creatures of comfort that walks by or that sits and stares from within coffee shop windows. My R10 is a pitiful penance, my R10 is embarrassingly insufficient and hides the hug, home, scholarship, inspiration and friendship that this girl deserves.
I cannot help to think that we are missing the point.
What is a human without humanity.
If a street-kid becomes invisible it does not reflect on him or her, but on those who lost the ability to see. I pray I don’t grow up to be blind.
And there are so many things to spend my money on that is known to increase the risk of blindness.