Month: June 2012

Capoeira ta me chamando!

Okay, so I haven’t been training really at all since I graduated from Oberlin (OC Angola!) because it was too expensive for me in NYC while on an americorps budget and I just haven’t found the time/energy to go in New Orleans. Plus, it’s always kind of difficult to start with a new teacher once you’ve trained with one for so long–having to adjust to their nuances and what not. I looked up capoeira before I got to SA, and unsurprisingly, none of the groups were capoeira Angola. So I just put it out of my head. But one of the people I met here in SA, who’s from the states and wanted to do some type of movement for lack of west african dance options, caught up with a mutual friend who plays capoeira. So since she was interested, I decided to go with her. The group is an extension of Cordão de Ouro and they were having their first class in their new studio. So there were a lot of people in attendance …

Weekend Adventures

This first weekend in Cape Town was awesome! I’m being very serious about the use of that particular word, unlike the multitudes of young people who utilize it for anything in their lives that is slightly more than mundane. Cape Town truly is awesome (adjective) definition: extremely impressive or daunting synonyms: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning, staggering, imposing, stirring, impressive; formidable, fearsome, dreaded; informal mind-boggling, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, excellent, marvelous. I went on a Baz Bus Cape Point tour on Saturday. We left bright and early and drove around the entire peninsula for the day. Our first stop was a little beach area where you had the option of taking a boat to seal island, which I didn’t actually end up doing. But I did walk around the beach. The mountains are always covered in a mist that makes them look incredible. Our second stop was to Simon’s Town to see the penguins. They were adorable. The way they walk around reminds me of the way toddlers walk–with that unstable waddle. Strangely there was some dead animal …

National Pride

I’m watching SABC news here in Cape Town and right now there is some live event going on in Johannesburg, and President Zuma is giving a lecture about Alfred Xuma who was a former president of the ANC and a political activist. I don’t really know too much about South African history, but in watching this, I’m definitely learning a lot more.  Anyway, besides the content of the event, the outbreaks into songs are what are getting me right now. The whole audience will just break into song, perfectly harmonized, as if they’ve rehearsed it all before–I know, they’ve probably sung those particular songs so many times that it’s like they’ve been in constant musical rehearsal. And they don’t sing mechanically, like the way we sing the national anthem in the US, but with passion and pride. The president got up to give his speech and they again broke into song. He interjected with a rallying call between him and the audience, after which he started the lead of another song, to which the audience …

All play and no work

My research project down here hasn’t really started yet. Mostly because the researchers are so busy doing too much at once to sit down with us and give us some work. So we’ve been going to different presentations and events they’ve invited us to, but it’s mostly been a pretty event-less week (as far as research is concerned). BUT I’ve gotten to see a bit of capetown as a result. A bit. I actually ended up seeing a bit of Long street the first night I was here, and then walked around Obz (the name of our neighborhood) Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we took a train into town and did a self-directed walking tour–to the District 6 museum, the company garden, another museum at a place where they used to hold slaves, and then to Bo-Kapp neighborhood. Today we took the train to Simon’s Town. It was so beautiful outside and warm (for once). Unfortunately, we didn’t stay too long as a result of my feeling sick and the fact that we were supposed to …

Night #1

It’s my first night in Cape Town, SA and I’m freezing. It is so cold both outside and inside, and while I brought winter clothes, I just feel ill prepared, and just ill from being on a plane for 14 hours and now so cold that my body is stiff. The apartment we’re staying in, of course doesn’t have a heating system, and our hosts asked that we use the space heater moderately as it makes their electricity bill crazy. So they’ve left us a number of blankets and hot water bottles, but I just can’t with this weather. On another note, I’ve been feeling somewhat anxious about travelling here the entire plane ride, and already, I’m feeling somewhat homesick (especially for the warmth and the familiar). I know, I just got here, but in these short hours, my in-country partner (we came in twos) has already left me in this house by myself (I was asleep, smdh). She went to go buy a cell phone, which is something I need to do too, so …