There is so much terrible stuff going on in South Africa at the moment. Xenophobia. Destruction of statues. Loadshedding. It just seems that everything is on such a destructive trend. It seems that we have forgotten how to use our minds, hearts and hands for good, and that we choose to use them for bad. South Africans are.. honestly.. DESPONDENT right now. On every level it’s demoralising. I feel I want to give voice to this. Because although, yes, we are going through the motions – we’re despondent. My countrymen are not despondent people by nature. We’re upbeat. We make a plan. But this new mood is something scary, something more. This is not the South Africa we wanted, the one we worked for. I can’t imagine what the rest of Africa, and the world, thinks of us. The thought of leaving breaks my heart, the thought of staying scares me more. So what to do? There is only one thing we can do. MATTER. In our own rights. Keep busy and productive and do something that MATTERS.
Which is why it brings me such great pleasure to cover something that DOES represent the South Africa we wanted, the one we know is still in there somewhere. THIS matters, because it’s the embodiment of a dream. It’s a project called Under Joburg Skies. It’s a vision, and it makes me proud. It’s been founded by Zola Maseko (who is a film director fittingly noted for his documentaries about xenophobia), Andrea Larnyoh, and Andreas Cohrs. This could not have come at a better time in our country that is sorely crying out for some good news.
The concept is profound in its simplicity. Take an urban building – The Loft – doesn’t look like much, does it??
But it IS something. It’s a core piece in a dream becoming reality. Because inside this building is the most incredible, beautiful loft. Which belongs to a man called Zola Maseko, who has always had a dream for the building, and more specifically, for the ROOF of the building.
From their website: Our vision is to create a center of excellence, both for learning and for presentation of our South African culture and heritage through music and film and for collaboration with international artists. We are contributing to the cultural awareness and identity while supporting exchange between the various fields of arts and also between other countries. We aim at encouraging young talent and providing for know-how and tools to become an active player on both the domestic and the global market.
The building looks like nothing… here’s the thing though.. nothing is anything, without a dream.
Watch this slideshow and listen to some of the music. All pictures by my friend Alison Roberts.
And on 12 April 2015, the dream of Zola Maseko, Andrea Larnyoh, and Andreas Cohrs was launched. The evening was freezing cold yet in true South African spirit, the show went on. On the ROOF! It meant so much to me to be at this event (thank you to my friend Alison for inviting me and for taking the pics!). As white South Africans, we don’t tend to get out of our holes and leave the questionable safety of our suburban streets. Leaving my suburban street and going onto the roof of a building in Lorentzville to experience my country with all its rhythms, sights and sounds was immensely empowering to me. And this is just the start of things to come. Under Joburg Skies.. anything is possible.
We’re a land of doers, a land of dreamers, a land of culture and music.
I really, really, enjoyed this evening. And it reminded me that it’s not always what those in charge do that matters. It’s what I do, and what you do, and what the children of the world do.
The launch occurred on the roof of the loft, under Joburg skies.