Friday, March 08, 2013

For Women - respect and admiration

The half pint of Castle Milk Stout has taken my edge off, has mellowed me.My mouth is blissfully on fire from the bright green slices of chilli in my full plate of "traditional Durban" chicken curry "packed with flavour & definitely the BEST in town !", yellow rice, and served with their trio of carrot salad, pickled carrot tomato and onion sambals (R55).It's a magnificent and very chilled - in Durban speak - Friday afternoon on the city's restaurant strip: it's Florida bloody wonderful road.I'm at the House of Curries; it was a great, affordable meal in a fantastic atmosphere.My best is that despite temperatures in the early thirties and honey-thick humidity, the Indian Ocean is very, easily, accessible. Beneath a cobalt African sky and bright Southern Hemisphere sunshine that reminds me of butter and orange juice.

"Hey dude I love my life, it's SO easy," I overhear the young and unshaven dark blond-and-lean guy at the table behind me utter over his draught. In that instant I envy him; mine still remains unduly complex. But I'm working on it... .

My day has unexpectedly been dedicated to International Woman's Day.It began with me finishing Eva Gabrielsson's 'Memories of my life with Stieg Larsson'. I loved the background details behind the journalist and writer Stieg, and his long suffering life partner Eva; and that his worldwide best seller Millennium Trilogy is a catalogue of all forms of violence and discrimination endured by women.

Eva, an architect and a writer in her own right, writes that in a book on honour crimes, Stieg wrote: "The cultural and anthropological models used to explain these tragedies speak to the form of oppression involved but do not explain it. And so in India, women are set on fire; they are murdered in he name of honour in Sicily; they are beaten up on Saturday night in Sweden.... Yet culture does not explain why women all over the world are murdered, mutilated, 'circumcised,' mistreated, and forced to submit to ritual behaviours by men. Neither does it explain why men in our patriarchal societies oppress women."And he adds, "Systematic violence against women - because this violence is indeed systematic - would be the description used if such violence were directed against union members, Jews or handicapped person."Imagine what Stieg Larsson would have to say about the unspeakably brutal horror inflicted upon women and children in contemporary South African society; I can but only cringe, and imagine.

Regarding Women's Day dedications, I visited the Albert Luthuli Museum in Groutville this morning, its not far from Salt Rock, but more about that later. In the end it seemed rather apt that I visited his house, and the museum dedicated to him, on International Woman's Day. His wife, always just visible in his background, raised her head a good number of times in my brief visit to their home and graves. And it turns out that she's a mother of our nation: Respect. In particular Luthuli paid homage to her, and her strength and faith, in his 1960 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo.

Then, when I searched out his grave, I found hers alongside his, and upon it's gravestone the following is inscribed:

In loving memory of Mother Nokukhanya Luthuli
03-03-1902 - 14-12-1996
An industrious woman eats no bread of idleness. 
Her husband and children praise and honour her. 
For a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. - Proverbs 31

It's been a wonderful day; I'm enjoying its journey; these are very much notes on-the-run and over curry, beer and phone calls. Not to mention the crowd watching - I'm blissfully aware of the wonderfully chilled people of Durban: t-shirts, vests, shorts, slip-slops or even bare feet. Not to mention buggies, vests, tattoos and the most beautiful profiles.

Information:House of Curries: 275 Florida Road, Durban 031 303 6076 (no disclaimer required!)

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