Thursday, October 17, 2013

Devil's Peak

Walking home after gym in the dark - how relieved I was to have finally gotten there, I still cannot believe how I'd put off going - I stared into the heart and labyrinths of homes along the route; well, into those that I could see into at least, those with hearts of light.

It was a clear night, and because the moon is waxing, the mountain - Devil's Peak - was lighted up and  ghostily clear against a navy-charcoal sky. Solid, reassuring, silent but seeing; I felt connected, rooted and safe.

It's the folk living down below, in the well heeled suburbs that I was silently and unseen making my way through, who aren't feeling safe.

They have barricaded themselves into their homes, behind high walls, insurmountably dangerous fences, wall spikes, endless reels of barbed wire and electric fencing, motion sensors and beams, with armed response on mountain bikes or in motor vehicles for extra protection.

On this southern tip of Africa there's a sense that the weight of an entire continent is crushing down on to to this rocky, sometimes windswept peninsular, that people are between a rock and a hard place. Precariously perched, under attack, unable to leave their lagers.

I wondered if it was worth it, living like this.

I'm negotiating my way through my new life in this city. Postcard pretty, superficially perfect, hardly a crack to be seen, at first. Into my fourth month here I find myself seeking a survival formula with which to justify my existence here. I also need to appease my conscious.

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