Showing posts with label xenophobia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label xenophobia. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our Socially Constructed Jungle - Poem

Socially Constructed Jungle

Over the seas
 Far away
In the neck 
Of the jungle
Trees casts shadows on our eyes

Until we wake up
We won't realise
We grew this jungle deep
and under these trees
I weep.

Don't deny that the trees grew
but were planted by you.
Don't forget that the sun is above.

We all belong
All belong to the roots.
We are the children of the bark.

Awaken to truths
before 
we create clouds
to covers the skies
Under these trees

Under these trees
I weep
Under these trees
We weep.

****



"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil,
but by those who watch them without doing anything"

-Albert Einstein

Let's consider and understand
 this socially constructed jungle
we live in will suffocate us all
if we don't recognise the harm
it has caused by the seeds
from which it was planted.


Dedicated to lives lost
 families in pain
Our global community mourns
A plea for
Truth and Reconciliation
For hate crimes across
the Globe.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cape Town Taxi Cab Drivers: Food for Thought


   A few years ago, I contacted Layne Mosler, founder of TaxiGourmet.com.  I admired her taxi journals and the search for New York City's best food joints by the city's very own cabbies.  I knew Cape Town would be a great place to explore the city's diverse culture, stories and places to eat. Food is not only a shared necessity, but I thought a unifying tool for positive interaction and meaningful conversations.  Highlighting taxi cab driver's tips and favourite spots, could promote a broader awareness, respect and appetite for the cultural diversity and flavours in our city.  Since then, I have met various cab drivers and digested delicious food and interesting stories that come from various parts of the country and Africa.  

  Today, I sat on the steps of Darling St. and Plein St. with Eti, an independent taxi driver.  He shared some thoughts about Cape Town, his struggles and happiness and where a vegetarian, like himself, goes to eat Cape Town's best burger.

         


  It was past lunch time, and the streets were full of Saturday shoppers.  Four young men were playing "Beautiful Girl" on trombones and trumpets with a growing crowd of afternoon spectators.  While Eti waited for customers he told me that making a living on four wheels gives him happiness and minimal stress. 

"To work for yourself is very good. I like people and I enjoy being a taxi driver." 

 His jovial smile and sociable manner matched the slogan painted across his white taxi: Meet as Strangers, Leave as Friends.  Eti has been an independent tax cab driver for four years.  He arrived in Cape Town, South Africa from Burundi, in 2000.  He left his birth country, Burundi, as a young man to avoid being forced to fight in the army.

"I came by ship to Zambia," he proclaimed, "I came to seek peace."

He crossed Lake Tanganyika, the world's longest fresh water lake in the world, to escape the war in Burundi.  Four days later, he arrived in Cape Town to meet his brother and cousins who had settled here.

"Cape Town is my home city, no doubt.  But my refugee status is the only problem.  It's like you're in prison. When my father passed away I couldn't leave because of my refugee status.  This makes me sad.  If I wanted to leave and go on holiday, maybe Mozambique or Zambia, I can't."

  A person with refugee status in South Africa can lose their refugee or asylum status if they leave the country without permission from The Ministry of Home Affairs.  Applying for asylum in South Africa involves applying for a permit/Section 22 every three months until their application is approved.  The permit does not recognise a person as a refugee, it is simply proof that they have applied for the status.  If the application is approved, then the person will receive a refugee document ID and travel documents, which have to be renewed every two years.

Before Eti became a taxi driver in Cape Town, he worked as a security supervisor in Groot Constantia near Jonkershuis Restaurant.  

"The owner of Jonkerhuis, Chris, is a good friend.  He is a good person to me.  I know him because I was looking after his business when I worked in security."

He shared his thoughts about Cape Town and what makes it different from where he grew up.

"It's a city with a lot of different people and different countries.  Even the city authorities care for the people in the Mother City."

In the winter season, taxi cab drivers work longer hours to meet their daily quota.  For Eti, he parks his taxi close to one of his top three lunch spots.

"Eastern Food Bazaar has everything; Asian, Pakistani, Indian.  I like the fried rice. I'm a vegetarian," he proclaimed. "It's keeps you strong, and it keeps me healthy. 

His second choice on where to eat in Cape Town is Jonkershuis.

"I eat their burger."  He confessed that the burgers are so tasty that even a vegetarian would eat them. :)

"I also eat at the Nigerian restaurant on Loop St near the Pepper Club.  I enjoy the bitterleaf soup." 

 "I'll definitely try that!" I answered.

I asked him what else he wanted to tell people visiting or living in Cape Town. 

"Instead of people being afraid of Cape Town's city or the taxi drivers, they must trust us,"  Eti added.

  This sentiment is shared by many independent Cape Town taxi cab drivers.  Besides finding cabbie's recommendations for Cape Town's restaurants and cafes, sitting down and listening to stories of Cape Town cabbies highlights our culturally-plural and complex city.  It promotes an exchange of ideas, reveals global topics and issues and promotes a greater understanding of our city and fellow citizens.  Many cab drivers in the Cape Town continue to share and access the best of what the city has to offer and like Eti, reveal their happiness and peace by calling Mother city their home.  

_______________________________________________________
*names have been changed.  

 On May 25th, 100 in 1 Day, a festival of doing was activated in Cape Town with over 100 urban interventions/activities/installations, etc.  Taxi Cab Lunch, was an intervention to motivate people to Taste, Share and Explore the city through the eyes of Cape Town's cab drivers.





Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Taxi Cab Lunch: 100 in 1 day Cape Town-A social movement for citizen-powered change

100in1day_introduction1 - YouTube:

 On May 25th, 2013-- Citizens across the world and Cape Town, South Africa will take part in a 100 or more urban interventions across their communities, streets, towns and neighbourhoods created and implemented by every one and any one interested. Inclusive Acts of Experience.

 Some interventions may be:
 - establishing a public bench with sound equipment for citizen expression, music and message sharing.    - urban gardening
 - city soup swaps
 - installing park equipment
 - planting trees
 - pasting art

 "Citizens, organisation, students, children, teachers, rebels, and politicians are invited to voice their dreams through actions, pop-up events, performances, social games, artistic interventions, and urban hacks. Together we will create a diverse and uncontrolled global movement."  Orange Innovation-KaosPilots

 I visited the KaosPilot's temporary hub for 100 in 1 day Cape Town on 36 Buitenkant Street, upstairs from the Truth Coffee HQ.

I submitted my intervention and invite all of you to become a part of participating in it.

It's called Taxi Cab Lunch: Travel. Experience. Taste. Share.

  Instead of asking a cab driver to take you where you want to go, you get in and engage: ask... Where do you like to  eat lunch?  

 This springs into a genuine exchange through a shared common bond we all share…food, a language that connects us across age, background, economic and verbal language barriers. The variety of our interactions may lead to meaningful and genuine exchange between different crosssections of our society, our city.  It may also highlight many issues and realities of our city and country beyond it's borders.  The taxi cab lunch is a way to bridge our borders and be an aid toward exchange and respect in a cultural diverse canvas … raising our awareness through the experience of food in the culturally plural African city we all share.  As we open our minds and palettes, we can share our experiences. Accessing a part of the city through the eyes and stomach of your fellow urban citizen: The learning starts there.  

 So hop in a cab, and travel, experience, taste and share.  

 Write, blog,  take pictures, GoPro, video, film, audio record and share it across your favourite medium.  

  Send me a link and share your thoughts.  Be inspired!  I was . . . http://www.taxigourmet.com/about-taxi-gourmet/

 Ready, set, . . .  May 25th, 2013: Taxi Cub Lunch.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Athens Graffiti Art Tells a Tale: Anti-Violence, Anti-Racist, Anti-Xenophobic


  I used to work in Exharia, Athens-Greece.  I read the walls from the Ommonia Metro station all the way to Exharia's platia.  For me, reading the walls shared the visual pulse of the city, the issues, the political climate, the stories unheard. Today, I don't read the walls.  I live in South Africa.  But today I read the Athens News from the internet: "Racist violence escalates." Citizens hating citizens, humans attacking humans within these man-made borders we create.

  The unrest in Greece is not isolated there.  The messages I read on the walls in Greece reaffirmed why I love graffiti.  They portray different headlines and display opinions in different syntax without a web address or a printing press.  Just some spray paint, a marker or a sticker will do.

  They are public forums.  Tales are told.  I took these photos last summer and the messages still ring true.  Anti-violence.  Anti-Xenophobic.  What is Xenios Zeus, the Athens police campaign to kick out anyone without govt. papers, going to do for the betterment of our world?   To all the writers in Athens: Keep pasting, keep writing peace on Athens streets and advocate for change.

A wheat paste paper sticker on the wall with the image of HATE.  Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

This is my favorite of our cultural pluralism.  Freedom is a global right.

Greedy servings of the pie.  Austerity serving anyone?  Pro-Hemp stencil on the top right corner.

Anti-Nazi stencil, Anti-Prejudice, Anti-Racism, Anti-Xenophobic!

The Television will not be Revolutionised

"Running from the thoughts, I keep bumping back into it, trying to get away-keeps dragging me into"
Note: look are the Burqa stencil and then the X over it. 

In the streets near the public university 

Anyone is a Citizen member

Pissing on the Golden Dawn (far-right political party in Athens, Greece)
   

 


  

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