Intro: Right now, I am so in love with David Hirson’s “I Remember King Kong” therefore I decided to share memories from today’s matatu adventure in a similar style…
I remember the matatu driver’s rude response when I asked whether he will pass by Fire station…it was in Zulu but I could feel it, it sounded like,” Dah! all the matatus passing here pass by the fire station.” Well, it looks like the traffic rain had other plans.
I remember reading the ” I remember Kingkong(the boxer)” excerpt, too engrossed to notice the route being used was different.
I remember reading ” I remember Steve Biko’s smile” and smiling only to look up and see that we were really in the middle of nowhere, at least to my foreign Kenyan brain.
I remember turning to the guy who had opened the door to the matatu for me and asking him if we shall really still pass by firestation.
I remember wondering what had made his lips swell so much.
I remember his affirming resounding yes that was followed by a reminder to the driver to drop me at firestation.
I remember the driver dropping me at some street in Hillbrow.
I remember my verification of his vague directions being met by irritation.
I remember the heaps of garbage lining part of the street.
I remember shaking as I walked that street,so lonely yet so busy.
I remember ridding myself of all the frightening thoughts about Hillbrow that I had acquired from reading Mphaswane’s “Welcome to Hillbrow”.
I remember making a note of the long queue at the taxi rank and resisting the urge to get out my phone to look at the GPS to firestation in case any of the hundreds would see me as target.
I remember recalling all the safety tips I had to cram before going out for a mall trip at the African Leadership Academy.
I remember Rancho in ‘Three Idiots’ whispering “…the heart is foolish…”to the fearful religious guy.
I remember the kind old man sweeping the entrance of some office.
I remember how he called me back to ensure that I had gotten his directions after explaining them to me..
I remember his kind smile and my thinking that he had to be Zimbabwean.
I remember getting lost despite his directions.
I remember wanting to ask the policemen in the police car for directions but quickly changing my mind as one got out revealing the huge gun that hung from his waist.
I remember too many police cars on what looked like a quiet gloomy morning.
I remember thinking that a robbery must have happened the previous night…maybe I was about to hear some gun shots? I remember being drenched in sweat yet it was cold outside my umbrella where it drizzled and misted.
I remember the South African guard who seemed to be having a bored morning and took up the task of showing me my way with so much fervour.
I remember finally getting to Fire-station and wanting to kiss its walls.
I remember catching the school bus to Wits at 20 to 0900.
I remember rushing past the noticeboard with the “History of Sex” poster and making a mental note to read the description in small text below.
I remember arriving 15 minutes late and not feeling as guilty as I thought I would because there were many of us, also “…it could have been worse”.
I remember finally settling and thanking God that I had schemed through the slides before-hand.
I remember thinking that “passive design” was the only concept where being passive was a good thing…