I have had many of you wonder where I have disappeared to. Some of you thought that I am still in the Tankwa.. i wish. I am in Jozi - good ol' JoBurg and Winter has properly settled into the bones.
Where do I begin?? After such an incredible experience as AfrikaBurn end of April, I have been so in touch with a reality that filled my veins with so much life, love, exuberance and creativity. I can give many reasons for not blogging after my extraordinary cycle trip and the Afrikaburn experience. The most obvious reason is simply that I was swept up into such a real life, a life that could not be "documented" in cyberspace. The places in my soulspace I have been to defies any journaling, somehow. Once again, i am bugged by the banality of publisizing my life like this. Yet I am making peace with the idea. Good thing - or bad thing?? - I have started to be more active on facebook, and I will be honest, I have found it rewarding and challenging. At night when I go to sleep, the last thing I see is facebook messages on my blackberry. and the first thing i do in the morning is fumbling my hand till it falls on my blackberry, put it on and wait for all the bells and rings to announce all my mails, twitters, sms', bbm's. What I feared will happen has happened - the cyberspatial tentacles have me in their full grasp, and I have started to grow an interesting frown-line between my eyes because of the intent look I focus on the small bb screen! haha! the blackberry frown!
So , jah, how do I reconcile this cyberspace with the ritual space I have been stepping in during and after AfrikaBurn? By doing what I am doing now - stepping right into the wonderful communicative space of the internet and sharing the Great Story that this life is making me so beautifully part of!
How do I start relating the ritual space I have stepped into? Ritual I do not use here off-handedly. It is a space where one plays a role that is so fully you. Even if one puts masks on, or step out of one's clothes - it can all be a place of true reflection of the inner spirit - and AfrikBurn creates such a space. I had to go to the soil of the earth to find my ritual space. The piece I performed "Life Vitrified / Klei Verewig" turned out to be quite a success - the Afrikaans text I memorized were quickly supplanted by an improvised text. The audience, especially the children, were quite enraptured by this woman being born from the bowels of the earth. It was quite something to see how the audience numbers grew as I went to lie down into the hole I and volunteer "grave-diggers" dug the day before. Many people saw it as "the burial piece" - but I need to state that it was more of a birthing piece, a connection made with Mother Earth, and such a real connection it was. The Tankwa soil is rather rocky, so I came out of my performance quite bruised. What pains and wounds artists will suffer for their art! The piece fed directly on the theme of this year's Afrikaburn "Stof - The Primal Mud". I dialogued with the earth as a means of exploring identity, femininity, heritage, respect for the earth and the stuff - STOF we are all made of. I intended to perform it at least twice during the fest, but the gravity of the performance was such that I could only handle one performance on the Saturday (the Friday I intended it to be performed, a wedding took place at Afrikaburn - and I could not compete with the festive mood that was in the air!).
Most of the art work at Afrikaburn is "installations" of such mindblowing proportions. It takes so much resources for the creative minds and constructionists to rig their artistic and pyrophiliac visions (-; I find it awesome and moerse inspiring, especially at night when the artworks are set alight. I felt my contribution should be more modest - seeing that I don't have the resources and practicality to erect installations. And yeah - that is what most of the artworks at Afrikaburn is - erections - and I want to balance this very Masculine energy with the Female one - going into the earth. Armed with only body, voice, soul and soil I think I created a very needed installation.
The first thing I felt after the performance was a lostness, a strange sense of misplacement. But soon a more sure sense of Self took root. I felt changed. A confident layer of who I am, and what I can offer the world as a woman, a poet and a performer. A broadened sense of body and soul took shape. When I saw the video footage of videographer Gilles Chevalier I was astounded at how raw and honest the performance actually was. Two things made me nervous about doing this thing: the hard rocky soil covering my body could have easily cut-off circulation in my legs. The hole was not very deep, and yet the ground that covered me was incredibly heavy. The second nerve-wrecking aspect was the fact that I am alone in what I do. I have a vision of the message I want to bring over, and yet one deals with factors inhibiting that. The one thing - I insisted on performing in Afrikaans, yet well I knew many people in my audience are not versed in Afrikaans. Afrikaans for me is a language of the Stof, of the African Stof and soil. To do such a performance in a tongue other than your mothertongue would have defeated the entire feel/message of the piece. Reconciling all the complex facets of the Afrikaans-tongue, performing in the semi-nude, rolling around the mud and stof, challenging people's expectations of "performing" made it an event I will not forget. For me it was not performing, it was ritual, it was life, it was necessity as much as breathing. If my poetry needs to take me to the muddy breast of Mother Earth to discover truths and faces of myself, I will not stand in the way.