Troyville. Monday, 6pm CAT.
This little village where I fell in-love with artists so many years ago and for a little while lived vicariously through the lives of eccentric artists such as Karl Gietle who now lives in a coastal French town in Sett, Wayne Barker my former landlord who found love and is now remarried to a French woman and is living happily in suburbia, Mervin Dowman the Mosaic artist who also is a keen craftsman, is also making a home somewhere else. Bra Peter, the disgruntled writer who used to live on the top floor, is now also selling and moving on to his real hometown, Brixton London with his girlfriend. Jessica the artist and mother of one sweet molly, Kacia the architect who wanted to be an artist is now a mother living in Cape Town, her brother Maciek is now living in Poland, writing, teaching, making films and looking after his grandmother. Katlego the singer with three beautiful children. Bheki the little guy on the stoep is not so little anymore, he now owns backpackers in the new gentrified Maboneng precinct and works a photographer. And then there’s me, the radio- journalist who was always in search of the meaning of life. After all these years the people, characters, that made this little town so fascinating have all moved, left in pursuit of happiness. I find myself now on the eve of my second departure from this institution called Berly Court, much clearer than when I first arrived. This little village of Nostalgia, of broken dreams, hearts, and friendships has made me realize just how fragile we all are. And how though we try to hide behind wide smiles and optimistic grins – we all feel a little lost, with a constant need, urge to belong somewhere, to someone, to something. To be relevant and understood without question. To be home.
The past two months here have been intensely emotional, I have met old friends, like Pamela whose now back in town and is living with her daughter and partner after years of being lost in Cape Town. Phibia who is now living in town with her new love. Mbali, the DJ who is now pursuing a career in photography and is on her way to Belgium to re-invent herself. Fumi a former colleague at the SABC whose wealth of knowledge about South African politics I never had time to discover, Nicole also a former colleague, is a writer and researcher who lives a mostly solitary life. Katarina, the German artist whose friendship has made my life a little easier to bear. Carole whose smile always reflects my own. Neli the travelling dancer, whose amazing talent persuaded me to pursue my secrete wish to be a dancer. Then there’s Lindiwe my name sake and an Actress who I met years ago while she was still studying drama at Rhodes University and I was on assignment. I finally got over her intoxicating beauty and saw for the first time that she is just as human as I will ever be. In the last couple of days there’s been a flurry of old faces, all of them once so close and but now so far, old lovers, moving on with new loves, homes, careers or maybe still searching in other parts of town or world. I’ve met new faces too, most of which I don’t remember anymore and will probably never see again. I realize as in life that this place has always been a transit-home. A station where people wait for a little while, until a dream with their name on it picks them up. People I’ve met here have always been on their way to somewhere else, to bigger dreams to a better life, to love, to something which remains even as I write this intangible, until it’s lived. I’ve walked these streets every day and discovered the decay, the loneliness and broken-ness hidden behind closed windows, loud music blaring from cars, TV screens, chisanyama’s , in faces who hearts are somewhere else far away. I can taste the hardship of life in the middle of no where between the city of Johannesburg and the airport to the world. It’s a place populated by migrants from Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, France, Germany, Soweto. I can taste the sweat of the daily hustle, the smell the frustration in perfumes and faces drained with alcohol. Life in Troyville seems to hang constantly and thinly on balance. As with money, jobs and relationships.
Today I feel mostly grateful for the time spent here, largely because I have somewhere to go, I have a family waiting for me, people I’ve known all my life and who have loved me and I them through all the ups and downs of life. I have always had a home, many homes in fact, in the hearts of those who’ve loved me unconditionally –who took me as I am. I’ve always had a home in those hearts that chose to love me irrespective of my many faults. For home truly is where the heart is. As to the meaning of life I have found that it is in Living. To live, with as much love, kindness, forgiveness and grace as we can possibly master, one day at a time.
Thank you all for continuing to read my blog this year, I have enjoyed the freedom of writing my heart on the page and to look at it, from time to time, again and again with you, because then I don’t feel so alone. I hope you are with the ones you love, with those in whose hearts you continue to find a home again and again. Happy Holidays! And let’s all toast to love in the New Year! And smile not because it ended, but because it happened.