Monday, August 10, 2009

reclaiming authenticity

Standing on the paved concourse just in front of the old Market Theatre complex, a wave of elation washes over me. The wind flicks wisps of hair around my face. Pigeons scatter across the tarmac in front of me; a minibus trundles by. I twirl around to face my host, and the old building proudly bares it's chest to reveal it's status as Museum Africa. This is where it's all being happening; the launch of my new book: Memoirs For Kimya, the networks of creativity and all things bookish, and the energy of the literary arts infiltrating the Jozi CBD.

It's the end, now. Everything has been packed into the boots of our cars, and the backseats heave with some posters and flyers and layers of pink cloth that gave temporary flesh to the skeletons of steel tables. The azaan from the nearby Newtown mosque punctuates the calm air, spreading its sweet fragrance through the Newtown precinct. Calmness prevails. I have so much to be thankful for. To Him who renders me speechless by the Beauty that is revealed in my life.

Cars speed by on the highway within view; we're tucked away underneath the bustle of it all. I appreciate the variance: usually, I am one of those car's speeding between the North and the South on the upper levels of the highway networks, little realising the authentic value of spaces that lie beneath all that craziness. Spaces that wait to be reclaimed as the Real forces of life. Not drenched in hastiness, but rather quenched by contentment and a simple gratitude of the creative life of a city filled with history and activism; a celebration of life in every way.

And this, really, was the theme for this years Jozi Book Fair: the intention to reclaim authentic space in the city. When I met with the organisers for the last time yesterday, accolade was passed between us in a wholesome relay. A general happiness prevailed. And I know for certain that a shift in my consciousness has occurred. And I have remembered many things long forgotten in my choice to take the rollercoaster through my days. Stillness speaks :)

And there's more. Coincidence? You decide: About two weeks ago, I ordered a gift for myself. I knew at that point already, that it was a significant gift to present to myself. A gift of tranquility. A gift of seeking rest. In content, it may seem superficial compared to the symbolism in context. Let me explain...
As a child of five, I remember visiting my mother's grandfather in Potgietersrus in the Limpopo Province. He was a tall man, as even his photo's confirm, and even more so to a tiny person as a toddler might be. He used to call me 'Sakeenah' instead of 'Shafinaaz'. I often asked my mom why he chose to do this, and she would say: He knows secrets that we have yet to learn. And she would smile when saying this. I thought it was meant to pacify me. But sakeenah means tranquility. I may have been the coolness of his eyes... :)

And so in an effort to celebrate my layered forms of self-identification, I bought myself a little work of art by the artist of Soul&Paper. It's called 'Sakeenah', and was delivered to my delight, on Saturday night. Thank you!

Indeed. Stillness speaks!

7 comments:

Americanising Desi said...

you are the coolness of my eyes, most definitely!

Saaleha Bamjee-Mayet said...

I feel blessed to have been able to make that for you:)

Azra said...

Wow, congrats Miss :D

Lovely story too. Your grandfather was right BTW. You exude Sakeenah.

I hope all went well at the Book Fair. I wasn't in JHB this weekend otherwise I would have come too. Well here's to the beginning of many more great things to come :D

Azra said...

PS. I was at home most of the weekend with a back ache from hell. Luckily though, I had many people keeping me entertained :D

shafinaaz said...

aw AD: thanks hun. ur pure sweetness :)

SBM: blessings are layered. almost like onions :)

Ms Azra: thank you kindly. sorry to hear about your back injury! i hope that u feel better asap. have u tried cupping? otherwise keep your feet up and stock up on some good reads. take it easy. mwah!

shabz said...

Hey dude , all the best with your new book :)

shafinaaz said...

thanks dudette shabz :) and thanks for stopping by the bookfair! i stilll owes u coffee...