I wrote part of this via previously email to people; partly to explain why the long delay in posting new installments; partly to explain what new tragedy had befallen me and my hosts.
So we’re at the house in the aspiring-to-be-middle-class coloured area of Cape Town, just west of downtown and beyond the former and yet to be re-sold but not returned District Six, when there’s a knocking outside. I had arrived the previous night to a house that had no front steps, no front porch, just a huge hole where someone had demolished the whole front of a house. Reason? The owner, a much loved- and celebrated Cape “drag queen and female entertainer,” wanted a new deck built. To do so required the destruction.
Basil, an actor and now producer, and I are slow rousing because we were up too late catching up with each others lives. There is some yelling back and forth between Basil and the guys digging and pounding out front, when the big news arrives. The workers have cut the main water line into the house. The workers didn’t like working around it. They didn’t ask for permission. They just cut the pipe.
We have no water in the house. We stink. Can’t even brush our teeth. We have work to do but cannot do it here. So we are plotting our escape. Basil reaches Lugmaan Adams. Basil describes him as a good friend, a protege of Basil’s housemate (who is at a funeral in Swaziland), one of the young lions of South Africa’s next generation of actors/writers. It seems we’re being plucked from this house in Walmer Estate (next to historic District Six) and we’re off to another house on the other side of the cape peninsula called Muizenberg.
This is after I do walkabout and find some thinks go ponder. Such as my theories about today’s trends in SA architecture. I believe today’s home owners are reaching back to the earliest times in South African history to draw ideas from. Take the similarity between the stunning Castle of Good Hope with its high walls, moats, and parapets, heavily guarded entrances. Then consider todays homes, from the ground up or renovated, they are increasing closed to the street, presently a defended wall with limited access points, where the only sign of life takes place within its walls, hidden from view.
If you don’t believe me, compare the pix.