Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 11:13 PM Cape Town Time- My Dorm (LBG)

            Being the only person in a classroom that is willing to talk is pretty annoying. That is how it is in my history tutorial though. Nobody seems willing to try and answer the questions posed by the tutor. Today he was so annoyed he actually called on me when I wasn't raising my hand at all just because he knew I would actually say something. lol. It makes me realize that I really learn by actively engaging with material. But it also makes me worry that I'm too quick to talk and not listen. I'm going to try to be more conscious in my dealings with people to not dominate conversation but to really try to listen and learn from what they have to say.

            My impulse to cop this James Baldwin collection was such a good one. Reading Baldwin while being abroad is really helping me make snese of my journey and experiences. There are times when instead of write a blog entry I would rather just copy and paste parts of Baldwin's essays and writings about being abroad and also about coming into contact with Africans and the Negro's place in the larger African world. I've read Baldwin before and of course I aspired to be in his tradition enough to shape my last chapbook around an essay of his (and a similar cover design) but now I feel like this is the first time I'm really connecting with more of his work. I really feel like a player in his tradition, if only an exceedingly minor one.

            Today I went to LEAP School and got to kick it with some of the kids there. I hung out with the grade 11 boys. They were very cool. We talked about South Africa and the states and girls (they loooove black American women, lol). I also rapped for them and we talked about music. They were legitimately thrilled I think to hear someone rap like that in real life and not on TV or on a record. It was pretty cool. Hopefully at least some of them will join my cultural activity when I try to teach a little bit of creative writing and rap.

            I've also been emailing back and forth with my homie Ben Spacapan. He's in Istanbul right now finishing up an internship with Coca-Cola. I know a lot of times I come off harsh in this journal and like I'm making snap judgments of people because of how they look but I really hope that when I engage with people I really give them a chance. Talking to Ben always reminds me of that because he is exactly the "type" of person I'd be dismissive of quickly (rich, white, Republican, Ivy League, frat boy, etc.) but he is one of my best friends and one of the most thoughtful people I know. His responses to some of the things I've written in my blog really challenged me and made me think about why I have certain feelings rather than just blindly having them. His conversation keeps me honest. It always has and that's why I've always valued him as a friend so much.

            Also this evening when I was talking to my South African roommates we talked about ethnicity and how it impacted relationships. Neither was opposed to being involved with a woman from a different ethnic group but my one Xhosa flatmate said he would most likely marry a Xhosa woman. His chief reasoning was so that when his son became a man and had to go through his initiation she would understand the demands of that immediately. My other flatmate said his family was not as much into their tradition (Tesotho) and it wouldn't matter. To be honest listening I was kind of jealous that I didn't really have a body of tradition to look to in any substantive way. It's weird but I guess that's part of the condition of being American, particularly a black American. That kind of knowledge about tradition is nonexistent. Which give opportunity in some ways to create new tradition but it does in a sense make me feel like I'm missing something. Some of the initiation things he told me about reminded me of black Greek life in America. In a sense that's probably the closest thing that myself or my sons will have to initiate or teach them about manhood.

"i walk like a man and i walk what i talk and i walk, never ran."





my flatmate gave me the episodes of the boondocks I missed except the last one. i am happy.

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