Whilst I was still on the UBUNTU journey, one of my hosts told me a little about Osho. He said that I should type ‘Osho’ and the F-word (the actual word!) into google and see what happens.
A few months ago, I read going through the notes again and my curiosity got the better of me:
I was not sure how I felt about this, having grown up in a home where sh*t is a swear word. But I became an instant fan of Osho’s work.
Yesterday was a very full and eventful day, and one that slammed me right into my relationship with this accursed f-word.
Events, as they happened 24April 2012:
It was about 5.20 pm and a warm day for this time of the year in the Mother City. I was on my way home after a successful meeting with the creative team working on the UBUNTU book. It might only be Tuesday, but it’s been a rough week with a lot of drama: a blast from the past; admin delays with setting up the non-profit ; a psychotic woman harassing me on facebook; and one of my favourite Bo-Kaap friends resorted to living on the street. All and all, I was not ‘feeling it’ so much.
I was nearing the corner of Darling and Sir Lowry heading towards the Castle when something just didn’t feel right. Straight ahead of me, and about 4metres away, I saw two men, with hard faces communicating with one another, using eye and hand gestures that alerted me to the fact that I’m about to walk into an ambush. It was too late to turn around and everything happened so fast. One guy at each side. We walked in unison for about two or three steps. My earphones were still in my ears, though I heard no music. They were so smooth, their MO well oiled, they knew who was going for what. I had two bags. One was a shoulder bag, criss-crossed over the front. The other was a bag I do not usually carry. Because it belongs to my dad and is a shockproof bag for his hard drive (also on loan to me). Instead of the hard drive, the bag carried a mock-up of our UBUNTU book, albeit my scrapbook version
I just snapped! This has been an unusual week of being pushed and I’ve had it! I grabbed onto the bags. Tight. Both hands. And started screaming
FUCK YOU! AND FUCK YOU! With both hands busy, I started kicking wildly, fending off shots from them both. Using the shock proof bag to moer (hit) them over the head as well. YOU’RE NOT TAKING MY BOOK!
Osho would have been so proud! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU rolled of my tongue and at quite a volume! Continuously
Kick moer kick moer.
I was not aware of their actions a much as being aware of my own.
I have no idea how long this lasted. Perhaps one minute? The earphones were no longer in my ears and I heard noises streaming in again and started hearing voices. The fighting stopped a quickly as it started. The guys were running away. I saw them leave but don’t know which direction they went into. The space around me was suddenly filled with people. I looked around. Vehicles had pulled over, people were leaving their vehicles, engines running, to come and see if I was ok. Some people stayed in their cars. I presume that I’d stopped shouting FUCK YOU by this stage, because I vaguely remember going up to the cars and saying ”THANK YOU ” …for stopping, I’m ok”. With as much dignity as I could muster, I searched the scene. Am I still wearing my shoes? Yes. Oh, that’s the leather strap for my bag. Bend. Pick it up. Straighten. Walk on. Smiling and saying: thank you, I’m ok.
One of the vehicles that pulled over, was a taxi. “Thank you, I’m ok”
No! We must go to the Police Station and report this. The driver, the gouchie, the passengers and a few witnesses from the scene, were not going to leave me there on the sidewalk. I was resistant. The fight still in me. A security officer, Mongezi, got out of the taxi, put his arms around me and told me that I would also need a paramedic. “You’ve been stabbed” The words “…with a scredriver” followed in slow motion
The taxi driver was seething with anger. They’ve even apprehended a woman who they believe is an accomplice in the incident. The passengers were saying: ‘This should not be allowed to happen!’ Everybody dug into their bags to find tissues to stop the bleeding. Mongezi appointed himself as my personal carer. I mumbled something about him having to take care when dealing with blood. He gently tucked at the shockproof bag, which I was still cluthing under the stabbed arm, not wanting to alarm me, but wanting to tend to me. I had not lost anything. Even my sunglasses were still on my head.
And then it hit me. The worst and the best in our humanity. I was completely overwhelmed by the fact here I was experiencing UBUNTU in it’s purest form in the light of the ugliness that we just witnessed: If somebody attacks you, they attack me. Tears. Sobs. Comforting hands patting me.
They dropped me off at the Police Station. Thank you. Baie Dankie. Enkosi kakhulu. Siyabonga. The procedure at the Police Station was quick, the paramedics were there in 10 minutes. I overheard one of the witnesses, Mark say: “Yo, she was fighting. She was so funky!”Mongezi stayed around until the paramedics arrived. I say no thank you to going to the hospital, the cut does not seem that deep. With a new found respect for the paramedics, I thank them and hope their day improves. From their stories, it’s been a rough day. I ask Marc on more than one occasion: “So, I’m funky, hey?”
And then I made a call. A call not to call my flatmate. It is now about 6.20 pm and just gone dusk. These are our streets. The voice in me rising, defiantly: you are not a victim. As you were. Not ‘their’ streets or ‘my’ streets, but our streets. I was walking home with the most liberated feeling of freedom I remember the blogpost I wrote about fear and I wanted to reconcile what happened in the dream and how different I reacted today – http://letterdash.com/skruse/fierce-some-dreaming
When I got home, the first words to Liani, my flatmate, was: “Don’t freak out. I’m ok” before giving her a rundown of events. My blood soaked dress and graze on my toplip, did very little to comfort her. Yet another angel on the day, as she helped me into a change of clothes, a cup of tea and arranging for her boyfriend, a a doctor, to come over and give me a check up, tetanus injection, and a thorough cleaning and dressing of the wound. When he informs me that it’s quite a deep cut, about 2.5 cm deep, I must have seemed disappointed, because he says: “More like 3cm” He suggested some stitches, and I watched in awe as he sewed me up, with Liani as ‘nurse’.
So getting back to the f-word. According to Osho, it is a magical word, which just by it’s sound can describe pain, pleasure, hate and love. Well, this event certainly had it all. In my shouting of FUCK YOU, and in protecting myself, I can’t help but wonder at the images that flooded into my mind. The book that I was so fiercely protecting, is the carrier of the lives of 150 South Africans, all bearing their pain, pleasure, hate and love. And the question I suppose I really will want myself to answer is: Why not let it go? Were these not the exact guys that need to read our story?
What is the moral of the story? Or, what is the bottom line?
Well if it’s a question of math, if our humanity is tied up in numbers, then ubuntu is alive by a ratio of 2:22+ (number of attackers, number of rescuers)
If it’s a matter of the heart, it is 1:1.
You attack, I attack
You are attacked? I am attacked.
We are in this human condition together
Time it took to type this with one hand: 2 hours 55 minutes
As always, thank you for reading
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