There are few things as freeing, as validating, as anchoring, as sitting in a room filled with young people talking about our lived realities.
Last month some friends and I joined Debate Club, an initiative by the good people at Live Mag. There have only been two “meetings” but so far so great. It happens once a month on the last Tuesday of that month at the Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein.
The first time we went, we discussed being African – what it means or what it should mean. We had a robust discussion about we can and should be doing to uphold certain traditions, how others should move on with the times and what kind of things “led us astray” if you will. Some of my favourite quotes from the floor that night:
“Townships are dormitories for cheap labour” – a comment on the ill notion of glorifying living in townships.
“We just don’t know ourselves.”
“We’re not living in a context that is made for Africanism.”
Last week at the second meeting, the proverbial heat in the kitchen got turned up a few notches as we embarked on a topic that was bound to be explosive – race. In particular race in South Africa in relation to the so called “rainbow nation”.
To try to sum up what people said would be reductive, luckily I was tweeting like a mad woman. Will embed a few favourites to give a brief peek into what went down:
It was a night for the “angry black” – a night to speak our minds with reckless abandon that brimmed with obvious frustration. It was a night to say we are here, this is what we see and we don’t like it.
It was so necessary, so enlightening and equally depressing. I’m glad that I’ve found this space – I look forward to many more nights like the ones we’ve already had.