5.0 – Closer look at the Fringe and BDay Cake at Ashraf’s

In the middle of it, we sort of snugged out from the City Dialogue event to have a walking tour around the Fringe. From Half moon we walked through the buzzing bus/taxi/train station, which after the walkthrough our guide, Yehuda, told us that probably 90% of Cape Townians (close to mountains) have actually never done so. Roughly said, to walk there you need a reason to walk there, and the only reason is to take the bus or train, and rarely these city people have to do so. Pity. Public transport is probably one of the biggest issues to over come in Cape Town, people love their cars – because they’re – and the public option is not; perceived or yet. Anyhow, they have a massive amount of really good plans to revitalize and reurbanise the whole area. And I love the fact that they’ve included so many areas and stakeholder to join the planning; from using an old lot that was reserved for a new street – which is traffic planning, to abandoned or overlooked buildings to give space to star-ups – to private property owners to support green areas in the Fringe. We visited companies, local stores and were even at the gates of a safe home.

Some how it seems to me that from this dismissed piece of land, so many magnificent and urgent things are arising. Like I said in my CS presentation, fringe is as the far edge of society, between belonging and being the port of departure – it does give us the murky things, or if not give it to us – fringe brings the issues to our face, to the state of no denial of what ever is wrong with the society, but also fringe is the nest for new emerged cultures, practices and so on. I feel like we own a lot to the fringe areas of all of our cultures; we need to listen to those weak signals, and we need to nurture the positive interventions they bring to our status quo society. Fringe is dada to anyone who wont want to understand, and fringe is art of living to anyone who does. Thank you Cape Town, and Cape Town Creative, for pointing out a resource that is too often overlooked and dismissed, we all have them, them Fringes in out own cities. And I believe in fringe – I think I belong there and root from there.

The evening ended with us joining Ashraf Jamal, highly appreciated author, multi-disciplinarian thinker and a teacher, philosopher – so might I even say a polymath. Ashraf invited us to his beautiful home in Observatory, East from CPT downtown and the welcome was just awesome; a bunch of 14-17 yo boys in drag, wiggling on the street. The thing was that the party originally was for Ashraf’s daughters 15th bday, but she had an transportation issue, so we were all left to wait and some of her friends – the boys, just had the benefit of time and went through her clothes to decorate themselves for the party – nice. But I digress.. We had a really interesting insightful conversation with Ashraf about the future of academia – where will we move, from the concept of knowledge cathedral to bazaar. We talked about academic and ethical integrity of response and intervention in discursion – to which Ashraf coined one of the funniest most to point terms; ethical Tourette. Which I could in a way describe in personal perspective like this; I need to be me, even though there is nothing in it for me. We all shared this notion of the need and in it, the only real reason to do what you do. Ethical tourette doesn’t mean no-compromise or puritan mindset – it just means, that when ever one feels there is something right or something wrong, one is vocal about it no matter what. And I feel compassion towards the notion – I do feel I have suffered from ethical Tourette. One more thing to feel kinda proud of.

The Fringe (again)
Ashraf Jamal (I’m sorry his lecture given in the latest Creative Morning, Cape Town isn’t online yet, but I’ll replace this link with it as soon as I can find it)