You’re on a long slow road in the Karoo. It’s hot and dry and all of your previous girlfriends are hitchhiking out of Cradock. They’re standing there where they sell the mini metal and wire windmills near the turn off to the memorial for the Cradock Four which you really think you should one day make time for but you’ve by now driven way too far past the sign.
You don’t have enough room for all of your ex-girlfriends and so you stop at the furthest edge, closest to your most recent ex-girlfriend, in order to facilitate a quick getaway before the others catch up. Regrettably, this means you might lose your first ex-girlfriend, unless she manages to really put in a sprint…
As your four fastest ex-girlfriends pile into the car, the wire windmill sellers form a chorus to sing extracts from Boesman and Lena while doing a pantsula routine before marching up Tafelberg (the one in the Karoo, not the other one). You drive away, picking up speed between the weirdly shaped rocky outcrops. On top of each peak, barely visible, are small rubber replicas of ex-girlfriends dressed like Olive Schreiner doing voice exercises, while men wearing volksklere play jukskei in the square before nagmaal.
A low flying aeroplane appears pulling a streaming banner saying: “Apathy Now!” It’s accidentally shot out of the sky by a nuclear submarine still being paid off on credit. The reason for the mistake is that the captain of the sub was delayed because the buses ordered by the city council were made for the wrong side of the street, so when he tried to climb off he stepped out into traffic.
Taps are turned on and precious water is wasted in exuberant displays of outrage which floods computer labs and lecture venues. The flood douses cars still burning from a former fire. A joyful fury takes hold of the crowd.
Police join the dance, rhythmically bouncing rubber bullets off elbows and knees. The dancing becomes more and more frenetic, and now there’s singing – “put that bottle down, put it down.” The State is the wallflower at the party, taking a while to join in. Maybe it’s waiting for a better song, something more retro that won’t draw too much attention to itself…
Inmates set fire to their prison and find themselves trapped in smoke. Freedom, freedom, they lament, as their cells choke them in darkness.
Somewhere a roomful of people are sweating as they spin the wheels of mounted bicycles going nowhere to loud ambient rhythms.
Protest becomes institutionalized. Classes teach a history of protest and researchers explore its framing mechanisms. Students attend workshops, learning how to revolt better, how to dislocate systems. The workshops break down, however, when protestors disrupt the protest classes. Yes, the teacher encourages – excellent, now you’re getting it. The protestors attack the teacher and carve an A+ into his chest with a red bic ballpoint.
You chase the horizon.
The horizon does what it does best.