A Day of Divali in Johannesburg

As dawn delivers its chorus sun stretches molten arms through night clouds that evaporate in light of the new day. The jacarandas have sown leaves across the road at midnight to harvest my gaze this morning. I graze. And I leave Houghton to arrive an hour later along the majestic driveway of St Andrews Girls High School in Bedford View. 8am.

Actor and writer Phillippa Yaa De Villiers greets me with Vanessa Cooke her director a founding member of Market Theatre who runs the laboratory there. There’s a couple of hundred students in the lecture hall to see Phillipa’s play Original Skin. And for the next hour I am transported into a devastating gripping and uplifting drama. I am here to watch and listen.

At 2pm I arrive in Melville – london equivelant Hampstead/camden – to see Lebo Mashille the poet and polymath. Lebo is now due her child. We laugh. It's pretty simple. We have a la-A-ugh and we drink coffee at the cafe!! At six pm I am downtown having crossed Nelson Mandela Bridge I reach Market Theatre. ANd I'm on stage at 8.15pm the lights flick off and I'm reading words that could describe dark moods and last night “Dark. In darkness always comes the question Where is the light?”. But the next word of the play says it all. The stage floods with illumination and the next word is “Light!!” Outside I hear the fireworks spraying thereselves across the sky – Light Light Light. Happy Divali.

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