Making The Cut

I wake at 5am in a cats cradle of birdsong, wrapped in its web and suspended from a giant dark tree in a forest of night. Light spears the canopy and from nowhere shoals of golden fish swim around me. Mourning breaks. Bit over the top that description? The play’s the thing and it’s working its ways into Joburganite hearts. The whispering wind of word of mouth becomes a warm gathering storm each night. I walk on stage in the calm before the storm or or in the eye of the storm. And raining tears of joy greet me as I leave stage door. South Africa is offering me love.

No more than now. I am taken to Little Ethiopia by journalist Samson Mulugeta who sits while I have my hair cut for the first time by an Ethiopian. This first Habesha haircut is as much a part of Something Dark as anything. Like this blog is memory in lieu of family. When I was a child they took me to the doctors because I had grey knees. My foster mother, a nurse, combed my afro hair each morning – it was the 70s – with a nit comb: a piece of metal with invisible slits.

She drew it back tearing my African skull. It was like she was pouring acid upon my head. I was introduced to the afro comb at ten years old. Now here I am in Little Ethiopia where my head gently leans backwards to the bowl and the Ethiopian Man pours the warm soothing oil upon it and slowly massages my tired tired scalp. And the job is done and the cut is made. It's as I always knew. My life is not about getting back what has been taken away from me but about becoming who I always was, him in the mirror, Smiling.

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