Soweto means SO-uth WE-st TO-wnship in the same way that Soho is SO-uth (of) HO-uston. Today we drive into Soweto where the homes were defined as such: A one room, a two room, a three room. This is how Apartheid Government could define and control whom and how many could reside in each house. The car draws through meadowlands of Zone4 to Chief’s family home.
Chief is a technician in Something Dark and lives in London. Inside the small front room next to the Kitchen is Chief, Gill, Nadia, Zani, Chiefs mother and I. I am bursting with happiness. Within minutes of our arrival food hovers through the room onto the table and we are treated to the most wonderful meal since my arrival.
As we ate one by one Chief’s childhood friends dropped by. They are youthful mid-fifties – men who have lived. The food was lamb and chicken and dumpling and rice and sweet ‘n’ sour vegetables and potato salad and home made coleslaw followed by ice cream and cake. I am so happy and relaxed. I like being here amongst my people.
I feel at ease and crack jokes and talk with anyone and everyone and I listen to the depth of laughter, the universiality of it. Afterwards we, the women and the men and the children, sat in the garden and as we relaxed and as the food worked its way gently through our bodies, the theatre of stories began.