Operation Oysterhood: 7 September

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

A morning flower walk on the Rondebosch Common with my love. The best start to a busy week.

But most of today was spent in front of the computer, with a few short breaks for household duties: ironing, brass polishing, cleaning, etc. I loved harvesting my potatoes, Mozart assisting (of course). We planted onions that had gone wild in the kitchen instead.

We won’t be able to feed the nation, but there will be a lovely potato dinner soon. Served with butter and salt and happiness.

As people who know and/or read me will remember, I am a tennis fan. And I have been following the US Open on and off for the past week, but not with much enthusiasm, I must admit, at least not on the men’s side. My favourites are not playing. And I had no intention of watching the one player who had been dominating the men’s game during the Open and was basically destined to win his next grand slam, especially not after the disastrous Adria Tour earlier this year and the ferment over the players’ association. So you can imagine that the tennis news of this morning was music to my ears. I watched the relevant video clip, and then read some of the articles and comments on his disqualification with a sense of relief: not because he is out of the tournament, but because his persistent reckless attitude has finally palpable consequences. I know that he is a hero and idol to many, but so is the Tangerine Troll. I find both to a lesser or greater extent uncomfortable to observe in their respective positions. It’s the sense of arrogance and carelessness with which they encounter the world that I find comparable. And their cowardice when it comes to acknowledging responsibility. We all make terrible mistakes. We all hurt others. But it is the way we deal with these hurts that is interesting to watch: whether we make the aftermath about the aggrieved party or ourselves. Why not stay for the media conference? Apologise immediately and unequivocally? What I also find revealing is the level of hatred aimed at the woman who was hurt in the incident by his fans, as if she had been somehow at fault. There is a reason why the rules that disqualified him are in place – they are there to protect people. And in this case, they revealed that sometimes it takes only a moment and an unintentional action to expose a character that cannot be curated and masked at all times. It is when the mask slips that we learn about who or what we are really dealing with …

In a way, it’s no different to a careless placement of an advert – it can reveal a whole history of injustice and pain.

We mustn’t look away from these moments of disruption, when momentarily someone or something are shown for who and what they truly are. It is not easy having to deal with these incidents, but it is the only way we can learn, grow and move forward with more understanding and compassion for our fellow travellers.

The weave easily came off as she pulled at the strands that attached it to Angel’s hair. As she gently removed the weave, Angel’s hair was revealed. It was thick, black and rich, shining with a healthy sheen that rivalled the weave. She stared at the hair, her hands sinking into the clumps. She felt the hair, tracing every precious spiral with care and love.

“A Woman’s Glory” by Kholofelo Maenetsha, HAIR: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity (2019)

Let us proceed with “care and love”.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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