The walls are coming down

2011-06-07 00:00

YES. Hey, look.

Hey, listen! Hoor julle die magtige dreuning? The walls are coming down.

Those of you who feel nostalgic about the heady days of the 2010 Football World Cup, don't fret. Happy days are here again.

Finally, we, as a nation, are starting to become part of what's happening in the rest of the world. South Africa is emerging as a new trending topic, the cutting edge, the bee's knees, whatever you call it. The communication lines are open.

It's happening everywhere now, not just in sport. It's local arts and culture (die kunste) that are now the flavour of the month.

Movin' on up.

When the South African film Skoonheid won the Queer Palm Award at Cannes, you could literally hear the cash registers crunching as the moguls and the big boys started looking south.

They did not look in vain. That success was swiftly followed by the spectacular

triumph of another film, Roepman, in local theatres. And now, South Africa is suddenly a cool place to visit if you're tired of Hollywood.

The same is happening music-wise. Not only are really big-time acts gracing us with their presence — U2 was here, for heaven's sake, and Neil Diamond too (whether you like him or not). We are starting to pull in the really big fish. And we have rather interesting export products, too. Watch Freshlyground. Watch Nomfusi. Watch Prime Circle. And, dare I mention them again? Yes, I know you're not believing a word I'm saying now, but I am actually proud of Die Antwoord. I finally got round to watching the videos. Without imagery, this band made no sense at all; add a touch of Blomkamp and a costume change or two, and the result is … well, what can I say? Poetry it ain't, but that Rich Bitch track is suddenly one of the most hilarious things I'd ever experienced.

To top it all, I heard a couple of weeks ago that a South African author had won one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United Kingdom. Yes, Lauren Beukes received the Arthur C. Clarke award for science fiction.

As soon as I heard about this book called Zoo City I rushed to my local mall to obtain a copy. And then I rushed again. And again. For weeks, I could not find a single copy. I was mystified. I still am. One would've thought that, immediately following the news of the award, every book shop in the country would stock up and announce the good news in huge, blazing letters from every store window …

Are we ready for it?

(That's another thing I'd like to write about at some stage. The walls are coming down, yep, but are we ready for it? Are we jacked up? Are we functional enough to cash in on this trend? Why, for instance, are all tickets to Timbaland's shows not sold out?

Let's just say that, wow, I finally tracked down Zoo City, the book, late yesterday afternoon, in the Somerset Mall branch of Exclusive Books. It wasn't displayed in the window — it was hidden away all by itself on a lonely little shelf right at the back, but I was happily guided there by a discreet and understanding shop assistant, obviously a science fiction and fantasy fan (she sported a bright pink hairstyle undoubtedly inspired by Return of the Killer Tomatoes), but who cares how I obtained it? I am now the proud owner of a copy of Zoo City.

And I am almost halfway already. I can already see the movie rights being snatched up. Congratulations, Lauren. Congratulations, South Africa.

Indeed, the walls are coming down … and if we South Africans could only manage to resolve our political issues and the kak in our drainwater, we may just be heading for the most spectacular cultural growth spurt this planet has ever seen! Go, Mzansi. — News

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