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Workshop diary

Le journal d’une jeune fille qui habite Kliptown, un township des environs de Johannesburg.

Penelope Kuzwayo fait partie des ateliers de sculpture et d’écriture du Giant Match, elle a 20 ans, vit à Kliptown, un township des environs de Johannesburg et elle raconte en anglais ses journées avec les Grandes Personnes.

Monday, 31 May 2010

I’m walking with Sarah this morning to the taxi, she makes me laugh the whole way till we arrive. We arrive on time and I don’t see Eric, these days he’s always busy, Christopher is the one that is always around. People are not yet around as they went to make passports for the tour, the remaining are putting paper on the puppets including me. While working I’m listening to the guys at the workshop and their conversation is about the weekend, I’m listening attentively to them because my weekend was lovely I had Sara on my side.

Répétition, aquarelle Sarah Letouzey

It’s as if I can stay longer with these guys at the workshop and see the performance as they are about to tour, maybe God will keep us strong together. The hands of the puppets are too tricky, you have to be careful as Christopher will remind you that it’s three weeks and still doing the wrong thing. These days people are doing the right thing. After eating you get so tired and feel like sleeping, the working energy of the people differs it may be high in the morning or sometimes after lunch. As I’ve said before I don’t want to loose these talented guys, even in the coming future. You won’t believe how lovely the puppets are when they are done, Thobile and Bogale are the heroes of their families especially Bogale from a poor background.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

You know how it is on Sunday’s its always mixed up because everyone is at home and it’s my chance to see those that I’ve never seen long time. Round about five o’clock I see Eric coming with Sarah from the workshop. I’m not suprised because I know that they were coming today, I’m very happy to see them. We went to see Nonhlanhla, a young girl that we work with and we came across Church people from ZCC [Zion Christian Church] and we went to see the water that they baptize people with every Sunday, in order for someone to wear that badge they first have to be baptized in the water that we went to see, it’s scary when you look at it. What about going in the water ? I’ll run away.

Photo Manuel Poulain

L’aquarelliste, photo Manuel Poulain

We then decided to go and see Bobo from the workshop who lives near the strange water, we didn’t find him we found his older brother. His brother is full of politics and his English sounds as if he’s not from this place we living in . He’s talkative while his younger brother is quiet as if they have harmed his soul forever. The brother tells us that Bobo always shuts himself in his room and won’t speak to them at all and they were not even aware that he worked with us because he doesn’t talk to anyone in the house, imagine that whole thing you go out in the morning and come back late not informing anyone at home. This is not the right way to live, this man needs help, there might be something bothering him and so he shut it inside him. He is silent and his face is so thin and looks like those old photos drawn of England people. Christopher from the workshop always says his sculptures look like him.

Têtes ombre
Encre Sarah Letouzey

Têtes ombre, encre Sarah Letouzey

We went straight home and Sarah is sleeping at home today, we then went to buy food together with a man called Robert, Eric never forgets his people and he even brought grocery for the man and his daughter. Then I went home with Sara my mom was so excited to see her and she gave us food. Sara enjoyed it and she’s not even choosy, a person that understands a human being and you can share many things with her. Its true that you never understand a person till you consider things from their point of view. I slept with Sarah and enjoyed my night as we were talking the whole night and watching a movie till I fell asleep.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The first thing that I hear about in the workshop is the party and I’m thinking to myself what kind of party is it going to be. It’s so empty in the workshop everyone is out to rehearse, like this I think clearly about myself. I’m working next to Tapson, a tall dark guy in complexion but will surprise you as he talks, he speaks French. I’m in big trouble actually, both of us we don’t understand each other. When he talks to me, he tries to explain with hands and he tells me strange things and smiles often.

Atelier peinture et réparation
Aquarelle de Sarah Letouzey

Atelier peinture et réparation, aquarelle Sarah Letouzey

I’m working with paint today which is something different since I came to the workshop and I find it interesting and it gives me a sense of feeling what I’m doing. As it got late the party thing started but it wasn’t actually a party that one can dance till late. The first thing that happened was a performance by the SA Guru, the show was fantastic not knowing what the others thought, because we keep on thinking for every little thing. There were some snacks and juice including wine, so as the performance was done we helped ourselves with snacks and drinks. Unfortunately I had to leave early and live the party behind because of the people I was going with they were in such a hurry next time they should try and make the party earlier.

Friday, 28 May 2010

This morning I’m in the Mkhize taxi, he’s fighting the whole way with the other cars on the way. If you are too slow with your car in front of you he’ll hoot and shout at you, Mkhize is very rude at the same time he’s saving time while we are running late. I’m wondering to myself if he’s like this at home towards his family, Mkhize is wearing a hat and his face appears under it. Is he really rude or is it part of his job ? This taxi is so clean as if no one enters and don’t you dare bang his door and there’s no even music on his taxi.

Mr Mkhize’s taxi
photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS

Mr Mkhize’s taxi, photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS

You better raise your voice high when you get off the taxi or else you’ll find yourself somewhere else, you won’t blame this man he’ll kick you out of his taxi. I’m wondering how much does he earn with this job for a living, men like this in most cases are feared by wives at home and you have to stick to their rules in the house. He’s not even aware that his daughter is in love and what about poor Bogale ? Will he manage everything. Mkhize comes across a lot everyday especially the traffic he hates it and his face is forever serious there must be something wrong with him . It was time for me to get off Mkhize’s taxi and I arrived just in time as the puppets were waiting for me to be finished. There’s something new that I learned today to make hair braids with something sort of a plastic sponge which is black. Who would have thought of this whole thing ? Anyway it’s all about thinking, as Christopher always says.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

It’s almost early in the morning and the rehearsing people are already outside. It’s only the few of us left in the building, as we have to work with the puppets and the sculptures to be done. A young man is moulding a big sculpture which obviously belongs to someone out there, I hope that somebody becomes an understanding person because the man busy on it is very calm. He’s facing towards the sculpture and there seems to be burdens of the world on his back, nobody knows he’s so quiet. He’s forever silent and there’s not even a smile on his face what has the sculpture done to this man, it’s only the movements as he changes the positions while moulding the sculpture. He moves silently to go and make himself a cup of coffee and comes back holding a plastic cup on his hand and looks inside it, as if it will answer his problems. The man moves slowly to the sculpture he’s busy with, he takes a long tired look but won’t rest. He must finish it and dreams to see it complete and as this sculpture is about being finished, it should thank this man for the hard work he did as he’s a man of creatures.

Ombre-balayage, encre Sarah Letouzey
No one is disturbing this man ; while he closes his eyes I wonder what vision does he see or he may be picturing himself in between the two families, and it will be up to him what role is he going to play. He’s forever moving slowly perhaps his feet are paining because it seems as if he walked this morning instead of taking a taxi, he comes back with a plastic to cover his sculpture. He does this alone and maybe he doesn’t even need a conversation, man like this one are dangerous, how will the conversation begin ? It was lunch time and my attention was on this man it seems as if he was

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The people at the workshop really missed me, I was away for only one day and when I entered they were all surprised to see me. I see new different faces and I’m asking myself are these the performers as they were all over the place and Eric tells them to go upstairs for some singing rehearsals. It was now quiet downstairs with few puppets that are already painted and I’ve not seen Christopher yet I wonder what happened to him. I can hear different voices from upstairs I just picture them singing on the show, people are excited today or is it because of the new guests we have ? After 15 minutes they go to rehearse outside in Wits, the place where we took photo’s last week with the puppets, they went with Eric. We are now left alone with hands, heads of the puppets putting paper on them while on the other side they are painting them. Other puppets have lovely hair so their characters will be more interesting and decent, it’s different departments here, we first wait for the hands to be done with juice bottles, once they are done we put on brown paper then they paint them.

The mighty Mr Mkhize, chairman of the taxi association, photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS
Compared to how it was empty at the workplace then, what I saw on lunch time you wouldn’t believe, the tables were so full and I’m sure the people that serve us with food were fed up. After lunch we all went back to work, the guys that make the hands are too slow or is it because there are not enough juice bottles. Suddenly Christopher appears and greets us, one can sense it when he’s not around, he’s always walking around to check how’s the work going while Eric is on the rehearsal with the other group. I’m just wondering how man are we all together including the rehearsing people, I just want to see how the show is going to be with the lovely puppets, it’s going to be great not to be missed . You’ll never believe how the puppets are formed as they are now finished and some puppets are already dressed up, while we are working together and using the spirit of togetherness.

Monday, 24 May 2010

The weather is sunny today and it’s good for washing my clothes, I can feel the spirit of the workshop and wonder what is Christopher saying now to the people with his rough voice, I’ll be there tomorrow. It’s so quiet at home and people are sitting at the sun, I don’t want to do the same thing as they are, watching passing people. I’m passing next to them and they ask me where have I been hiding, those stupid questions, you know what I do, I just smile at them and pass.

photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS

Essayages, photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS

I’m sitting alone at the house avoiding these people, my mom’s at work and my brother is at school. Waiting for my clothes to be dry, the sun is out but something is missing in it, at the end of the day my clothes are not dry. Who must I blame for this, the sun had to do it’s job and I hate putting clothes on a wire for several days. It has disappointed me too much, how can it be dead like a doornail while it’s shinning and maybe the wind would have been better. If I owned these things, I’ll change them each day.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

I woke up a bit late today because I don’t have any plans for today, it’s only cleaning the house and I’ll be doing my washing tomorrow in the morning. My sister informs me that we should go and visit my mom’s sister in Braamfischer later this day. Suddenly Eric appears from the corner like a ghost, he’s walking with Evelyn and Sarah I went to greet them and he asked about Owen. I really don’t know where he lives since I’ve known this guy. We decided to go and see Bob they had a little chat and he advised me to write more, Eric quickly tells him that I sometimes stop writing, which is true, it just happens and I’m trying to stop it.

Peinture des jumelles, photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS

It’s been too long not seeing Bob but his words of encouragement are still strong, it’s best to see someone yourself, not to listen to what people say, and you’ll never know a person till you consider things from his point of view. I do feel the spirit of this place it reminds me when I was still growing. We are now going to Pimville to meet the children that Eric took to France and with their teacher named Bheki they welcomed us as we came. We were also watching a video of the children while they were at France, they were so excited, and I’m sitting next to Sarah and my sister calls me as it was time to go, and Eric takes me half way. He tells me that I have to come on Tuesday for the writing, he also tells me to improve on my writing.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Today is the last day for me at the workshop ; I’m going to miss them, as they are not aware that I’m leaving them. I’m using the computer to type my last days of the workshop and after that I go straight to the puppets hands to cover them with the brown cover, so that it can be ready to work. I’m carrying the small hand of a child and is waiting for it, we are doing this in a place which looks more like a kitchen and it’s full of dust showing that it’s a busy place, there are also small cupboards and white tiles on the floor. I have this black apron which I was borrowed from Matisse, it’s full of different paints, anyway who cares as long as it protects me. I like Matisse , she also helps us mix the different glues and I’m thinking to myself is this really the last day to me ? It’s now one o’clock lunch time, what am I going to eat today or perhaps I should order everything, if it will be fine for them, I know that they are greedy. I then arrive and take some chips and chicken and move slowly to the table with a tray on my hands. One day I’ll be remembering this food and guess what, it’s more tasty today. I wish to have it for the rest of my life , I’m telling some of the guys at the table that it’s my last day seeing them, they disagree with me.

Essayage, photo Musa Masilela pour l’IFAS

I’m now left alone at the table. I stand up to put the tray away and leave with an orange on my hand. I’m back to my bottle hand and a guy tells me that Eric is calling me to come and type the story which will go in the newspaper, I leave my hand, I hope they take care of it. Within 20 minutes there was a meeting everyone was here, we are all listening to Christopher who tells us that, as the workshop will come to the end, we have to keep the puppets with us and he also informs us about new people coming on Monday to rehearse. Everyone is silent and the ready puppets are smiling, I’m looking at the young man who is standing next to a puppet that looks a lot like him and he’s not aware of that. Some puppets are like human beings around, some people’s minds are far away and can’t wait to be at home, as it’s Saturday. I’m going to miss this atmosphere around here and the view that I see through these dusty windows and the round steps. As the meeting comes to the end, I shake Eric’s hand and Angelique’s.

Friday, 21 May 2010

This morning I’m drinking tea with biscuits, there’s always enough for everyone, I’m not on the computer, I’m on the puppets hands which are made with plastic bottles and covered with brown tape, this is a long process. After lunch they inform us to go and take the working tools, as we are going to take a picture with the puppets too. Everyone was excited seeing the puppets of the show, the priest-looked good on his outfit even Thobile she was gorgeous, it looked as if the show was beginning ; these guys have really done a great job.

Giant Match meeting
Watercolour : Sarah Letouzey

Giant Match meeting, watercolour by Sarah Letouzey

After taking the photos we went back to work but before there was a small meeting, which was held by the workers trying to form a committee and choosing ten people. Not everyone was there and they told us that they could do it even without them, which was unfair, we are one family and have to agree on one thing. We wasted lots of time on the photo shoot and time just went quickly, Christopher wants us to focus on the hands of the puppets not on the head because many puppets don’t have hands, and people continue with the same mistake on the heads and he gets mad again.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

I run everyday here at the streets of Johannesburg, the cars are all over my way and they’ll bump into me if I’m not careful. I’m early because I walk alone and when I arrive I decided to type my work because on Saturday is my last day at the workshop and many people are not aware of that, it will just be a surprise. We work together at the workshop we are now a family, as we go for lunch I can feel the warmth of the sun. I’ll be eating rice today, actually I need more of it but the people that serve us are greedy , I sit with Sibusiso most of the time when I eat, he’s a person that I regard as a friend at the workshop and most people are seen during lunch time because we don’t work together, the other group of the workshop is at Wits theatre.

working on a hand
photo : Musa Musa Masilela

Three hands, photo Musa Masilela for the IFAS

I can feel the absence of John and I picture him in brown jeans and a black coat with a shy smile on his face, I’ll miss him and hope to see him again. When we went out I came across Christopher with his heavy coat, he asks me what am I going to do this afternoon at the workshop, I wonder what’s on this man’s mind. When I arrive from lunch, I worked with the sculptures with this boy who looks like he’s always drunk, he tells me that his mother eats his money, at least it’s his mother not his girlfriend. I’m looking at the hands of the puppets, they were made with bottle water and then covered with tape. Everyone is working hard and the puppets look great as they are done and dressed up. The designers have showed great talent to these puppets, they are now human beings.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I’m getting used to walk alone and I come across a young man who lives near me, we went together. He works in Wits and I don’t know what he does, I’m listening to him the whole way. I don’t even get a chance to talk. I just nod my head while he talks he’s an open guy, my shoe lace wasn’t tied and he managed to tie them up for me. I arrived and there and there was no sugar, I waited for this young boy who organizes everything for me give me sugar too bad that he wasn’t there and I see most people drink it without sugar, I won’t be able to do that. It’s lunchtime and I’m walking with Eric he tells me that I should fight for my life to succeed, go out search, his words are meaningful and build me inside. He reminds me of Bob, at Sky where I first attended the youth club. His words are powerful although he’s not recognized anymore by some people, that’s where I grew up till today. I’ve learned to search as a kid for my life, memories do haunt me of that youth club. You know that as a person you move forward with your life and we must not forget where we come from. We are still one family although the communication is not that strong like before.

giant puppet training
Aquarelle : Sarah Letouzey

Aquarelle : Sarah Letouzey

The workshop in now on pressure so that we can finish on time, Christopher is shouting at this man who mixed the wrong glue and he’s asking him if he knows how to read, that question is so sad and funny at the same time. The man is now panicking, the instructions are written on the wall, if you really don’t know how to read, you’ll do your own things.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I’m still in the house waiting for Owen to come and fetch me as always, I see no sign of him. I then decide to leave the house, maybe I’ll come across him while walking still no sign. I then decide to call my brother to check on him and he tells me that he’s gone, I became angry why didn’t he tell me, he has wasted my time. Let me go straight to the taxi and when I arrive I find that I’m still early for tea only to find that there’s no sugar, I ’m hungry and sweet things in the morning are not good for my stomach.

Hands factory
Photo : Wessels/Moretti

Hands factory, photo Wessels/Moretti

Later that day I came across Owen and decided to ask him about the morning matter, you know what he said, he told me to leave him alone and I must never ever walk with him again. I kept his words and I promise to stick to them, this guy has a problem and he must never take it out on me because I don’t have time to entertain fools. I wish you could have seen him, he’s from a lost tribe and anyway I enjoy walking alone, who needs his company ? I was also doing him a favor by walking with him and he returned a huge one by taking himself out on me. With blue overalls and a cap everyday, maybe he doesn’t even take a bath and just sleeps with those overalls, he should be ashamed about himself, even the smell that comes from him it cannot be told. I’m going to get fresh air after all and I’ll stick to his words even in future. Some people here at the workshop are working on my nerves I don’t even want to look at their horrible faces and won’t miss them at all. I will miss few people.

Monday, 17 May 2010

I’m so confused I don’t know what to wear and the weather is misty and shows a little bit of the sun, it’s never the same here and in town. The trains are on strike. I’m on my way to the taxi, it goes its own way, I’ve never been on this side of town old houses, maybe I’m lost or is it my imagination. It took a long time to arrive and now I’m walking on the Mandela bridge it’s too long and was built to make one to become tired. These days I’m working on the sculptures and Christopher is becoming wild, he checks the work, if it’s wrong you’ll be in trouble, his voice scares me out and his appearance is strange. I’m with Angelique and she’s renewing my contract for one week, I will miss the workshop and some people. It’s now time to go home, remember I said it’s the trains strike, everyone from the train were at the rank. When we were in a taxi a woman was arguing with another man who just pushed in without going on a queue, he tells the woman to go back to the train. They were arguing the whole way and some words are stronger than weapons.

Giant Puppets welcomed in Wits University, photo Moretti/Wessels

It’s so dark outside and I walk alone and my feet are frozen, when I arrive there’s no electricity. Can you imagine how dull it becomes in the house when its dark, my mom gives me food that she prepared for the whole family. She will ask me how was the workshop, she’s such a darling and thinking about the next few years will she be here with me like now, only GOD knows. She will then go to sleep, this a family house where my cousins and some part of our family come but not now because of my mothers boyfriend. He made them not to come anymore and proud of that, he broke the tight bond we had. The house which belonged to my grandmother before she passed away now belongs to him and what’s funny about this is, he’s working but does nothing about his house and will never even in future.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Today is Sunday and almost everyone is going to church, they pass group by group on their uniforms. I’m surround by different churches, both of my neighbours have churches and I attend none of them. I’m confused, don’t know who to listen to and I’m not yet ready to go to church. I just want to be honest, I don’t know when I’ll be ready, it will just happen. My street is full of cars on Sundays, people who travel to come to church and I’m not against it and I won’t just throw myself on these churches, I have to pour my heart and soul.

heads in the elevator

Heads going down by the elevator, photo Wessels/Moretti

After church it becomes quiet as if there was a funeral and I’m deciding on going to the mall this day with my cousin’s girlfriend she’s too slow and I’ve been waiting for her since 12 o’clock it’s now one o’clock I hate waiting too long for someone. We went to the mall with her small baby when we arrived the child begin to cry and didn’t want to stop, everyone was looking at us and we are not even their business. There was no chance to buy because of the baby, therefore we decided to go home.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

There are no day offs in my life as a person who is fully functioned you need to wake up knowing what to do in your life and be glad at the end of the day. Today someone just made my day to be tired and bored, some people were not raised to socialize with people, to have a good manner of speaking, it’s better to be quiet at all because there are people who are too personal in front of you. I get angry quickly if you talk rubbish with me and don’t expect me to smile with you the following day, I won’t even entertain your presence and will never even in future.

Giant puppets, first day out
Photo : Moretti/Wessels

First day out, photo Moretti/Wessels

People are few on Saturday’s and I’m walking on the sculptures the whole day, I have to be careful. Eric arrives from France, I’m happy for him and his eyes are tired, maybe he’s got flu or something else, he’s not the way I know him. I’m still watching Eric there comes Christopher he tells to go and clean where we were busy with the sculptures I just don’t want to argue with this man, I do as he says and went home late.

Friday, 14 May 2010

The place is full of mist, I hardly cannot see anyone at all, it’s misty the whole place. It’s worst at the train station I won’t be able to see it, I will be hearing the sound which wakes me every morning. As the mist disappears the sun shows its talent but afraid of the mist and its on Fridays that the trains will begin their nonsense it will pause for a long time and there was one train ahead of ours. You know what happened we had to jump down to catch the one that was forward, I was almost down walking on top of rough stones. I reached the platform where it stood dead but it will be the first to leave, before entering inside it decided to go, I don’t have time to chase eventually I’ll break my leg again. I wasted so much energy and I must wait for that one to come to the platform, it came tired and went slowly without thinking about us.

Captain Flash, first painted head
Photo : Matisse Wessels

Captain Flash, première tête peinte, photo Matisse Wessels
I’m late but tea is never late for me it’s always waiting for me, I’ve noticed that the food is always the same and I try each time to change the menu it’s still the same taste. The people who serve us at the kitchen are rude, they don’t want us to take takeaway food and there’s this lady who looks more like a man with a beard she stares people ugly, we are also human beings like she. We didn’t come to have credit on the food which doesn’t belong to her, it’s not even her house. She should teach herself some manners and to deal with people if she loves her job. This woman is not aware how ugly is a human’s sight when it’s angry especially a women’s.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

I’m at the train again sniffing the air that comes through the broken window, the sun is shinning on my face. I cannot see clearly and I’m not moving away from it, I enjoy the sun while the seats are hard and the train bumps too much. The buildings are very cold as they stand tall and they make Johannesburg strong, I’m still walking at the sun. I come across two beggars on my way, each one is on his own rubbish bin digging for food and barefoot. I know for sure that these guys do have family, someone gave birth to them. They are not even ashamed, eating thrown food their lives depend on those bins, they don’t have to go shopping for food. They also sleep outside, what happened to their families ? We are raised to suffer like this and some of us are fighting to succeed in life. The two men are digging in, they are even holding paper bags to put in their food any maybe useful clothes. If I can search my life like this, dig it through the inside I can find better things and throw away evil ones. These guys are cleaning the rubbish bins, this means if the rubbish collectors have already arrived there’s no breakfast for them and they have to travel till they get food.

skeleton of a giant puppet
Photo : Manuel Poulain

Skeleton of a giant puppet, photo Manuel Poulain

I’m so lucky I do get a plate of food in the morning and when I go to be, I also have a safe place to sleep. What we throw away is a big thing to these guys, it’s giving food to your dog. This has touched my soul and I’m thinking about it while making tea, we are so lucky we don’t have to go to the bins thanks to GOD. Is it their fault or their families ? If you have someone missing from your family, will you relax or maybe you’ll want to know where they are. There are unknown people suffering out there while we are relaxed at home I’m not saying that these guys should be dragged to their homes maybe they enjoy the company outside.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

It’s lunch time and I’m sitting with a group of Rastafarian’s on one table I discover that there’s no meat on their plates. I decided to ask them about the meat, one of them told me that she’s following the rules of what they believed. I have no say about this I love meat and I may be thinking that they rare losing something out but I may be wrong about that. If you tell yourself one thing and stick to it, it succeeds these guys stick to their rules and promise not to break it. They tell me the disadvantages of meat , do I really believe in what they say ? Why will I decide to leave meat ? I don’t even have reasons and when it’s time for me to be sick, it’s time and I won’t blame the meat . The meat sellers are making business for themselves and we support them too much, it’s one of the favourite food in most families. We all have our different beliefs, they tell me that they’ll bring the book about the disadvantages of meat I don’t even want to see it. How can someone ask me when am I going to stop eating meat, that question is out of my mind. I’m not thinking about such things.

Photo : Manuel Poulain

Bouche, photo : Manuel Poulain

There are things I can leave in life that are worth my life but not cutting my diet, they tell me their age if it was meat that kept them young from not eating it , well it has worked for them. Will cutting meat in my life keep me young forever ? Right now my plate is full of meat I’ll make it full even tomorrow as long as I have appetite for it. I stand up to put my plate then my stomach cramps maybe it’s meat, when I’m sitting with talkative people I end up listening too much and eat less, later on I find that I’m still hungry, that’s what is happening today.

When I live with people I’ll eat enough meat , maybe I should try not to eat it for one week and end up forgetting and end up eating it. It’s easy to fall back in to old habits I’ll be cheating on myself. I once heard a story from one of the guys about one of his friends who told them that he doesn’t eat meat . Till one day they decided to visit him he was standing outside and saw them he quickly ran inside the house to hide the meat . They went inside the house his cat went under the coach and took out the meat, they were all surprised and he was so disappointed.

Monday, 10 May 2010

It’s seven o’clock, I’m outside with my bag on my hand I’m walking with Owen. As we cross the railway line a police van stops near us, I ran as fast as I could without looking back one of them was behind me chasing me. I don’t want to be arrested early in the morning for jumping the railway when and you arrive you have to pay hundred rand. I don’t know where Owen ran. I’m so scared and I’m walking straight to the taxi rank, hiding myself from these things, they are so desperate early in the morning. I don’t belong in jail, they can go to hell because as policemen they should be doing something better than chasing innocent people it’s a disgrace. Good policemen do their job, the woman who was chasing me couldn’t even run she should go for training. I made it to the taxi and got one to town, inside a taxi my mom phoned me to check if I was safe. You know what Owen did, he went straight to tell my mom that I was arrested I thought the same about him and I found him already doing the sculptures, one like him.

têtes géantes
Photo : Matisse Wessels

Photo : Matisse Wessels
I survived the cops and it was my first time on a chase with them, I didn’t have any option but to run away. I looked like a criminal, I don’t even want tea, Christopher is always flexible, there’s lots of energy in this guy. His long coat caught my eye it’s so heavy and it makes him a full man, he’s now sweating . Checks his pocket and comes out with a cellphone someone is calling him, most men like these are found on bars. When he walks his head points forward, he cannot forget the accidental possibilities of every step, he’s sniffing something I don’t know what it is. I’m looking at a heavy dark cloud outside up in the sky very tired and needs some rest but here down there’s no room for it. As I’m moving it moves with me when I enter the building it disappears slowly but surely.

Sunday, 09 May 2010

Sometimes morning is time for mourning, most of the things, news, arrive in the morning. There were days whereby I used to receive news in the morning like my sister’s death, it came early in the morning. This morning I’m asking myself how many hours have I slept, I don’t remember what time I went to bed last night. Sunday is my day off, it’s my cleaning day at the house. My mom is washing her clothes last week it was me, I don’t have any appointments today, I’ll be sitting the whole day and missing Wits and the people I work with.

I sometimes feel like going far away from home, it’s not that I’m rude or something. I’m bored at home. There’s this rude boyfriend of my mother, the way he talks to my mother, he doesn’t show any respect for her and he’s taking her for granted, forgetting that my mom has kids. My mom is so sweet and down to earth why on earth does he do this to my mother. I’m just making this dude a favour because of my mother, I actually don’t like him, not fit to stay with us it’s like taking a taxi and putting it in the house, you see it will crash the furniture.

He’s already destroying us as kids. You should have seen him especially when he’s drunk he’s like pig, maybe the public is also aware of this disaster attacking us. I have nowhere to escape my younger brother and I are trapped, we don’t have powers to get him out of our house. It’s already late here, he comes very drunk I don’t even want to look at him because I’ll get mad. He starts insulting my mom for nothing , I don’t know what attracted my mom to this thing. I hate this thing, again I’ll never take it as my father even in my dreams he’ll never come through as my father and I love my mom. My father who passed away didn’t do these things to my mom he respected us. Every walk I take, I have to force myself to turn around and go back, he’s not prepared to be a father while my mom is protecting him with both hands. What has happened to a mother that I know ? This bastard has poisoned my moms mind and she’s allowing it too.

Saturday, 08 May 2010

My day starts on this lazy train, which is stuck on a place strange to me. Inside the train I hear a priest preaching the word of GOD, his word run into my head and his voice blows like a strong wind. He tells us that each and every place has no silence there must be something to fill the room. When we get in the car we fill the silence by turning on the radio, in the house we fill the silence by turning on the television, our busyness is sin and we are rejecting GOD. In life we come across strange things, it will be better if he believes in what he says and practice what he preaches, we are all faced with challenges in life it’s up to us how we treat it. The train is a busy transport inside, people selling, not everyone is a believer in life. To some people this man may sound crazy, people rust in what they believe you cannot force them to your belief. We as people fall easily into our old habits. Suddenly the train moves slowly but surely. It’s already late I woke up early this morning to just sit on a dead train it’s like a bike with no wheels.

Laticia, maquette
photo Mauricio Moretti

Laticia, maquette, photo : Maurizio Moretti

I’m very tired as I entered Wits the lifts were not working and I had to take steps from 1 till the 19 floor. I can’t even feel my feet moving I’m now thirsty who can come and pick me up, I hate this day it’s abusing my feet. I’ve made it till 19, they taught I wasn’t coming this morning you know what they did they made a big cross in front of my name I went to sign on top of it. The steps are better when you go downstairs as we were heading for lunch. The worst part was when I came back and I ate too much not thinking about the steps, this time was worse because my tummy is full I begin having cramps, couldn’t take it anymore. Everybody arrives tired including Christopher his back is sweating and he takes off his trusted long coat. In most movies I’ve recently watched men with long coats as crooks and very clever. This one is not, a funny guy.

Friday 07 May 2010

Days are different, each day is different and brings something new. It’s up to me to take it or leave it. I’m putting skin on the sculptures covering it with brown cover. We are doing the policeman from the Majakathata’s family the older son. It takes time, but I’m not doing it alone, we are working as a group some people are not what you think they are till you meet them you get to know them better. This character will soon be a policeman not a rude one, an understanding person.

gilet du policeman
Photo : Manuel Poulain

Essai du gilet du policeman, photo Manuel Poulain

My lunch today is different, I took chips, bread and an apple which was red. The touch of it felt real and the sweet juice of it keeps me wanting more of it. The distance is too long from where we eat. I walked and walked, too much energy for once. I can see my shadow as I walk it’s very short till I arrive. The lift has its own days today it’s slow.

The sculptures seems as if they want to talk to someone. When I’m at the writing workshop John holds our close attention in this building, there’s a circle of listeners, putting their inputs. While working on the story I discover a strange land where I’m involved with both of the families, there’s peace between them. They are one family now, we are rejoicing in the wedding of their children, singing and dancing.

I’m now disturbed as it gets dark outside the sun hides in the clouds, it whispers to me “Goodnight”, it’s not already time to sleep, I’m still at the wedding. They don’t even recognize me. I’m back at the workshop it’s almost 5:30 everyone is on a mission to go home, the lift is already full, who wants to stay anyway. We all have families waiting for us our journeys begin now. I’m heading straight to the taxi rank. Trains are bad on Fridays. I thought the taxi was better, it was full everyone ran away from the train to fill up the taxis. The taxi drivers are rude, you won’t tell them what to do they’ll throw you out of their taxi, you’ll end up walking by feet they won’t even give you your money back.

Thursday, 06 May 2010

The journalists have arrived they are all over the place everything is prepared for them. As always the place is busy and alive they are upstairs at the writing workshop. Today I think I’ll be downstairs the journalists are taking pictures asking questions the story is already big and will appear in the newspapers. The journalists didn’t eat too much, when I went upstairs the food was still there and people were helping themselves I joined too.
I want to type some of my work they borrowed me a laptop by some of the boys who’s a friendly person .I have to type hard to avoid these people, they want to know what I’m doing and for what I won’t tell you ,why all these questions ? They should go and complete their work I’m sitting next to John he’s also typing the story. His brother doesn’t like to see a person who’s not working.

plan d’une marionnette
plan d’une marionnette, dessin Sarah Letouzey

Plan de la structure d’une marionnette, Sarah Letouzey

Time is moving too fast it’s already 5:30 time to leave, I sign the register and go out. I’m glad it’s not full today at the station, the train is also empty and I arrive safe our place is dark and you don’t walk straight it’s full of stones. I care less as long as I’m safely home with my family the other family will be seen tomorrow. People say that I’m scarce when they don’t see you they complain, when you are around you bother them what do they want from me ? I’m not their friend and will never be I prefer to be a friend with the puppets.

Wednesday, 05 May 2010

At least today’s weather is shiny. I’m sitting on the writing workshop discussing the monologue of the two families. My mind is far away, looking outside through the window which are never washed the streets are shiny today and the cars are behaving in a better way.

Today we’ve decided to take the name “Meet my in-laws” to be the title of the show so the families will get to know each other due to their children who are madly in love between rich and poor. Love is above all the gift of oneself and it attacks rich or poor, young or old it’s there and will never die. We are upstairs when I look downstairs through the steps everyone is busy. We have to stop at 13:00 for lunch time and come back at 14:00. Downstairs there’s a small puppet holding a big phone right on his ear, he’s making a phone call perhaps his girlfriend or family these days we are reached with cell phones. I’m also looking at big sculptors they are putting some skin on them they are alive. The lift today is slow I’m not taking steps there’s some fresh air outside after eating we have to go back, the steps inside are round they are waiting for me. John is already up there sharing ideas I prefer writing than talking. I don’t talk a lot, people often say I’m quiet, that’s how I was built and designed. This workshop inspires me and teaches me a lot.

Mr Mkhize
croquis costume

Mr Mkhize, Clothes for a puppet, costume workshop LGP

I know that the Majakathata won’t suffer for ever their boy Bogale will help them one day small things help a lot. I end up laughing while thinking about this whole thing. I’m going downstairs to make myself a cup of tea. I have to sign in before I forget we sign twice in the morning and during the afternoon. I’m checking the cleaning register I’ll be cleaning on the 13 of May the toilets, last time it was the smoking room. Some sculptors here look the same as some people I’ve seen before and I still see some of them somewhere as I travel. Everyone’s work is precious. I can’t wait to go home, I’m so tired and I’m thinking of the train, when we arrive it’s a war. I don’t understand why we have to fight, we are all going to get home. Even older men do push wondering if they do push their children at home. It will be better if I had my own car, I pay for a ticket to find out that I’ll end up being beaten.

Tuesday, 04 May 2010
Since the time has been changed yesterday, it’s from 8:30 till 5:30. I have to wake up early. The first things that I meet are the sculptors they are awake each day some of them are funny I don’t want to laugh at you guys you are my friends, I welcome you all in my life.

I’m already in the tea table I meet John he tells me that we have to go out to make cards, luckily I have my Identity document. When we arrived we had to make a long queue, you go one by one they take you a photo. While standing I’m very bored and I’m looking at are the kids doing up and down group by group. There passes an older guy with a bag, I’m asking myself if he works here or not but I don’t have to judge him he can still be a learner. Some people walk as if they are pushed forward with force. They now tell us that our names are not on the list we have to go down again to tell Christopher, he tells us to wait they’ll send the list with our names. Time has been wasted down there I’m now thirsty for some tea I left John till he comes back, this day we are discussing the title of the show and voting for one title. John takes out his cigarette and walks out to have a smoke he looks like a shy person even his walk. I’m at the window starring outside, I see everyone as small puppets and starting to imagine things as I’m the controller down there. It’s already lunch time we go down again it’s a long distance. The thing that I like is that you choose whatever you want to eat before entering we sign next to our names, our names are not there again we have to Wright them down. This day I’m with my group of writers on one table they are funny people and very young I end up losing appetite.

heads in sunset
Giant puppets heads on the top floor of Wits corner

Photo : Matisse Wessels

After lunch here we are sitting on a circle voting for one title, we are with Christopher I’m trying to study him it’s a bit difficult, his smile is on and off it’s like an electrical switch it turns on and off such man can be feared by the people. People don’t want to vote some vote twice. I’m surrounded by intelligent minds, hard workers. This story is going to rock you don’t have to miss it. I’m cleaning today wearing gloves, holding a bucket and a mop. I’m cleaning the smoking room everyone has his day to clean I don’t complain. I’m back at the train station it’s already full the train comes and the coaches are dark no lights. We are pushing to go inside, you know what happens, I fall down with my leg, that really hurt my tears were nearly down. I got a seat in dark coach I tried moving my leg it was difficult to move I don’t want to be a cripple. I’m thinking what if the ghost grandmother from the Mkhize’s family appears, I’m the only one who’s going to see it some stories become real. I used to tell myself that I’ll never be in a dark train scared of criminals who might hijack us, my bag is tight on my hands my foot is paining, I’m now listening to the pain the whole way.

Monday, 03 May 2010
I’ve already woken up, I peep at the window its cold and rainy, I hate this weather, I feel like going back to bed. I’m warmly dressed. The streets are muddy remember we have no roads I’m going to walk fast, I’m catching a taxi today. Johannesburg streets are wet today and when I arrive the first thing is tea to warm up my body, the puppets are safe inside from the rain. One day they’ll be wet too they have no say they are only controlled.

There’s Christopher a man who strictly belongs to himself, I just wonder if he does imagine the thoughts of another person. Such man can be scary sometimes and tend to be friendly it’s difficult to get them. I’ve already have my own table each time we go to eat the food tends to be delicious everyday. Not forgetting John, as I see him today with his brown trouser but it suits him well it’s as if he’s shy or the wind was too strong for him. He will gently take out something from his pocket with shaking hands as if he’s taking out a pen only to find out it’s a cigarette. He now goes out to take some smoke.

sculpting workshop seen from above

Photo : Matisse Wessels

This day Eric is going to France I’ll miss him. I hate sitting in front of a wet person in a taxi I also get wet I’m imagining the distance from town to Kliptown. The rain doesn’t want to stop it’s so dark outside the time is 19:15 the noise of the raindrops on the roof irritates me I can’t even hear the next person speaking they are too noisy fighting against something they can go somewhere else not here I don’t want to hear them. They do whatever they like till you sleep, keeps us indoors with our family. My mom is always inside afraid of the cold maybe it might harm her. She works with water at work flu is her best friend. I don’t even remember when I slept the rain kept me safe and I had a wonderful dream without hearing the raindrops, they went away to a place where they belong.

Sunday, 02 May, 2010
It’s already six o’clock in the morning time to wake up and wash my clothes because this weather is on and off, like most people you cannot understand it. The sun wants to come out and play it’s role so that my clothes can dry up they are too much for one hand. I have to start before someone else decides to wash I’ll end up not having some space to dry them up. I normally switch the radio on and listen to some music while I wash, that makes me to be quicker. I usually start with t-shirts then trousers and end up with jerseys.

My mother even woke up due to the noise I’m making with the radio at least she’s not complaining, this one is a sweet person. She has to clean today I’ll be tired when I’m through with washing she never cleaned I ended up cleaning the whole house I have no choice. My phone rings its Eric the French guy he tells me that he’s coming with French people maybe the ones that I know from Wits I thought to myself. I kept on asking myself that question. I’m now waiting for Eric in the house I don’t even want to move, it’s been too long now till I decided to go and see my friend but I left the message to my mom.

Uncle Pitso
Photo : Mauricio Moretti

Oncle Pitso, photo : Maurizio Moretti

When I came back I saw this group of white people coming out from two cars it was what I thought Eric and the crew from Wits including John the French writer. I’m so surprised I never thought these people will come to the place I live. We went to the house I live and introduced them to my mom and showed them the house inside they were all welcomed. They are now taking my mom a photo while I stand next to her I really love her because in life I only have one opportunity to have one mother. I just hope they’ll come again to visit me. Now we are going to one of the other girl’s house, whom we were working with when we arrive we find her mother, sister including her. She’s very talkative and friendly. It’s time for them to go home we decide to stop at a shebeen as they wanted to see, everyone stopped drinking as we enter the excitement went up when they saw these white guys. They decide to taste and bought two beers I guess it has been a long walk for them and they are now thirsty. I thought they didn’t drink what was sold around. John doesn’t drink he just says no when they pass him a bottle. They are very happy to be here and anyway I’ll see them tomorrow.

Saturday, 01 May, 2010

It’s a holiday today but not for me. I have a place to go and work to do. I already have a card to enter in the building. I’m walking alone this morning Owen left me guess what the trains are going after one hour and I’m really going to be late. I didn’t even wait that long until it came I’m so excited only to find that it’s full inside and I have to stand the whole way. The wind is too strong today. I’m wearing very warm my legs are covered with warm boots the cold won’t catch me today it will pass. It’s my first time going on my own and I’m bored, no one to talk to, listening to the noisy cars as they pass by. Here in town everyone is minding their own business.

Maquettes de tête, photo : Maurizio Moretti

As I enter, the sculptors are looking at me, what have I done wrong now ? There Owen is smiling at me I don’t respond because he left me. Not forgetting to make myself a cup of tea, I’m enjoying this and the crowd is not full today I think because it’s Saturday. I can even hear myself breathe. I’m now used to the steps, I hear sounds upstairs, what can that be ? as I step on there are guys making the puppets bodies it irritates John and I hardly cannot hear a thing he says from his mouth. We then decide to go downstairs. I’m not used sitting downstairs and the story between the Mkhize and Majakathata is moving bit by bit. Here down I don’t see exactly the whole view of Johannesburg. People are tiny when I’m up in the building, I’m the giant puppet. While John speaks one can tell that he’s not from South Africa but as time goes on I’ll understand him. I’ve never imagined that one day we’ll be working with white people it’s like a miracle. This is a free and welcomed place.

Today I’m eating with Eric and the rest since I have ‘’The Giant Match’’ card I stand a chance to eat with them. Everything is planned well here ; the food is good. I’m trying a sculpture today for a change it takes time I also have to be careful and focus. The face that I’m doing ran quickly on my mind, it keeps on changing as I mould it will clay and the hairstyle is fancy no one is wrong it’s my own design at the end of the day. I’m also trying to listen to their language French. When you’re working with the sculptors you become so dirty. I’m now finished and I close my sculptor with a plastic bag, wash my hands. I’m at the window starring outside that’s what I normally do, I like the way it is especially when it’s dark the lights are bright. I’m heading to the taxi rank to catch a taxi to Kliptown the place I live is very dark as there are no street lights.

Friday, 30 April 2010
Today is a better day and I’m getting used to wake up early. There’s this boy that I normally walk with in the morning and afternoon, he lives in Kliptown, at least I have some company. I’m starting to get used to the people at the workshop. I’m in and I go straight to the tea table and make myself one so that my body can be warm that has been hit by the wind. After drinking tea I look at the steps that I have to climb that leads to right where I’m going, as I’m drinking my hot cup of coffee I’m surrounded by big puppets just staring at me as if they’ll come and pick me up send me to the top where I have to go. I smile gently at them but they just stare with no movement maybe they are tired I guess they don’t sleep at all. Let me go upstairs they are waiting for me.

My feet are very stubborn and lazy I don’t care I’ll carry on. Today we are few maybe we can understand each other. John is always early, I find them already discussing I’m listening, you know what I prefer writing putting my ideas on paper so we as people are not the same and will never be the same. There are also two people taking a video I saw this yesterday it means that I’ll be seeing them everyday a man and a woman the man is holding something I don’t know what it’s called, his arm is getting tired. We are on top and everyone is down we are the VIP’s I love it here up its strange and lovely. Eric appears and disappears what is he up to now like a ghost in the Mkhize’s family but don’t play with this man when he’s at work he’s serious.

It’s now one o’clock lunch time already. I go straight to Eric he’s the one who gives us pocket money. The lifts are very special in a way that they are quick when I’m inside I’m relaxed as if it can go one way without stopping but in life there are no stop signs it goes on and on. Johannesburg is alive and busy the thing that bothers me is the expensive food, time is running fast and by two o’clock I have to be going back. I start to eat fast like nobody’s business. I don’t even feel the taste of the food due to time until my stomach warns me to stop I have to listen to it or else I’ll be in trouble. Time is already up I run quickly with a full tummy when I enter I’m welcomed by some ugly sights of the sculptors it’s like a cursed person who begs for forgiveness poor thing if I could help I would fix you may be the one that made you can come with a plan.

Aquarelle : Sarah Letouzey

I’m starting to get the story, I’m between talkative people some people’s ideas are brilliant GOD has made his work successful by creating human beings with great minds and hands. The creating of puppets, sculptors the drawing and designing, who would have thought about that. I’m lucky to come across such things I’m also learning new things. Some people just teach you things for free thanks to them. After lunch, time just runs quickly and it begins to be dark outside and the traffic is very bad. I’m shivering. It comes slowly I don’t blame it, it has worked the whole day.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

I wake up early this morning with lots of things on my mind, wondering about today’s day, what is it going to bring at the end, weather happiness or sadness. On this day we have to go to Wits University in Johannesburg for some auditions. I’m working with a group of young people to the station to catch a train. While on the train I see different people, mixed races, it’s like I’m watching my own show, while watching there’s a young boy who’s selling some fruits behind him another one appears selling the very same thing from coach to coach. This is how these young people survive and they want support from us.

This is a very busy day for me, while sitting I’m just wondering where am I going on this train as we all have our own different tales on this train young and old we all have dreams and we want to achieve them bit by bit. I’m walking with a group of five people suddenly the train comes to a station called Braamfontein where we have to get off and find Wits we don’t even know the place we keep on asking people the more we ask the more we get lost. I’m now getting tired and bored on these busy streets of Johannesburg we are running from corner to corner and jumping from street to street. It’s like we are in are strike or something. We got lost only to find that the place we are looking for is just in front of our faces.

The building outside is very dull and it looks tired I just wonder how old it is ,it’s not exactly in Wits inside where people study it’s at the corner of it. Getting inside was also a process as if we were foreigners finally they made us enter inside I couldn’t wait where am I going actually on this lift. It stops at 19 and out we go. As we enter I see new people very busy as we pass through. We meet Eric a French guy whom we’ve been working with since 2004, he’s the one that called us on this place he welcomes us and introduces us to some people around the place. I start doing myself a cup of tea. I like this place and the people are open to each other. Eric tells me to go upstairs I’m so surprised when he says upstairs because as I look I see round steps leading at the top of the ceiling, when am I going to reach at the top still asking where am I going ? Not until I arrived safely and tired it was my first time on those sexy steps.

L’atelier d’écriture, dessin de Sarah Letouzey

L’atelier d’écriture, dessin : Sarah Letouzey

Here Eric introduces me to a group of people on the writing workshop with John a French guy I just arrived where I was going. John is a man who looks shy and as if he just caught a cold outside. I’m sitting down listening to what’s happening and trying to be one of them it’s difficult to understand them because they don’t agree on the same thing it’s like debate. John agree’s on everyone’s idea showing that no one is wrong. I’m surrounded with different minds will I ever going to understand these people, maybe as time goes on. I find that John is always smiling wondering if he’s like that on the inside. This man has a tiny body, I wonder does he ever miss his family as I look at him he’s someone’s father, someone’s son, someone’s brother or sister. It’s difficult to understand such anyway he’s a good and understanding person and that makes me to work free.

As I get it they are working on a story two different family’s that were once in a war their children are in love and going to get married soon. There is also lunch at 1 o’clock till two we also receive money for food and transport. It’s only us the writing people upstairs and it’s safe up there. We go out at six o’clock before leaving everything needs to in order. I’m now waiting for my group to go home first we talk to Eric then it’s the journey back to the train where I’ll come across pushing was is it that we are fighting for in the train ?