I met Mighty in Mabu Vinyl Cape Town, he invited me over to listen to some South African jazz records and then told me his story. The son of prominent Black Rights activists he was born and raised in a maximum security prison by his mother during Apartheid until he was 4, he was then cared for by extended family until both his parents were eventually released. He was raised listening to what were then illegal recordings from township artists. Music is life for Mighty, he travelled from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town to find work in the business, sleeping on the streets for some time he eventually worked his way to one of South Africa’s most famous independent record stores and now DJ’s regularly all across the country.
Something has struck me on these recent Cape Town mornings.
The dawn sounds are so far removed from those that have arrested me from sleep in other cities.
I have heard the ships horn echoing across the bowl when a fog rolls into the bay, a call to prayer from the top of Kloof Street, in Tamboerskloof a rooster and sometimes a donkey bray, the eternal churn of waves on granite giants in Bakoven, and wherever I may lie in slumber, the immense winds and the honk of the faithful old Hadeda birds.
Not a siren, the deathly scream of fox, the manic midnight hoovering of my upstairs neighbour, the thumping stereos or beeping horns of angry drivers the all night roar of buses and their contorted unhappy riders or lovers murderous dispute down deep dark alley ways.
A reason in part Capetonians are a whole league of less stressed I wonder?
Sometimes when you don’t have any words of your own it helps to find the words of others and write it down as a mantra to yourself.
“Leaving is not enough. You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did. And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.”