The state of the arts
Sunday, May 23, 2010 9:56:02 PM
So I am home, not NYC but Johannesburg, South Africa. The country is preparing for the World cup Soccer, and at the same time the Graham's town Festival, a plethora of Dance, Music and Drama entertained in 15 days. It is still disturbing to me how anything that is not your native design, is always better, or at least that has been my experience with the dance community in South Africa. Having been born, raised, trained and supported in my youth as a dance talent- it seems that since I have left to pursue and grow and proudly promote the abundance of talent in Africa, I have been snubbed by my own country. It appears that since I am "Proudly South African"- the community here is not interested in having me share whist I have learnt and experienced- does any other artist in the world have a similar story? I have gotten to the point of not wanting to even try anymore- not wanting to even offer my services for free because, "there is no money", how then can you afford to bring out an American, a Dane, a Brazilian, and everyone else but your own making.
It amazes me that I get invitations from Italy, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Cyprus and the US, but I am not appreciated in my own mother land. It is after all the country that gave me my foundation, my drive and my passion- do the up and coming have anyone to look up to, to emulate like I did with PACT, CAPAB, Freeflight and the rest. Would not it make sense to be able to show young artists by example, to say- even though you may come from very little- your talent, hard work and drive can take you anywhere. You don't have to look to outside, look at what we helped create- that could be you. Instead, sadly the mentality is, anything that is not home grown, must be better. How then do we cultivate the dreams and ambitions of the new generation?
I guess my success in other countries could be based in the same premise. Is it only a South African thing? Are the directors and dancers in my country afraid that they may have nothing more to learn or just convinced that they may not have gotten it right yet so what could ex-patriate possibly know?
It pains me that, perhaps it is too late. What makes South Africa so truly beautiful is that we all realized how important it was to share. How incredible it is to protect diversity and to realize the mistake we made before, of classifying and separating and ignoring what makes us different and unique. I am proudly South African- Whether the dance community in my home land appreciates or is proud of me, I remain proud of them- disillusioned and hurt, but remarkably I'll survive.