Basking in the sun, pool and company the title of today’s blog struck, “Urbane Humane”. Well sort of anyway. After researching synonyms for sophisticated I stumbled onto the dapper word, ‘urbane’. To give you an inside glimpse of just how shallow I can be, my original title: ‘Sophisticated Dreams’ didn’t fit neatly into a single line, which I wanted, so out with that, in traipsed urbane. Eventually, ‘Urbane Humane’ emerged.
But before I go on, this following Mixcloud Mix has me going all giddy from pure delight. I strongly suggest that you, the reader, click on it and let it create the exact right feeling for this blog.
An angle that caught my eye. I love the continuity of colour and the echo in the patterns)
What, amusingly, stuck me about the definition of sophisticated was 'involving a great deal of worldly experience'. Immediately the analyst in my head was, "Wow, how is that for paradoxical?" Such a broad term that certainly conjures up memories of 'worldly' which in my failed moral compass I would hardly call sophisticated behavior. You know what I mean right? The other revelation of this definition begs a question, "If one leads an impoverished life and 'worldly' experience is low, does it mean one cannot be refined/sophisticated?" See what I am saying? This neatly brings me to my title, 'URBANE HUMANE'. Although urbane is steeped in the masculine, sophisticated society has evolved to the point of extending the right to identify oneself by ones own choosing. If you want to be silver-platinum, be one. The truth is, anyone can be platinum but the tone, style, styling and expression of that style must be, individually, designed. I don't want to go into that 'worldly' topic suffice as to say; if it is our right to choose does it mean that it is the right choice to choose?
As an example:
Is it cool to chop a tree down to manufacture matches? The very thing that can destroy many trees, a lit match, and potentially destroy the oxygen/carbon dioxide converters that give us air to breathe?
(Pic I took that, almost pervertedly, makes the eye beg to see beyond the trail of light….such a tease)
On that note; the EFF/H&M debacle gave my friend/ neighbor and I some great juice to use regarding the racist/not racist debates that filled social media in ZA for days on end. Let me not get into the unsophistication of much of those days….lol. For a truly ZA take on a world crises regarding the question of what is or is not racist click on the link below.
Haibo, and now?
Although a side-angle the quote above nails it eloquently, excuse the pun. In short, the urbane description of a guy who got laid, put into a delightful play on words and metaphor, paints the exact picture of this blog.
So what is an 'URBANE HUMANE?'
In South Africa the war of free-education is a heated topic. The wealthy feel that they shouldn't subsidize the poor, the poor feel they have the right to education, the government is yet to come up with a great strategy to sort the question, and the sophisticated arguments continue. But what if we zoom out and think about a urbane humane system of 'how to?'.
So banks profit largely out of student loans. Right? So what if we cut the bank out? What if we approach corporate society to cough up some funds, or get Swiss banks to hand over hidden Apartheid Arms money towards the cause of building basic but free universities that live -stream lectures from varsities that are funded by more private entities. This way educational standards can be raised as all get access to the same standard of information. Obviously translated into all official languages. By potentially offering jobs to pensioners, or youth needing jobs, who I am sure will love the engagement, we can uplift the living standards of impoverished peeps…. why not? We then insist on a system where successful graduates have the responsibility of having 1% of their incomes separated from state taxes, that are exclusively used to sustain free tertiary institutions. A system like this takes us neatly into an urbane tribal system. The elders lend wisdom and experience to a younger working generation who pave the way for those they give birth too. This way accountability, purpose, validation of humans is effectively implemented in a responsible manner in which no one person feels negated as not worthy. Certainly as time goes on and then live-stream can be replaced by actual people creating more jobs as populations swell, hopefully the funds are used wisely and grow in careful investments so that the divide between private educator salaries and government educator salaries be brought closer to validate the life changing roles of the teacher. This system can ultimately give an urbane society the 'feel good' jolt it needs to bring people together for the cause of living for something beyond ourselves…. the next generation. Also by having vested interest and human ego being what it is, a balancing of all points of view will be attained because we all like dat: 'You want my money honey, you treat me nice, real nice….lol'
On the subject of the way we treat others, Melusi Tshabalala, a guy you should follow on FB, shared a story of how a childhood memory spoke him out of running. Melusi is hysterical and educational as he is teaching his followers African languages through his witty humour. With permission, I am sharing a part of his story that I relate to so much.
"And then there was Zulu church, ezayoni. It ruined my youth. Half the neighbourhood were Godless heathens and the kids would stand on the side of the road, waiting for us to go to church. As soon as we came out of the yard, they'd start singing: "Isonto lama zayoni, yisonto lamagwala. Wake wayibonaphi indoda esonta iphethe induku. Ishaye is-come around, uguqe ngamadolo…" Then I'd start crying and my mom would klaap me for paying attention to heathens and I'd cry some more. Now it's a mess. My green uniforn is wet, with tears, I'm dragging my staff, my face is covered in tears, snort and vaseline. Isphandla (Zulu Rolex) is making me itch ngapha."
As a kid, I had similar experiences regarding itchy stuff and preened for the world to behold in my Sunday best. The point of sharing this story is simply that when we look beyond the borders of our self-made understandings, suburbs, countries and hang-ups we discover that humane is found in every urbane setting.
(Pic of the iconic Ponte building, JHB, ZA, from the backseat of the Taxify cab on our way to Shakers in Maboneng.)
For a while I have been on a mission to experience how others in ZA live, play and get on in life. The idea was sparked by a guy who, rightly, said that unless I had lived in a shack, limited sanitation, no electricity and walked or caught a minibus taxi as a means of transport, I could not truly understand the disparity between elitism and survival. Profoundly put into context it is both raw and startling. So back to the story of urbane humane integration.
Weeks ago JJ had told me about Shakers. I have been dying to get away from a slippery ‘mostly white stomping ground’ for a while. As an addict in recovery I came across a concept. It went along the lines of this…. for every 1 bad memory, one needs to replace it with 10 different good memories. The idea is to stop our brains from holding onto the largely ‘bad’ memories (our brains latch onto negatives better than positives, apparently), which are strong. We need to reinforce +’s by creating more numbers of fun things to remember. Because most areas in the northern suburbs of JHB are strong memories of many poor choices, to avoid the barrage of thoughts/triggers that follow I am searching for new places to experience myself as a sober human. It is timed well. As I explore my cleaner self, integrate myself into a multiracial social structure and share my journey, publicly for various reasons, I find myself being in a unique global movement of inclusivity.
Shakers is a gender mixed, race mixed, and sexual preference mixed venue. With fresh meat one can choose your ‘inyama’ and have it cooked on the spot, VIP area, chill out lounges and African-centered music the cultural experience is delightful. I spent hours taking in the hairstyles, trends, and various dress styles of people. The thing that stood out most for me in this predominantly black patron establishment was the sheer camaraderie between various people. Something I often missed in my predominantly white patron venues. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. The textiles, attitudes, tastes, and expressions of these urbane humans is a pure delight to the eye in a world saturated by conformity.
(Racing past an extraordinary colored building and colorful cement pillars, has created this excited and intriguing pic)
SO WHAT DO THESE VARIOUS STREAMS OF THOUGHT TEACH US ABOUT BEING AN URBANE HUMANE?
The answer is really simple, clear and cliched. The world does not revolve around us, individually. We are all totally necessary in this world, thus our mindsets need to change from being: MY WORLD to OUR WORLD. It is in this moment where we think plural, we open ourselves to the possibilities of a life beyond understanding. Beyond understanding because each of us do not live in each others heads. So by dropping the protection mechanism of MY to the inclusive OUR, we open the door to a world our brain cannot imagine.
The brain can only have a memory of what has been put into it. So if we dunno, we simply dunno until we do.
(ending this blog with this pic is such a great shot of an urbane humane experience, transcribed into art, made functional in a situation that creates many uncomfortable urbane humane moments for all of us)
Stay your amazing self!