I’m quite an outgoing person. Well, at least I tend to think that I am. I’m all for trying new things, tasting new foods and going to new places.I love experiencing new things. I believe that having new experiences makes your world bigger , brighter and more beautiful.
Growing up I was raised to try everything at least once, and only make my judgement afterwards. I am so glad that my parents had the wisdom to allow me to grow up that brave.
Now that I am living in my own home, with a human being who did not grow up with me, did not grow up in this country or even on this continent, things are beginning to reshape themselves. My bravery has a new form.
Less bold, more brains.
This human being that I have come to find myself living with, sharing love with and often travelling with, is from the United Kingdom . A small Island made of 4 countries where nothing can kill you.
So now that he is living here is Cape Town, South Africa, Africa, I observe that his inquisitive nature outweighs his fear. He is not bound by fear because he was not born knowing how to recognise it.
I came to my conclusion earlier this year when I decided that I was done trying to keep up with him and his adventures. He, being a travel journalist, was invited and is often invited, to write about a travel lodge and a walking safari experience. I being his freelance assistant and photographer, went with him on his all-expenses-paid, work trip to stay at an eco-lodge in Limpopo.
This lodge was in the middle of nowhere, a magical, lush place filled with all of the types of animals that foreigners want to see and locals stay far away from. So, here I was, the only black person not in uniform for miles. My only job was to take photos and look like I was having fun. The white people seemed to be able to do it easily. My boyfriend included.
But me, no, I quite literally was shitting my pants. There are no other words to describe how I felt and looked.
—It’s dark, there are two guides, each with a rifle, one stands at the front of the line, the other at the back of the line. I place myself behind the front guide and pray that I remember what his hand signals mean when he uses them. Oh…My… F….ing… God.
My head fills fast with all of the things David Attenborough has ever said about how to survive in the wild, what and what not to do, or was that Bear Grylls? Right now I hate everyone, especially all of these crazy white people! How is this happening to me? They want me to walk to a Lion on my feet, sit down, downwind from the Lion, chill there and take photos.—
There are many things that I want to tell these people, my boyfriend included. Fuck you, is the first one. Fuck this and your walking safari. I even considered breaking up with my boyfriend on the spot. My words would have been something like this; “You obviously don’t love me because you are making me walk into a Lion’s open jowls. I’m done!” Obviously, the lion is going to eat me. The black person always dies first.
I considered calling my parents and telling them that this guy that they love so much is making me walk into a Lions house. But I knew that they would laugh at me. So I walked, like death had already taken me, stiff and slow. My heart beating so loudly that I could not hear a thing. I did not see the sunrise, I did not see the flowers open or any of the small incredible details that our guide took the time to show us. I nodded and blinked when I was expected to.
We walked and I moved my cement legs and sweated buckets. Every now and again our guide used an ash bag to test the wind. An ash bag…..to save us from lions! I prayed that time would move faster. Eventually, the sun was up and burning its full power. Only now, the others began to sweat. We sat down, ate lunch and started our slow journey home. I could see my room and the Boma, I swore never to leave either again.
Now don’t get me wrong. These types of adventures are not to be sniffed at. The rooms were amazing and the food was mouth-watering. The view was like nothing I had ever seen before. I sat writing an essay while elephants tiptoed through the trees less than 10m away from me. It was magic, but hear me, I like walls, be it house walls or car walls, I like them and need them to feel safe when casually traipsing through the wild.
I was glad to come home and I will be glad to not have to ever do that again. That was definitely a one-time-only type of experience. I have concluded that there are enough things , just in my own suburban road, that can kill me. I don’t need to go looking for Lions and Buffalo and Rhino and Elephants. Even in my own driveway, a person could stab me for my cellphone, beat me up, rape me. Life in Cape Town, South Africa, Africa is a safari, one does not need to go looking for more excitement.
You have got to be joking.