Grabbing and tagging Open Book Fest. It’s a thing.
Straight outta the notebook:
From Mobility and the City at 10am, an event in which this critter got hold of the mic and went on a rant and subsequently swore to take a vow of silence for the remainder of Open Book:
“A big taxi boss said to me: ‘the taxi industry is like water. It fills any gap but takes the form of the container you give it. I think (property) developers are also like that.
“We have a massive challenge on our road network and we have to create the container that makes us shift to higher vehicle occupancy rates.” – Consultant David Schmidt
From Publishing the Private at 12pm, after which generous author Tracy Going, after hearing I’m a journalist and critter, was overcome with pity and gave me a copy of her book, and signed it:
“Writing has the incredible capacity to record things that we tend to want to suppress.” – Author Karina Szczurek, talking about re-reading her love letters to her late husband Andre Brink.
“Writing helps you realise your reality is your own.” – Karina again, in the context of her previous emotionally abusive marriage in which she only realised after the fact that she was being gaslighted. (gaslit?)
From Life after Loss at 4pm, in which author David Chariandy mercifully chose a very short passage to read from his novel Brother, wrapping it up before the wetness gathered on our collective eyelashes threatened to overflow and flood the HCC Workshop:
“We all age, we all move on, lose things we once thought were important. To live is to die away from things all the time.” -Author Craig Higginson.
“South Africa is not allowing itself to grieve.” – Author Rehana Rossouw, talking in the context of the pervasive denial of grief. “We just limp along.”
“When Nina Simone sings of loss, there is an incredible beauty and strength in the midst of expressing despair.” – David Chariandy, talking about how music can assist us in processing grief.
“Lies are more revealing than the truth, because they show who we want to be, rather than who we are.” – Craig Higginson, quoting his character Hannah Meade who is written into his novel The White Room.
“A life truly embraced in its complexity can’t be idealised.” – David Chariandy.
From Talking Trans at 6pm, during which finger-clicking applause was revived:
“Greetings to the proletariat and death to the bourgeoisie.” – B Camminga in their role as chair.
“Fuck gender. I do not want to be gendered.” – Liberty Matthyse, answering the question of what pronoun he/she/they prefers when being addressed.
“Being trans means finally being able to be myself.” – Landa Mabenge, who has written a book about transitioning from female to male.
“You all know the Power Rangers? In Grade ome I identified with the pink Power Ranger. I was fighting off the cis girls to be the pink Power Ranger.” – Liberty
“I had (the family force me) to go to counselling. My mother joined, and eventually I left her there.” – Liberty
“Our families also didn’t get the guidebook on this one.” – B Camminga
“I had to settle for being (labelled) a disorder in order to get a step closer (to gender affirmative surgery).” – Landa Mabenge
From Vulnerable Bodies at 8pm, which seemed to last only 15 mins before the bell sounded. We could have sat and listened to Adam Smyers, David Chariandy, and Pumla Gqola for another two hours without noticing the time:
“He’s a demon, he’s a big scary ape.” – Knucklehead Author Adam Smyer, talking about the white myth of the invulnerable black man.
“Getting angry at banal racism in public can go sideways very quickly.” – David Chariandy talking about letting it slide because the black man is likely to be viewed as the aggressor even when they are the victim.
On the pavement outside The Fugard, where the smokers hang out. Sometimes in the rain:
“You should write a memoir.” Melinda Ferguson, publisher.