Is Hornlee and its mostly coloured residents invisible to the rest of Knysna?
It’s places such as The Heads, the Waterfront and the estuary that springs to mind when visitors think of Knysna. Being a tourist and retirement based economy, many locals think the same but may add in pubs, restaurants, boats etc.
Even when we think about poverty tourism, those trips where rich people pay to see poor people, we think about Concordia and Khayalethu, not Hornlee.
But what we’re supposed to do, as a community, is think most about people. Without people, our town wouldn’t be desired or reflected upon. Loerie birds would still seek insects and sharks would still swim up river… but we wouldn’t know that. To know anything, we have to be there.
So how is it that we have invisible neighbourhoods, places right next to us that we don’t visit or talk about? And by “talk about” i don’t mean our faraway opinions about Hornlee as a place of alcoholism and tik. It’s conversation based on experience that matters most.
Apartheid still exists.
When did we lose our humanity to become so stupidly selfish as to think that only what we see here affects us? If we break our arm or get cancer, it affects us, our friends and family. If we get a job, a car or a baby, the joy ripples around us.
As the Knysna community, we can’t afford to not share in the pains and joys of our neighbours. We have to know them. They have to know us. We have to become US.
This morning’s blog is the result of my recent introduction to ICOSA (Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa), Knysna’s newest political party. They pointed out that coloured people are being left behind, that our country seems more interested in the issues and interests of blacks and whites.
Politically, in the Cape, it becomes a fight between the DA and the ANC to win the coloured vote which gives the winner power but somehow finds coloureds still unempowered, Knysna being a case in point.
In addition to Hornlee, they spoke about Kararata and Rheenendal, also predominantly with coloured residents.
I may have done some kids trips, a show, bought beer, bought honey, or driven through, but i was mostly at a loss as to what matters most.
The only way to fix my ignorance is to get educated so i accepted their offer to introduce me to their challenges and their successes.
We started in Kararata but i’ll tell you about that another time…