A few bumpy roads, missed trains and dry towel showers in public bathrooms, I had made it, the border stood before me like that crush you shoot your shot for. Grinning in all its splendor. I stood there agog, ruffled in my backpack for my passport. A bright light box yelled ‘ARRIVAL’, a bin said in colours often associated with Africanism ‘Welcome to the Kingdom of Swaziland’. I could see a large billboard in the distance ‘MTN Bushfire Bring Your Fire’ as if to remind me why I was there.
The ladies grinned and welcomed me almost as colourfully as the bin outside.
They are so happy! I thought.
What are they so happy about?
Well then again with a population of under 3 million I guess there’s just about enough happiness to go around. The driver of our shuttle from Jo’burg seem to have missed his portion though. He grunted more than he spoke but lit up when he told me about his two daughters.
I’m a single dad! he beamed as we pulled up along Malkerns with an ant-line of jolly Swatis and a thousand different types of tourists.
I chuckled as I realised that I for this weekend was ‘a tourist’ too. “That couldn’t be right” I thought, “Africa is a country afterall.” I was late as I dragged my heavy bag across to the media desk,
#ENTHUSE, we’ve been expecting you, oh but you missed Jaah-Prey-zaah! frowned a young woman in a very nasal accent.
I said something about the border and delayed trains and she said something about it being the festival fever and directed me to the campsite. As I lugged my ‘katundu’ to what looked like a literal ‘Tent Village’, I had no idea my adventure was far from over. The air was a mixture of ice with a scent of thick with braii-ed meat, fire and a hundred types of Marijuana. Tkzee had just began their set and although we were about 2km from the main stage the type of electricity that travels through a crowd during a live show made its way to the nape of my sweaty neck an danced there. I tingled, this was going to be a fucking good time! All I wanted was a shower and a change of clothes and to be at my favourite spot during any live show, backstage or front and centre so I could connect with the performance, my favourite band would be up soon. I had to hurry.
The Tent Village was a hipster’s dream, dusty, green. A swirl of dreadlocks, chalkboards, tents and tye-n-dye punjabi pants. I wanted to move here. I made my way to the showers made of sheet metal and wood. My 80 year old heart melted as I got naked in the communal shower. The water was lukewarm, I breathed mist around me but didn’t shiver.
I’m Zimbabwean so the running water was good enough for me.
I danced to “dlala mapantsula” in my nakedness thanks to the passive weed which I learnt for the rest of the weekend made me very light headed and giddy. I wore my well weathered combat boots, a baggy sweater and lumpy scarf that I wasn’t going to see again. I dumped my luggage at the reception and told them to keep it overnight, tonight I wouldn’t sleep, not one wink.