A HISTORY FORGOTTEN IS A FUTURE LOST

If someone had told me that any country in Africa resembled Europe or America, I would have laughed it off. Not because it can’t (so many of them are on their way to) but because it shouldn’t. This is Africa. The indomitable Sahara, the unbelievable safari, the eons of history and veritably, the cradle of civilization.

SA 1

I had time and joblessness on my side, so I decided that I would finally take the long overdue trip to Nigeria — my original desh. And two months later, when I landed at the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa; I knew I was in for a surprise.

South Africa has heartbreaking history and it is palpable in every corner, every eye that you look into and on every street. Jo’burg or Jozi as Johannesburg is popularly known is the big throbbing heart of South Africa. As soon as we checked in, I was raring to go. A nice nip in the air, I set out to get to know this city that has been the stage on which the epic of this spectacular country has been played out. Busy streets, packed restaurants, construction in full swing to welcome the FIFA World Cup 2010, Jo’burg is a fascinating city. A multitude of restaurants to eat at, malls, China towns, parks, skyscrapers, Jozi tosses up quite the buffet. While one night we were clinking our glasses to ice cold South African wine, the next we were relishing an array of South African titbits; samosas, boerewors and bobotie spring rolls. The government was encouraging citizens to welcome visitors with characteristic South African hospitality; welcome them into your homes with some nice authentic curry bunny!

 

Hector Pieterson Memorial.

 

While the scars of 20th century South Africa are apparent in Johannesburg, it is obvious that the healing has begun. What hit me instantly were the stark inequalities but the amazing confidence in the South Africans. The trip to the Apartheid Museum was an eye opener as was visiting Hector Pieterson’s museum. At the entrance of the Apartheid Museum, we were given cards stating ‘Non-white’ or ‘White’. Walking around the museum, one feels like they are thrown back into the 70s and the 80s. Police bullets, teargas canisters, the marches, scores of school children, metal cafes, newspaper snippets, film footage; all tell you a traumatic story of what this nation has endured.

South African has come a long way from those days. The young are singing and dancing to groovy marabi beats and KFC is round the corner. The old are telling stories of a time that is gone and the corporates are banking their millions on the World Cups and such.

So you think! I am the African here

Da-dum da-dum..da-dum...hear him?

Throw away the camera and dance with her, boy!

Zulussima!

Hips never lie

Music. Raw. Only in Africa

Beauty (that's really her name) and Shruty

Ask an American about his/her heritage and they will say they are Irish, Swedish, German, Italian, Korean etc. Ask a South African, black or white notwithstanding, and they will simply state – Africa. And that is the difference.

My digital debut

An abandoned tune is beginning to sync with the beep, beep, boop, beep, beep, boop dancing on the screen. It feels like I am standing at the gates of a digital paradise OR what it would feel like if and when I find myself standing at the real one, being vetted for entry. Beeeeeep. WordPress (a.k.a. St. Peter) thinks the moment is ripe. Finally. On the other side of the pearly gates. I am curious to see what all the fuss has been about.

A Koh-Samui smile
A Koh-Samui smile

I’ve been chewing the cud, if you please, on being catapulted into Blogosphere for an eternity. Procrastination, unapologetic laziness, lack-of-a-blog-title and life in general got the better of me.  And now, it took all of a minute and half to get here. A few of my top choices for a blog title were ‘whatiwantisntavailable’, ‘wordpresskeepschecking’, ‘fashfotrabeaudeco’ and some more gibberish until ‘tokumbotales’ sneaked up on me. The tale behind Tokumbo is that it’s my Nigerian name. It means ‘imported’. Born there, the nurses thought it would be amusing to call me Tokumbo. My parents decided on Shruti instead. I try and keep both of them alive.

Hello, Blogosphere. Tokumbotales will orbit in – whims. fashion. fancies. words. travel. obsessions. books. food. musings. beauty. randomness. decor. whatyouwill. So, it’s a new world, it sure-as-hell (or heaven or whatever is in the middle) is a new start. It’s begun with the beating of solely my heart. It’s a new day, it’s a new plan. Here I am, this is me. Thank you, Bryan Adams.

Attraversiamo. (Oh, you know what it means. We’ve all read and pined for our own versions of Eat, Pray, Love)

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