IN-DEPTH: Day 8, Wednesday October 8 2014 – Channeling Mr. T
“I love it when a plan comes together!” – said a legend
Well, this plan is not completely together, but I’m a lot further than I was yesterday, and I only need half a reason to quote the A-Team at the best of times.
Today we started with another meeting with Ruth – it’s funny, these meetings always run for the longest times, today it we all talked for two hours, but it’s not the kind of meeting in which you fall asleep and land up falling into your ice-cream (that’s a true story except for the meeting part – when I was about four or so and I started refusing any and all naps. We have a video somewhere of us all sitting around a table, and I keep dozing off and nearly landing my face in a bowl of melted vanilla. Actually, now that I think about it, I need to find that tape and buy some matches). She seems rather impressed with our features, I mean they will need a lot more work (or mine will, anyway) but she says they’re all pretty promising which is nice to hear!
Best quote from the meeting needs to be included: Anazi was speaking about her project on overcrowded housing, and how she wants a very strong character for her multimedia. One of the women in a flat Anazi found is heavily pregnant and sharing a space divided with sheets in the lounge with the father and two others, the baby is due next week. I forget how we got there, but someone ended up jokingly uttering the phrase “We want something interesting to happen… Can’t we put her under stress, make her move chairs or something and induce labour?’. This really was said in jest, but I think the journalist in all of us was thinking “that WOULD look fantastic on film…”
After our meeting, most of us went into Yeoville to work on our sources for the multimedia. Sebastian, a trader in the market that I’ve spoken about before, has been a fantastic help in this regard, we visit him daily and I think he’s a marvelous man for not running away screaming for us to get away from him whenever he spots us coming. He was actually the one who made contact with a street trader for me to talk to, who he introduced me to today.
The trader is a Zimbabwean named Nolicent, a vegetable seller on one of the busier streets close to the official market. He sells basics like potatoes and tomatoes along with his wife. I really like him as a subject – he isn’t overly outgoing, but has a friendliness about him and kind eyes. His story isn’t the most remarkable in the world – he came here because of Zim’s economy, has been trading illegally for five years because he needs to make money to send home to his mother, who is raising his two young daughters. He talked about his money problems, how the police harass the traders in the street, seize their goods and charge so much in fines for the return of stock that Noli would need to work for two weeks to pay it.
Like I said, not the most unique of stories, but I believe that it should be told (that I should tell it) because it humanises someone who, from a lot of other viewpoints, is just a nuisance, a blockage in the street, another immigrant coming to this country. What struck me while I decided my topic for this project was the fact that behind this phenomenon of illegal trading are actual people. Just a man or woman trying to survive, with a family and a home trying to make ends meet. Maybe that’s the story of everyone, in one way or another.
Ok, enough with the mushiness. Basically: got my multimedia character, who’s agreed to let me film him, got a general video outline and the story I think I want to tell. Getting on well with my feature, although nowhere near finished. I’m still going to need to conduct an interview with Sabatha, because I need to full out my information on the market. Need to interview another few street traders for the same reason. Will need to contact the City of Joburg structures in order for balance (that’ll be fun I’m sure) and finally need to spend more time with Noli to get him to trust me more so I can learn his story.
But all in all, it appears that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – let’s just hope that it’s not an oncoming train.