South Africa 2017 - Arrival


Sonic Mmabolela 2017

The beginning.

Or is it the culmination of years of exploration & development?

Either way… I am.

My journey.

I travelled to South Africa to take part in a Sound Art Residency “ Sonic Mmabolela”- an immersive artistic retreat to record and compose and create.

I arrived late on Monday the 13th of November; I am emotionally and physically exhausted. It has been an incredibly tough year. My world was turned upside down on the April 24th. I had always dreamed of having a swimming pool….just not IN my house. We were flooded during an irregular climatic event. A regular suburb in Australia with modern resources and facilities. Yet nothing could stave off the deluge. If a first-world community couldn’t cope with climate extremes, what hope would there be for those in Second and Third World communities? We had to relocate, albeit to a lovely beachside town and a nice house thanks to family, but I didn’t even have a suitcase. I tossed what we needed for a few days into the back of the car as we couldn’t access much else. We lived this way for nearly four months. My role as a sound artist using environmental field recordings to create compositions and performance, was starting to come clearer. We had a couple of trips where we journeyed up through Central New South Wales and up to Broken Hill and the Menindee Lakes. A tragedy. A monopoly by greedy politicians looking after their own interests. The Lakes drying up even then and Broken Hill on the verge of carting in their water supply. It was only spring - the heat of summer was a long way off. My artistic role was beginning to clarify. I stumbled onto my flight after one hour of sleep, having prepared my family as best I can for three weeks without me to wash and fold clothes, cook dinner and be a taxi to any number of appointments and activities. I am now in South Africa and the nanny that I spent 4 months ensuring would run smoothly, cancelled three days out of the nine hired. Grrr. This was through an agency too! There was no back up provided so my husband would have to not only run his own 70+ hour business but keep everything smooth at home as well. Here in Johannesburg, I couldn’t do a thing about it.  

I spent Tuesday the 14th of November with my lovely friend, a resident of South Africa. She gave me a fully escorted tour of the sights and told me of her life in South Africa. We visited the Nelson Mandela monument that overlooks Pretoria. We then visited the African Arts Market-many artist selling handmade and traditional wares to tourists. Unfortunately, I have so much sound gear, I had to restrain myself!

We drove over to an Elephant Sanctuary. You had to go on a two hour tour which included riding the trained elephants. Unfortunately, the more that I have learnt about eles in zoos, etc the more I am unable to partake in these types of ventures.

The remainder of the day was a delicious meal in a gorgeous restaurant, travelling via the Hartbeespoort Dam, exploring a Gem shop and a quick visit to a windmill. I was able to safely travel to Pretoria by the Gautrain as long as it was during daylight hours. I made it just as darkness was closing in. My driver from the accommodation in Johannesburg called me as he was concerned I was delayed. He was patiently waiting outside the station. 

Wednesday 15th November 2017

Today I met Fransisco Lopez and Barbara Ellison at breakfast. There were also some of the ten selected participants present. A group of us headed out and about in Melville in the search of batteries and ended up at a shopping centre.