Thursday, Oct. 11/07
Lenasia, South Africa
I never would have believed that there would be a chill more intense than in Canada.
This is Africa, the land of sun and heat. Central Canada had reached some roasting days and when I left it was hot, but here…it’s cold.
Rsi , my host in Lensia and I walked the length from Lenasia South to Lenasia Proper. We rapped about the environment around us and also took to chanting on our beads. We passed by an assortment of residential neighbourhoods including squatters’ camps (informal settlements). I don’t know to call it a situation of abject poverty since some dwellers own a fancy car but it certainly is another world.- a realm of crowdedness and unkempt conditions. Highway K43 is flanked by barrenness, a red rocky terrain that leads us to Nirvana Drive where the Iskcon Lenasia temple is located.
My assignment in this area of Johannesburg was to assemble in marathon-time two dramas for the weekend. The first practice was a team of black youth who utilized body language techniques and mime to re-enact the pastime of Krishna’s birth. These youths illustrate excellent body agility. Also their sense of rythum is something I’ve always marveled at. All players are from Soweto and their presentation will be something refreshing for the expected attendance of black folks.
The second drama practice centered on the symptoms of the era in which we live. Like “The Seven Deadly Sins” of Christian theology a Vedic version of personal vice portrays lust, anger, greed, madness, envy, and illusion, the agents of Kali, the master of corruption. The players here are from Durban and Soweto and I never tire of watching the organic reshaping and remodeling of a drama that has been tackled before. The lines for the character of Lust are interesting. “ I merely impel a man to enjoy himself. Then as he hopelessly struggles to satiate desires that are insatiable, I consume him.”